This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
“[T]his Senate, as a body, should insist on legitimate requests for information from its Members. Every member, every member, should add his or her voice to the demand for the production of relevant documents which Senators need to decide on confirmation or for any other legitimate reason. This body will be a lesser place if we do not stand with each other when it comes to gaining access to documents, at least in the absence of a claim of executive privilege.” – Senator Carl Levin “We want to make clear that this is not a filibuster. It is a vote to protect the Senate’s constitutional power to advise and consent to nominations.” – Senators Christopher Dodd and Joe Biden
Democrats Agree: Senators are Entitled to Disclosure
Democrats twice filibustered John Bolton’s nomination to be U.S. Representative to the United Nations, citing the failure to disclose to the Senate documentation relevant to his confirmation. Throughout the debate, key Democrat leaders made strong statements about the right of the Senate to receive and review such material. Foreign Relations Committee Democrats:1 • “[I]t is within the Senate’s power alone to decide what it thinks is relevant to its deliberations in the exercise of the advice and consent power. The Senate does not work for the President. No one is entitled to appointment to an office requiring advice and consent—unless they have the Senate’s consent. Likewise, no President is entitled to approval of a nominee.” Senator Carl Levin:2 • “This is a momentous decision for this body. It is shocking and sad to me that the Senate may vote on this nomination while Senators are being denied critical, relevant information that members of the Foreign Relations Committee have sought.” • “Now, [this information] may be benign. [It] could be part of an effort by this nominee to politicize and punish. … We do not know that. But we have a right to know that. … But this administration has refused to provide that information. We should insist on this information before we vote on this nomination.” Senator Harry Reid:3 • “Despite numerous requests, the Administration has failed to turn over important information about this nominee. This is astounding to me. The Administration's stonewalling has not only had the effect of slowing down the confirmation process, it has also put a further cloud over this individual and has - perhaps unnecessarily - raised the impression that the nominee and the White House have something to hide. The end result is further questions about this nominee, further disruption to the Senate's consideration of this nominee, and further demonstration of the Administration's willingness to keep information from the Congress and the American people.”
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Exec. Rept. 109-01, “The Nomination of John R. Bolton to be U.S. Representative to the United Nations,” May 18, 2005, available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-109erpt1/pdf/CRPT109erpt1.pdf. 2 Senator Carl Levin statement, available at http://www.levin.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/?id=512a45ab-32d345f2-966c-c8a37bc07de0. 3 Statements taken from the Congressional Record: May 26, 2005, page S5994, available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2005-05-26/pdf/CREC-2005-05-26-pt1-PgS5962-2.pdf#page=34
“This is information that the Senate is entitled to under the advise and consent clause of the Constitution. Information that is central to this man's qualifications. Information that, had it been provided, could have possibly spared this man further questions about his already damaged reputation.”
Then-Senator John Kerry:4 • “What the Senate has to decide is whether it is going to stand up for the rights of a committee, for the rights of an appropriate set of inquiries to be answered so we can fulfill our constitutional responsibilities.” • “Senators can have decided that they know how they are going to vote and they do not need more information, but they ought to respect the fact that both the chairman and the ranking member made a request and that request has not yet been fulfilled.”
Democrats Agree: Foreign Funding is Relevant to a Nominee’s Fitness to Serve
In 2002, Senator Harry Reid sent a letter from the Senate Ethics Committee to the White House, confirming the need for Henry Kissinger to file financial disclosure reports during his consideration to be chairman of the 9/11 Commission.5 • • Kissinger refused to release his own documents, and resigned from the Commission. Senator Harry Reid, chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, stated “There were too many conflicts of interest for him to lead this task. I knew he would never disclose that information.”6 Democrat Lee Hamilton, then-vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission stated: “The Democratic members of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States have examined the Senate Ethics Committee's interpretation concerning disclosure requirements for commission members. …All five Democratic members support complete disclosure and we will each comply fully with the requirements as set forth under the Ethics in Government Act.”
In 2009, the Clinton Foundation voluntarily disclosed a complete list of its donors to address concerns that foreign governments, organizations, and individuals could unduly influence soon to be Secretary of State Hillary Clinton through donations to the foundation. • Senator John Kerry agreed with Senator Richard Lugar’s statement that the Clinton Foundation created “potential perception problems with any action taken by the secretary of state in relation to foreign givers or their countries.” According to Senator Kerry, Senator Lugar was “not speaking from a partisan perspective”, but in fact “expressing a view of the committee as a whole.”7
May 26, 2005, available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2005-05-26/pdf/CREC-2005-05-26-pt1-PgS59622.pdf. 5 Letter signed by Senators Harry Reid and Pat Roberts available at http://www.ethics.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=3f103dfc-1625-49a6-b6f0-1942663f4fc3. 6 http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,72988,00.html 7 Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing Report 111-249, “Nomination of Hillary R. Clinton to be Secretary of State” January 13, 2009, available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-111shrg54615/pdf/CHRG-111shrg54615.pdf.
Democrats Agree: Without Disclosure, the Senate Should Not Proceed to a Vote
On May 26, 2005, Senators Christopher Dodd and Joe Biden encouraged a “no” vote on cloture for the nomination of John Bolton. 8 • • “We want to make clear that this is not a filibuster. It is a vote to protect the Senate’s constitutional power to advise and consent to nominations.” “The refusal of the Executive Branch to provide information relevant to the nomination is a threat to the Senate’s constitutional power to advise and consent. The only way to protect that power is to continue to demand that the information be provided to the Senate. The only means of forcing the Administration to cooperate is to prevent a final vote on the nomination today. We urge you to vote no on cloture.”
Other Democrats Agreed to Oppose Cloture: • “[B]efore we vote, legitimate requests for documents and information from Members of this body should be honored and should be supported by every Senator. That is a need which, at one time or another, each one of us has, and as an institution we should, in one voice, demand that need be met.” – Carl Levin 9 • [W]e are in this largely avoidable position of having to vote against cloture and extending debate until the information is turned over to the Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees. I hope the Administration will do the right thing and provide the information to the Senate. — Harry Reid10 “Mr. Bolton did not get a vote in the full Senate last year because the Administration refused, with no justification, to allow the Senate to review documents highly relevant to his nomination….Unless the Administration provides the Senate with the documents it is entitled to see, Mr. Bolton should not get a vote.” — Joe Biden11 “Since the administration has refused to provide [requested information], the only choice we have is to deny the vote on this nomination until there is full compliance. That is not a filibuster. That is not an effort to not have a vote. Give us the information. We are prepared to have a vote immediately and let the chips fall where they may. But it is vital that the rights of the committee and the rights of the Senate, the rights of the advice and consent process, be upheld.” — John Kerry12
Senators Biden and Dodd, Dear (Democratic) Colleague Letter, May 25, 2005, available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/124581528/Biden-Dodd-Dear-Colleague-Re-Bolton-Nomination. 9 Senator Carl Levin statement, available at http://www.levin.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/?id=512a45ab-32d345f2-966c-c8a37bc07de0. 10 Statements taken from the Congressional Record: May 26, 2005, page S5994, available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2005-05-26/pdf/CREC-2005-05-26-pt1-PgS5962-2.pdf#page=34 . 11 Statement of then-Senator Joe Biden, Nov. 9, 2006, available at http://www.harkin.senate.gov/press/column.cfm?i=265793. 12 May 26, 2005, available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2005-05-26/pdf/CREC-2005-05-26-pt1-PgS59622.pdf.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.