State Department nominations on hold…..
The careers of 22 potential Department of State employees hang in the balance as the State Department and Senate Judiciary chairman bicker over information pertaining to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
So far, Grassley has put a hold on 22 State Department nominations, including 20 foreign service officers, one assistant secretary of state and as of Wednesday, legal adviser Brian James Egan, all in an attempt to force the State Department to comply with his requests.
Grassley said the State Department has had months to answer his multiple congressional requests for documents and witnesses related to Clinton’s email, but has done almost nothing. He noted that sometimes independent groups get answers to Freedom of Information Act requests faster than he does.
“Despite the Department’s commitment to make witnesses available and assist in the identification of additional relevant witnesses, none of these interviews have actually been scheduled,” Grassley said in his statement. “The Department needs to respond in good faith to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Thus far, it has primarily been promises with little or no follow-through. The Department’s good faith will be measured in documents delivered and witnesses provided.”
Grassley has voiced his frustration since August, when he announced he would begin blocking unanimous consent nominations.
“I will object because the Department of State has failed to fully respond to almost a dozen outstanding letters dating back to 2013,” Grassley said Wednesday in his statement announcing the holds. “In addition, on August 20, 2015, my staff met with Department officials in an effort to prioritize material for production. The Department has failed to comply with its commitments, producing material late, failing to provide all requested material, and even failing to provide material to the Senate Judiciary Committee contemporaneously with providing the same documents to Freedom of Information Act Requestors.”
Grassley took the Department of Justice to task last week for similar reasons, saying that while he wants information about the DOJ investigation into the server, the agency won’t even admit there is an investigation.
“The Justice Department is giving us less information than normal when they should be giving us more, so that we can make an informed decision about whether to seek an immunity order,” Grassley said in a statement last week. “You know it is getting a little absurd when someone at the Justice Department is apparently leaking details to the press about an investigation that the department officially refuses to admit to Congress that it is conducting.”