Grassley places hold on another State Department nominee

Grassley-090507-18363- 0032From Press Release


U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is adding another nominee to the State Department nominees on whom he is placing a hold, citing a continued failure to respond in a timely and reasonable manner to his inquiries regarding what should be the public’s business.  The total number of nominees subject to his holds is 22.  The holds are over the State Department’s use of the Special Government Employee program and private email use that raises concern about the proper handling of classified information, as well as Freedom of Information Act and federal archiving law compliance.

“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 today 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 said he warned the State Department that he would be forced to escalate the scope of his objections to unanimous consent requests to consider nominees if the department did not become more responsive.  He said the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman has joined him in requests to interview State Department employees.

“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.”

The latest nominee subject to Grassley’s hold is Brian James Egan as legal adviser.  In August, Grassley announced holds on 20 appointees for Foreign Service Officer positions and the nomination of David Malcolm Robinson to be assistant secretary for Conflict and Stabilization Operations and Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization.  Grassley said the holds are unrelated to the nominees’ qualifications.

Since June 2013, Grassley has sought answers from the State Department on its use of the Special Government Employee designation.  Grassley has written numerous letters to the State Department on these concerns and other related matters, adding questions as new developments warrant, such as Secretary Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin’s use of private email for official purposes.  As more revelations have emerged about Clinton’s private email server, Grassley and the Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee have sought to interview individuals tasked with overseeing the maintenance and operability of the server while simultaneously working as information technology specialists at the State Department.

Grassley’s documents for the Senate record on his new hold are available here.