Hagel Stonewalls Senate on Foreign Funders, Speaking Engagements

Hagel Stonewalls Senate on Foreign Funders, Speaking Engagements

Chuck Hagel is stonewalling Republican questions about his nomination for Secretary of Defense, refusing to release the details of the foreign funding for corporate and nonprofit organizations in which he has served since 2009 when his Senate term expired.

[T]he information you seek is legally controlled by the individual entities and not mine to disclose. 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.

GOP members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have been requesting information about the possibility of foreign funding of his various organizations, but Hagel has balked at the requests. A Senate GOP aide claims the response has angered Republicans:

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. 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.

The aide maintained that there were specific concerns about a number of possible contributors:

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 Atlantic Council, of which Hagel is chairman, has paid chairs and programs in the name of all of the groups the aide listed.

Hagel has also refused to submit recordings of speeches he was paid to deliver since he left the Senate.