WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is seeking additional information about former Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent financial disclosures. Kerry now serves as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. Those financial disclosures show millions in income from major corporate financial institutions and energy firms.
 
News reports indicate that ethics officials required Kerry to divest millions of dollars in assets and pledge not to work on certain issues to avoid conflicts of interest with former clients or employers. However it remains unclear what those issues are, and whether Kerry received any waivers.
 
In a letter this week, Grassley is calling on the State Department to provide documents detailing its assessments of actual or potential conflicts, any recusals and any exemptions or waivers relating to those conflicts of interest.
 
Full text of Grassley’s letter follows:
 
May 3, 2021

VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION

The Honorable Antony Blinken
Secretary
Department of State
 
Dear Secretary Blinken:
 
Based on recent reports, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, filed his financial disclosure forms and they show that he has divested certain assets as a condition of his employment at the State Department.[1]  In addition, reports indicate that Mr. Kerry has signed an ethics pledge barring him from participating in specific policy matters that would create a conflict with his former clients and employers.  However, it’s 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.
 
The operation of good government requires faithful adherence to ethical rules.  In order to better determine which matters Mr. Kerry has a potential or actual conflict with and which matters he has been recused from, and to determine the steps the Department has taken to prevent potential or actual conflicts, please provide the following no later than May 17, 2021:
 
  1. All records, including memoranda, emails and other similar documents, relating to all evaluations of potential, apparent and/or actual conflicts of interest;
  2. All matters that Mr. Kerry is recused from; and
  3. All exemptions or waivers issued to Mr. Kerry concerning potential, apparent and/or actual conflicts of interest.
 
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.  Should you have any questions, please contact Josh Flynn-Brown of my Judiciary Committee staff at 202-224-5225.
 
Sincerely,
 
Charles E. Grassley
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary
 
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[1] Lachlan Markay, John Kerry discloses millions in income from finance, energy firms, Axios (April 30, 2021).