So much for the honeymoon. Citing unanswered ethical concerns, John Cornyn blocked a vote to confirm Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. At most, it will delay her confirmation for 24 hours, but the new head of the NRSC wants to draw attention to pay-for-play allegations:
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s smooth ride to confirmation as secretary of state hit a small bump on Tuesday as one of her Republican colleagues blocked a vote on Mrs. Clinton’s nomination, citing ethical questions arising from donors to her husband’s charitable foundation.
Senator John Cornyn of Texas objected to including Mrs. Clinton’s name in a unanimous consent vote for several Cabinet nominees, scheduled for hours after the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, plans to hold a roll-call vote on Mrs. Clinton’s nomination on Wednesday, which she is expected to win easily. …
Mrs. Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, signed an agreement with the Obama transition team, putting some limits on foreign donations to his foundation, as well as stipulating annual disclosure of new donors.
But Senator Cornyn, in a letter to Mrs. Clinton last Friday, said he remained worried that her diplomatic activities would be compromised “unless tighter foreign fund-raising restrictions and transparency protocols are adopted.”
The Republicans won’t get to offer much advice and consent over the next two years on administration appointments, so the GOP has to pick its moments carefully. Is Hillary worth fighting over? If she somehow didn’t get confirmed, which would only occur if she withdrew, does anyone believe that Barack Obama would appoint someone less objectionable? I’d worry that Hillary would give way to Samantha Power or Robert Malley, or perhaps more likely, John Kerry.
Which Cabinet appointment should get the most opposition? I’d suggest Eric Holder at Justice.