Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is expanding his blockade of State Department nominees, citing the department's slow response to congressional inquiries.
Grassley, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday that he will place a hold on Brian James Egan's nomination to be a legal adviser for the department.
“I will object because the Department of State has failed to fully respond to almost a dozen outstanding letters dating back to 2013,” Grassley said. “In addition, on August 20, 2015, my staff met with Department officials in an effort to prioritize material for production. The Department has failed to comply with its commitments."
Grassley has sent multiple request to administration officials, including the State Department, over issues ranging from human trafficking to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails. The Iowa Republican noted that his objections were partly tied to Congress's probe into Clinton's use of a private email server.
He and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, have tried to set up interviews with State Department officials who worked with Clinton and were responsible for overseeing her server.
Grassley added that "despite the Department’s commitment to make witnesses available and assist in the identification of additional relevant witnesses, none of these interviews have actually been scheduled."
Wednesday's move isn't the first time the Iowa Republican has placed a hold on State Department nominees. In August, he objected to roughly 20 foreign officer nominations, as well as David Malcolm Robinson's nomination to be an assistant secretary of State.
With Wednesday's hold, Grassley is now blocking 22 State Department nominees. He added the decision to block on Egan's nomination "is not intended to question the credentials of Mr. Egan in any way."