Those of you who followed last week’s Chuck Hagel confirmation hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee may remember the Defense Secretary nominee was scolded for not providing the requested financial information regarding the corporate and nonprofit organizations he was affiliated with since he left the Senate in 2009.
Today Hagel responded in writing with a big screw-you to the committee. According to Buzzfeed:
“[T]he information you seek is legally controlled by the individual entities and not mine to disclose,” he said, adding that he was not involved in the day-to-day operation of the organizations. “As a board-member, I have a fiduciary duty that includes the obligation to maintain the confidentiality of non-public corporate information. The information may also be subject to various other legal requirements or contractual arrangements that prohibit its disclosure.” (not that he asked).
One reason for the request was:
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“Committee members have specific concerns with regard to foreign
contributions to the Atlantic Council by Saad Hariri (or the Hariri
family), Dinu Patriciu, Kazakhstan, Bidzina Ivanishvili (his
supporters/network) – and the nexus between Chevron’s investments in
Kazakhstan and their involvement with Hagel at the Atlantic Council,”
the aide added. All of those groups have paid chairs or programs at the
The committee also requested the transcripts or
recordings of any paid speeches delivered by Hagel since he left the
Senate — a request Hagel also said he could not accommodate. In his
letter to lawmakers, Hagel said his contracts stipulated the speeches
were off the record and not to be recorded. He added that he never
prepared written remarks before his speeches.
Come on Senator Hagel…the reason they were off the record was to protect YOU–and it was your agents who put it in the contract.
According to a senior GOP aide close to the confirmation process, “Senators are not reacting well to this response.”
“Hagel is refusing to answer any of the questions or make any effort to get them the answers,” the aide said. “He is basically telling Senators they have no right to know if he has been unduly influenced by foreign governments or foreign agents over the last five years. What is he hiding? I’m told several Senators, including McCain, who have previously expressed opposition to a filibuster said privately yesterday that failure to disclose foreign funding information would change their thinking.”
At the very least this proves that Hagel has the arrogance and lack of transparency to fit perfectly into the Obama Administration. The Senate has every right to investigate whether Hagel is financially tied to foreign elements that may preclude him from his desired position. Additionally, we know some of the controversial things has said about the United States (international bully) and Israel (war criminal), it is important to see what else he has said about the US, Israel or any of our other allies behind closed doors.
If you wish to read the full Hagel letter to the committee, click here and read it at Buzzfeed.