Exclusive--Senate Letter: No Vote Until Hagel Hands Over Info on Foreign Cash

The nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) to Secretary of Defense has been held up due to Hagel’s failure to turn over required documents to the Senate Armed Services Committee, even after a letter prompting him for those documents. Those documents concern Hagel’s stream of income from foreign sources; obviously, being in a sensitive position such as Secretary of Defense, Hagel must be cleared by the committee of any possible financial entanglements with suspicious foreign sources.

On Wednesday, 25 Senators sent Hagel a letter with the following text, obtained exclusively by Breitbart News:

          Dear Senator Hagel,

On January 29, two days before your confirmation hearing, you received a request, via email, from several Senators on the Senate Armed Services Committee for additional information necessary to fairly assess your nomination to be Secretary of Defense. The written copy of the letter (delivered the next day) was signed by six Senators, including the Ranking Member of the Committee. The letter requested that you respond to the request before the hearing, so that you could then answer questions concerning your responses.

You declined to respond to the request for additional financial disclosure.

At the hearing, you were told by Members of the Committee that a response to our request for information would be necessary before the Committee could vote on your nomination. The Chairman of the Committee expressly asked you to submit your response by Monday, February 4.

Monday came and went, and you still did not respond.

At the end of the day on Tuesday, February 5, you submitted a short “response” to our request. In that response, you explicitly declined to answer many of the questions asked of you.

You were asked to disclose all compensation over $5,000 that you have received over the past five years. You declined to do so.

You were asked to disclose if – and to what specific extent – the Atlantic Council has received foreign funding in the past five years. You declined to do so.

You were asked to disclose if – and to what specific extent – McCarthy Capital has received foreign funding in the past ten years. You declined to do so.

You were asked to disclose if – and to what specific extent – Corsair Capital has received foreign funding in the past ten years. You declined to do so.

You were asked to disclose if – and to what specific extent – Wolfensohn and Company has received foreign funding in the past ten years. You declined to do so.

You were asked to disclose if – and to what specific extent – M.I.C. Industries has received foreign funding in the past ten years. You declined to do so.

You were asked to disclose if – and to what specific extent – the National Interest Security Company has received foreign funding in the past ten years. You declined to do so.

You were asked to disclose if – and to what specific extent – Elite Training and Security, LLC has received foreign funding in the past ten years. You declined to do so.

You were asked to disclose if – and to what specific extent – Kaseman, LLC has received foreign funding in the past ten years. You declined to do so.

Your own financial records are entirely within your own control, and you have flatly refused to comply with the Committee Members’ request for supplemental information.

The records from the other firms – more than one of which, you have disclosed, paid you $100,000 or more – are highly relevant to the proper consideration of your nomination. Your letter discloses no affirmative efforts on your part to obtain the needed disclosure, and your lack of effort to provide a substantive response on this issue is deeply troubling.

If it is the case that you personally have received substantial financial remuneration – either directly or indirectly – from foreign governments, sovereign wealth funds, lobbyists, corporations, or individuals, that information is at the very minimum relevant to this Committee’s assessment of your nomination. Such remuneration may be entirely appropriate, but that determination cannot be made without disclosure.

If you have not received remuneration – directly or indirectly – from foreign sources, then proper disclosure will easily demonstrate that fact.

Your refusal to respond to this reasonable request suggests either a lack of respect for the Senate’s responsibility to advise and consent or that you are for some reason unwilling to allow this financial disclosure to come to light.

This Committee, and the American people, have a right to know if a nominee for Secretary of Defense has received compensation, directly or indirectly, from foreign sources. Until the Committee receives full and complete answers, it cannot in good faith determine wither you should be confirmed as Secretary of Defense.

Therefore, in the judgment of the undersigned, a Committee vote on your nomination should not occur unless and until you provide the requested information.

The letter is signed by 25 Senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. John Cornyn (R-AZ), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), among others.

Sen. Cruz told Breitbart News:

Unless and until Sen. Hagel responds to the requests from six members of the committee, and discloses the compensation he received – directly or indirectly – from foreign sources, the committee does not have sufficient information to proceed. We should use every available means to make sure adequate disclosure is made.

Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).


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