Hagel the Kept Man: refusal to disclose “financial entanglements” puts hold on confirmation vote
The Senate Armed Services Committee will not hold a vote Thursday on the confirmation of secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel.
The office of Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.) confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon that the vote has been delayed and that no new date has been set.
“Hagel vote won’t be tomorrow in Armed Services,” Politico’s Manu Raju tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “Levin: “The committee’s review of the nomination is not yet complete.’” Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin also confirmed the delay.
Hagel’s murky financial entanglements are a major concern in the delay, according to sources close to the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC). Also of concern is a committee investigation into how Hagel and his Senate office handled a 2007 sexual harassment allegation made by a former staff member.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) distributed a letter to his Republican colleagues calling on SASC Chairman Carl Levin (D., Mich.) to delay a committee vote until Hagel responds to the numerous questions about his financial entanglements, according to multiple Senate sources.
The letter has garnered at least two dozen signatures thus far, the sources said. The signatories include every GOP member of SASC.
“Your refusal to respond to this reasonable request [for more information] suggests either a lack of respect for the Senate’s responsibility to advice and consent or that you are for some reason unwilling to allow this financial disclosure to come to light,” Cruz and his colleagues state in the letter sent late Wednesday to Hagel.
“This Committee, and the American people, have a right to know if a nominee for Secretary of Defense has received compensation, directly or indirectly for foreign sources,” the letter states. “Until the Committee receives full and complete answers, it cannot in good faith determine whether you should be confirmed as Secretary of Defense.”
Hagel, a former Nebraska Republican senator, “informed [SASC] that he will not provide foreign financial details for the corporate and nonprofit organizations he was affiliated with since he left the Senate in 2009,” BuzzFeed reported Wednesday.
Hagel’s refusal to provide further information about who funds the organizations and companies he is affiliated with could lead some GOP senators to consider holding up his nomination until the issue is resolved, sources close to the committee told the Free Beacon.
“Senators are really taken aback that Hagel would refuse to provide financial information about foreign governments and foreign agents that may have been indirectly paying his salary for the last few years,” said one Republican Senate aide who is close to the process. “We are talking about the most sensitive cabinet post—control over our nuclear secrets, our intelligence agencies, our covert activities—and we don’t have a right to know if he’s got IOUs for certain countries or groups?”
Another source close to the confirmation indicated Hagel’s refusal to be transparent could be a game changer for those senators who do not support a filibuster of Hagel’s nomination.
“I think [lawmakers] are in a position where this is something different,” said the source. “The question is how do you approve someone who does not respect the Senate or the American people enough to be transparent about who’s been funding him?”
Hagel argued in his letter addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker (R., Miss.) that he is not permitted to release the financial information for nonprofit organizations and other corporations he has worked for.
“My obligations do not permit me to disclose non-public information,” Hagel wrote.
The Atlantic Council, a think-tank at which Hagel serves as chairman, has published at least one report “supported by a grant from the government of Kazakhstan” that portrays that nation in a favorable light. Kazakhstan has been rated “not free” by international watchdog Freedom House.
Hagel also has served as a paid adviser to Deutsche Bank, which is under investigation for allegedly violating United States sanctions on Iran.
Because Hagel has not revealed the financial information for these organizations, it remains unclear if he could have profited from their involvement with these foreign governments.
Additionally, Hagel has maintained close ties to Nebraska’s McCarthy Capital, a private equity firm that has raised red flags with the Senate Ethics Committee in the past.
Hagel has invested as much as $5 million of his personal fortune in McCarthy Group since first joining the company.
He has served as president of a McCarthy subsidiary and currently serves as senior adviser to another subsidiary.
Hagel appears to have changed his story about the availability of public information pertaining to McCarthy’s investments, which the nominee lists as one of the corporations he is not permitted to release information about.
This response marks a departure from his past statements about McCarthy’s holdings.
The full text of the letter can be seen here. The senators who signed the letter: Cruz, Lindsey Graham (S.C.), John Cornyn (Texas), David Vitter (La.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), James Risch (Idaho), John Barrasso (Wy.), John McCain (Ariz.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Dean Heller (Nev.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), John Thune (S.D.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Mike Lee (Utah), and Inhofe.
You ready? Because I’m about to become a steroidal Visigoth: given his failures to disclose, coupled with his radicalized stance against free countries (the US, Israel) and in favor of terrorist regimes (Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran), it is reasonable to assume that, far from the fine man two-time Obama voter Republican Colin Powell has made him out to be, Chuck Hagel is potentially compromised — and by countries who have as their stated goal our weakening or outright destruction.
Therefore, it is my assertion that a vote to confirm Hagel, under such conditions, is an abdication of Senatorial duties and should result in the removal of that Senator from office.
Unfortunately, we’ve become too sophisticated — and too immersed in the post-modernist turn toward anti-foundationalist relativism — to give claims of sedition much credence these days. Which is fortunate for far too many currently holding elective office, if you ask me.