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Grassley asks Blinken to provide potential conflicts involving John Kerry

The Hill logo The Hill 5/4/2021 Mychael Schnell
John Kerry wearing a suit and tie: Grassley asks Blinken to provide potential conflicts involving John Kerry © Getty Images Grassley asks Blinken to provide potential conflicts involving John Kerry

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Monday requested additional information regarding potential conflicts of interests related to John Kerry, President Biden's special envoy for climate, and his previous involvement in finance and energy investing after he left his last government post as secretary of State.

In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Grassley wrote that it is "unclear exactly what matters Mr. Kerry has been barred from working on and whether he has received any waivers for specific matters that he would otherwise be recused from," according to Axios, which obtained a copy of the letter.

"The operation of good government requires faithful adherence to ethical rules," Grassley added.

The request comes after Axios reported last week that Kerry disclosed millions of dollars in income and divested assets that could pose a conflict of interest between his previous personal finances and current government business, according to his financial filing.

Axios also revealed Kerry's long history with the climate industry. Some of his former clients are involved with business in the energy and environment sector, which Kerry now has influence over as special presidential envoy for climate.

Grassley is now asking Blinken to hand over all records, including memorandums, emails and other documents, that relate to all potential conflicts of interests, in addition to all matters that Kerry has been recused from and waivers Kerry received.

In a statement to The Hill, a State Department spokesperson said "The Department respects the role of Congress and does not comment on Congressional correspondence."

Kerry disclosed receiving $125,000 in consulting fees from The Rise Fund, an investment firm that puts money into renewable energy, according to Axios.

Additionally, Axios reported that he was advisory board chairman for Climate Finance Partners, which, according to its website, "creates innovative and globally needed finance solutions that address climate change."

He also served as president of the Vietnam Sustainable Energy Corporation, according to Axios.



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