Helms schedules hearing for Holbrooke, blames White House for delay
June 4, 1999
Web posted at: 2:33 p.m. EDT (1833 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 4) -- Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina) has scheduled a June 17 hearing on the nomination of Richard Holbrooke to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
In a paper statement released Friday, Helms promised the committee would grant Holbrooke a fair hearing, but will investigate ethics charges as well as his role in the Clinton Administrations "misguided policy of appeasing Slobodan Milosevic."
Richard Holbrooke is nominated to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations
"I have not come to a judgement on Mr. Holbrooke's nomination. However, I must confess that I cannot recall another cabinet-level nomination sent to this committee with so much ethical baggage attached to it. Mr. Holbrooke has some explaining to do, and I and other senators will want to hear from him on a number of matters," said Helms.
Questions surrounding Holbrooke's activities as a consultant have plagued him since the nomination was first announced last year.
Helms blamed the White House for holding up Holbrooke's nomination, saying President Bill Clinton announced he intended to send up the nomination in June 17, 1998, but did not formally submit it to the Foreign Relations Committee until February 10, 1999 -- after the Justice Department conducted a criminal investigation of Holbrooke.
He said the White House delayed the process further by refusing to share documents on the Justice Department's inquiry.
"In the interim," said Helms, "the State Department's Office of Inspector General opened a second ethics inquiry on April 28, 1999, which was concluded May 3, 1999."
Holbrooke was the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs from 1994-1996, and was the president's point person on Bosnia and the Dayton peace accords.
He is nominated to replace Bill Richardson, who left the job as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in September 1998, to become Energy Secretary.