Last week, 25 Republican senators wrote a letter to a former member of their caucus and the man President Obama wants to lead the Defense Department, demanding full disclosure of his financial dealings. To date, Sen. Chuck Hagel has demonstrated afresh his contempt for the legislature by declining to do so.
To their credit, the senators, including the Republican leadership and every member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, have thrown down the gauntlet. They warned Mr. Hagel: "Your refusal to respond to this reasonable request suggests either a lack of respect for the Senates responsibility to advise and consent or that you are for some reason unwilling to allow this financial disclosure to come to light. The signers added: "Until the Committee receives full and complete answers, it cannot in good faith determine whether you should be confirmed as Secretary of Defense.
It may be that the Hagel appointment has been effectively checkmated. Should the nominee continue to stonewall, even Democrats who are under immense pressure to hew to the party line but were privately appalled by his performance during a confirmation hearing two weeks ago get a face-saving way to disassociate themselves from this loser. (continue reading...)