This is an amazing development. Only a day and a half ago it seemed that Sen. Hagel’s nomination to serve as Secretary of Defense was basically a done deal. But now a new gambit by Sen. Cruz — the one who went full McCarthy on Hagel at the hearings — looks like it has a chance of derailing or seriously delaying the nomination. And Sen. Levin might be inclined to let him get away with it.
The Senate Armed Services Committee was preparing to vote Hagel’s nomination to the full Senate for a vote. But Sen. Cruz has now decided to ask for the text of every speech Hagel has given over the last four years (text he appears not even to have in many cases) and records of the funding, membership and business dealings of every group or corporation he’s given a speech to.
So basically Hagel has to be able to force various corporations and organizations to disclose confidential business and membership organization.
To give you a flavor of what’s going on here, a GOP aide tells Buzzfeed, that Senators need this information to “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.”
If we’re really going to go down this route, is it time to air the fact that AEI is partly funded by secret grants by the Taiwanese government (at least as of mid-last decade)?
Now, Sen. Levin, who’s Chairman of the Armed Services Committee essentially has it within his power to decide whether this is a bogus fishing expedition. But it seems he might let them go ahead with requiring Hagel to do this.
Steve Clemons has more on just how out of the norm and unprecedented such a demand is.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.