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Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) leaves a news conference in Omaha, Nebraska March 12, 2007. REUTERS/Dave Kaup
Republicans eager to hold up Hagel's nomination any way they can, even by changing the rules.
Twenty-five Republicans forced a postponement of a Senate vote this week on the nomination of Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense by demanding an extraordinary level of financial disclosure. Extraordinary, as in unprecedented, as Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute explained Thursday night on The Rachel Maddow Show. Although Hagel is one of their own on most issues, his close association with, and endorsement of, Barack Obama for the presidency last year and his being out of lockstep with Republican views on foreign policy have driven more than half the GOP Senate caucus to make the disclosure demands.

Consequently, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the Democratic chairman of the Armed Services Committee that has been holding hearings on Hagel's nomination, addressed them Friday in a letter to the ranking member of the committee, Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, one of the 25 senators who signed on to the letter demanding more information from the nominee.

Levin wrote:

I read with some concern a February 6, 2013, letter that you signed with 25 other Republican Senators, demanding that former Senator Chuck Hagel provide additional financial disclosure information in connection with his nomination to serve as Secretary of Defense.  This letter appears to insist upon financial disclosure requirements that far exceed the standard practices of the Armed Services Committee and go far beyond the financial disclosure required of previous Secretaries of Defense.

Our committee has a well-defined set of financial disclosure and ethics requirements which apply to all nominees for civilian positions in the Department of Defense.[...]

We have applied these disclosure requirements and followed this process for all nominees of both parties throughout the 16 years that I have served as Chairman or Ranking Minority Member of the committee. I understand that the same financial disclosure requirements and processes were followed for at least the previous 10 years, during which Senator Sam Nunn served as Chairman or Ranking Minority Member.  During this period, the committee has confirmed eight Secretaries of Defense (Secretaries Carlucci, Cheney, Aspin, Perry, Cohen, Rumsfeld, Gates, and Panetta), as well as hundreds of nominees for other senior civilian positions in the Department. [...]

The committee cannot have two different sets of financial disclosure standards for nominees, one for Senator Hagel and one for other nominees.

As Sen. Levin does not acknowledge in his controlled politeness, however, rules-for-thee-and-not-for-me has been the modus operandi of the modern Republican Party for quite some time.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 10:13 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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