South Carolina 4th District Congressman Trey Gowdy has a high profile in Washington as chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. But he’s leaving after his term concludes in 2018, announcing he will not seek re-election.
Gowdy was again making news this past week in announcing Wednesday that his oversight panel has launched an investigation into the White House's handling of former staff secretary Rob Porter's employment. Porter resigned last week after his two ex-wives came forward with allegations of abuse.
Gowdy sent letters to the FBI and White House as his panel opened an investigation. He is seeking detailed information about Porter's security clearance process, the FBI background check and when any White House employees became aware of "derogatory or disqualifying" information about Porter.
Gowdy told CNN on Wednesday he is troubled by Porter's employment at the White House given his history as well as the fact that he was working with an interim security clearance that gave him access to classified information.
As most were celebrating Valentine's Day on Feb. 14, an unspeakable evil was unleashed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
"I spent two decades believing women and children who alleged abuse, even sometimes when no one else did, so whether or not there’s a security clearance issue or not, I have real questions about how someone like this could be considered for employment whether there’s a security clearance or not," the former federal prosecutor said.
A powerful and legitimate point.
Yet amid the latest Washington scandal, other words by Gowdy to CNN will not receive as much attention. They should.
Asked about his retirement, Gowdy said he is anxious to return to the legal profession.
“I like jobs where facts matter. I like jobs where fairness matters” – when it’s not just about winning.
That is not Washington today, Gowdy said.
“There’s a proper way to do things,” Gowdy said. “I am more at peace in jobs that reward fairness and that are fact-centric than I am in Congress.”
Congress today is about finding a group and ratifying what they already believe. No minds are changed by speech and debate. “It’s about ratification and validation.
“I like the art of persuasion” – present facts to an impartial jury and hope the facts prevail. “That’s not where we are in politics.”
“Facts don’t seem to matter in the modern political environment.”
He ended with a statement of hope: “Maybe my great-granddaughter will have a different experience.”
We can all hope and pray that facts and fairness will win the day sooner at the highest echelons of our nation’s leadership.