Levin rejects GOP 
demands for more 
Hagel documents

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) on Friday rejected Republican calls for Defense nominee Chuck Hagel to provide more financial information, arguing the demands went “far beyond” what had been required of previous nominees.

Levin said that the Senate Armed Services Committee would vote on Hagel’s nomination for secretary of Defense “as soon as possible,” which suggests a vote on the former Nebraska senator could come as early as next week.

Levin opted not to hold a vote Thursday after 25 Republican senators sent Hagel a letter calling for him to provide financial information from eight organizations he was affiliated with after leaving the Senate in 2009.

Levin said the delay would allow him to respond to the GOP letter, which he did Friday with a letter of his own to the committee’s top Republican, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), that called the GOP request “unprecedented.”

ADVERTISEMENT
“Over the 16 years that I have served as either Chairman or Ranking Minority Member of the committee, we have considered numerous nominations of individuals who were associated with similar think tanks, universities, and other non-profit entities,” Levin wrote.

“Even in the many cases where a nominee received compensation from such a non-profit entity, we did not require the nominee to disclose the sources of funding provided to the non-profit entity.”

Levin said the GOP senators’ request for records about the compensation Hagel had received was never asked of a nominee before.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Inhofe told reporters Thursday that the demands of Hagel might be new, but they were justified in this case.

“Some of this may be unprecedented. But this is a sort of an unprecedented nominee,” Graham said. “I don’t think we’ve had previous nominees with this sort of, kind of, hostile attitude toward a friend like Israel.”

Inhofe said Thursday that he was pleased there was a delay in the committee vote.

“I feel that something good has happened in that we’re not going to try to rush this thing through and have a vote right away,” Inhofe said. “I don’t agree that it’s not an appropriate thing to ask for and demand. I think it is.”

The Republican senators are asking Hagel to provide all sources of foreign funding over the past decade from organizations he is affiliated with, such as the Atlantic Council, where he is chairman.

Levin said in his letter that this demand would subject 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.”

“Senator Hagel serves without compensation as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Council — a 'think tank' that includes among its other Directors and Honorary Directors seven former Secretaries of States and four former Secretaries of Defense,” Levin said.

The other seven organizations Hagel is affiliated with are for-profit entities, including McCarthy Capital and Corsair Capital.