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.
A spokesman for Mr. Cornyn, Kevin McLaughlin, said, “this is not an effort to scuttle or block the nomination, but a legitimate policy difference. Senator Cornyn’s goal is to create transparency on all levels of government.”
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.”
A spokesman for Mr. Reid, Jim Manley, said, “it only takes one person to object to a vote.” He added, “She’ll be confirmed tomorrow with an overwhelming bipartisan support.”
They're all mouthing the right platitudes now, but it will be only a matter of days before Republicans start digging up even the most picayune of excuses to screw Democrats and play the obstructionists. In fact, it seems to have started already.