The PJ Tatler

Levin: GOP Request for Hagel Financial Disclosure Asking Too Much

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) is arguing that Republicans’ request to see additional financial disclosure information on Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel is “far beyond” committee standards.

Levin wrote a “Dear Jim” letter to Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-Okla.) today to address the Wednesday letter signed by Inhofe and 25 other GOP senators.

“This letter appears to insist upon financial disclosure requirements that far exceed the standard practices of the Armed Services Committee and go far beyond the financial disclosure required of previous Secretaries of Defense,” Levin wrote.

For one, the Republicans requested Hagel “all compensation over $5,000 that you have received over the past five years,” coupled with for data about how much foreign funding the Atlantic Council, of which Hagel was chairman at the time of his nomination, brought in over the same time period. Republicans originally requested this information before Hagel’s confirmation hearing.

Levin called those requests “two unprecedented elements” of the financial disclosure request.

“The committee questionnaire addresses the issue of foreign affiliations in a manner that is equally applicable to all civilian nominees coming before the committee,” the chairman argued. “Among other questions, the committee questionnaire asks whether, during the last ten years, the nominee or his spouse has ‘received any compensation from, or been involved in any financial or business transactions with, a foreign government or an entity controlled by a foreign government.’ Senator Hagel’s answer to this question was ‘No.’”

“The demands of the February 6 letter go beyond this standard disclosure regime and would subject Senator Hagel to a different requirement from all previous nominees, under which he alone would be required to somehow ascertain whether certain entities with whom he has been employed may have received foreign contributions.”

On Wednesday, the day of the GOP letter, Levin said no committee vote on Hagel’s nomination had been scheduled.

“I had hoped to hold a vote on the nomination this week, but the committee’s review of the nomination is not yet complete. I intend to schedule a vote on the nomination as soon as possible,” he said.

Today, his office said Levin “intends to hold a committee vote on the Hagel nomination as soon as possible.”