Levin cited Hagel's role as chairman of the board of directors at the Atlantic Council, a nonprofit think tank, to demonstrate the unusual breadth of the GOP's demands. Among the Atlantic Council's corporate contributors are U.S. companies, such as Chevron, Citigroup and Boeing, and foreign entities, including Polish Telecom, the Istanbul Stock Exchange and All Nippon Airways.
"Over the 16 years that I have served as either chairman or ranking minority member of this committee, we have considered numerous nominations of individuals who were associated with similar thinks tanks, universities and other nonprofit entities," Levin wrote. "Even in the many cases where a nominee received compensation from such a nonprofit entity, we did not require the nominee to disclose the sources of funding provided to the nonprofit entity."
Hagel also has worked for seven for-profit companies based in the United States, Levin wrote. He left four of these businesses in 2010 and has not received any compensation from them during the two-year reporting period covered by law, Levin told Inhofe. Nonetheless, Levin wrote, the Republicans want Hagel to give them 10 years of financial information on foreign investments or money these companies might have received.
"We have considered board members, officers, directors and employers of companies doing business across the full range of our economy," Levin wrote. "In this time, we have never required the nominee to attempt to ascertain and disclose the names of investors in such an entity."
Last month, Hagel told Pentagon officials he would divest some of his financial holdings and resign from several corporate boards and public interest groups to avoid potential conflicts of interest if he wins Senate confirmation.
Well-funded outside groups are keeping up a steady drumbeat of criticism of Hagel. The Emergency Committee for Israel is running an ad on cable in the New York and Washington markets as well as the Sunday morning network news shows assailing Hagel on Iran. The American Future Fund is launching an ad on Sunday that includes sound bites from Hagel's testimony in which the nominee struggled with questions.
Obama announced his nomination of Hagel on Jan. 7. Panetta is stepping down after serving as CIA director and Pentagon chief in the Obama administration.
Associated Press writer Richard Lardner contributed to this report.
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