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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hagel Blocked: Did Reid Think It Was 'Tragic" To Filibuster Bush's Nominee In 2006

By Susan Duclos

Reports say that the nomination of Chuck Hagel has been successfully blocked by Republicans in the Senate, with Democrats falling short of the 60 votes needed to overcome Republican objections before a key Friday procedural vote to end debate.

Harry Reid is quoted by Politico,  as saying "It’s tragic they’ve decided to filibuster this qualified nominee — it is really unfortunate."

Contrary to assertions made by Roll Call and even Fox News Radio, who both claimed that a filibuster of Hagel would the "first time in U.S. history" against a Cabinet nominee, AJC actually went and looked and found that this is not the first time, or even the second.

That was back on May 26 2006, when the Senate had to get 60 votes for a cloture motion to force a final vote on President George W. Bush's choice for Interior Secretary, Dirk Kempthorne.
And like Hagel, Kempthore was a former Senator.

"I know this nominee is a person deserving of our respect," said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) just before the 2006 vote, "But I must stand on my principles to oppose this nomination."

While other Democrats like Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) had placed a hold on Kempthorne's nomination, it was Nelson in 2006 who ultimately refused to allow action on the Kempthorne nomination, so the Senate was forced to vote on a cloture motion, which was approved on a vote of 85-8, well above the 60 votes needed to bring about final action.

Joining Nelson to vote for a filibuster of a Bush Cabinet nominee were, Sen. Joe Biden - now the Vice President, John Kerry - now Secretary of State, and both Senators from New York, Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer.

It should be noted that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) did not vote in favor of a filibuster of Kempthorne, as the Illinois Senator voted to shut off debate on the Kempthorne nomination.

The filibuster against Kempthorne wasn't the most high profile effort in 2006 by Democrats against a nominee of President Bush, as Democrats also forced Republicans to get 60 votes on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. Mr. Obama did support that filibuster.

There were specifics things asked of Hagel and while he produced many of the requested documentation, there are legitimate questions about some of the material he was not forthcoming with.

Among the requested materials: the full text and details of several speeches Hagel failed to report to the Senate Armed Services Committee that have since been uncovered.

Fox News Channel on Tuesday reported on two speeches Hagel failed to disclose as requested, including one given in 2008 to the annual conference of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC).

The ADC is a controversial nonprofit whose conference last year featured speakers prominent in the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement targeting Israel. The 2012 conference also featured an award presentation celebrating an author whose essays include one titled, “Zionism is a form of racism.”

The ADC also has not disclosed the full video of Hagel’s 2008 speech, while refusing to release its tax records as required by federal law.

A reporter for the Free Beacon went to the ADC’s office on Tuesday to request the video, as well as the organization’s most recent Form 990, which lists financial and donor information and which nonprofits must present upon in-person request.

However, ADC Vice President Nabil Mohamad told the Free Beacon that the video was in an “archive” in Maryland and not available. He also declined to provide the group’s 990.

Some might say that according to Harry Reid's way of thinking it is only "tragic" and "unfortunate" to filibuster a cabinet nominee if it is an Obama nominee.
Some might also say that according to Harry Reid's way of thinking it is only "tragic" and "unfortunate" to filibuster a cabinet nominee when the Majority party, Democrats, don't have the votes to overcome the filibuster.
Some might also ask, what is Chuck Hagel hiding?