As the date of the vote for speaker of the House approaches, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the unpopular favorite for the office, is having his ear bent by the handful of House conservatives who are going to determine his fate.

In addition to demanding choice committee assignments and prime office space, the dozen conservative members who hold McCarthy’s fate in their hands have a new demand: they want McCarthy to create a select committee of the House that will be the granddaddy of all investigative committees and will investigate the many issues Republicans have been complaining about for years.

Every incoming Republican House chairman has scheduled his or her own investigations, including Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan and his probe into political interference by the FBI and Justice Department, and Rep. James Comer’s Oversight Committee looking into the border and fentanyl crises, pandemic relief fraud, botched Afghanistan withdrawal, the energy crisis, and Covid origins.

Several other committees will be looking into Hunter Biden’s nefarious business ventures. So you have to wonder just what else this select committee will be able to investigate that isn’t already being examined with a congressional microscope.


Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said that the group has had “good conversations” with incoming chairs but that he and other conservatives are pitching the select committee as a way to coordinate the conference’s investigative plans under one roof. They aren’t naming names on who they believe should lead the panel, though at least one skeptical McCarthy ally has argued that, if it has to happen, it should be Jordan.

“It needs to be targeted the right way,” Roy said about the party’s investigations. “You don’t get many bites at the apple. You’ve got to get it done right.”

After all, it’s not like Congress has anything else to do. It’s not like the border isn’t secure, the economy isn’t roaring along, and American cities aren’t safe. Congress has plenty of time to primp for the cameras instead of, like, you know, doing their fricking jobs.

Regardless, Republicans in the House are going to get their pound of flesh — and then some.

But conservatives’ vision for the new select committee could stretch far beyond just the FBI and Justice Department — two long-running targets of the party’s ire — by stepping into other jurisdictional lanes.

Roy pointed to three other entities that could fall under its purview, in addition to the FBI and Justice Department: Fauci and the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Education and the IRS and money that will let the agency hire new staff. Those are all areas that other committees have indicated they plan to investigate. And while Roy acknowledged that potential overlap, he added, “You still want your best prosecutors prosecuting the case.”

I think the idea of a select committee is an excellent one — as long as most of the other investigations are folded into it. The time-wasting, scattershot approach proposed by Republicans who all want their 15 minutes in the sun wastes resources and time and divides the public’s attention from the important work that needs to be done.

It was inevitable that the issue would become entwined with McCarthy’s speakership fight. McCarthy could show real leadership by taking on the issue of investigations and channeling that energy in a positive direction.

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