House Oversight Committee announces probe into John Kerry’s ‘secret negotiations’ with China

by mcardinal

Matt Bush, FISM News

House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) informed former Secretary of State John Kerry in a letter that the committee would investigate his negotiations with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The Oversight Committee published a press release Thursday that described Kerry’s dealings with the CCP as “secret negotiations,” stating that “Kerry is negotiating with the CCP on deals that undermine the United States’ interests.”

“In the 117th Congress, we requested information from you regarding your position as special presidential envoy for climate (SPEC)—a cabinet-level position that does not require Senate confirmation despite your apparent ability to bind the United States to international agreements—and SPEC employees’ ties to outside organizations. To date, you have failed to respond to any of our requests. Yet, you continue to engage in activities that could undermine our economic health, skirt congressional authority, and threaten foreign policy under the guise of climate advocacy. The Committee requests documents and information to understand your role and provide necessary transparency over the SPEC and its activities,” Comer wrote in the letter.

Comer is requesting multiple documents, including SPEC budgets for the past three years, a list of all individuals included in SPEC budgetary discussions, and a full list of names and salaries of all individuals employed by SPEC. 

President Biden appointed Kerry to be the U.S. SPEC, a position some refer to as “climate czar,” shortly after taking office in 2021. Prior to that, the position had never existed and neither its creation nor the appointment of Kerry to the post required Senate approval.

As SPEC, Kerry has a spot on President Biden’s cabinet and on the National Security Council, and his office has an estimated $13.9 million annual budget with approval to hire up to 45 personnel. Even with such a high-level role and large budget, there is very little transparency or open communication coming from the SPEC office.

Kerry drew heat from Republicans, including Comer, soon after being appointed, when he said, “We have other differences on human rights, geostrategic interests, but those differences do not have to get in the way of something that is as critical as dealing with climate,” seemingly downplaying the known human rights violations of the CCP.

Kerry has made it clear that he believes Chinese involvement is crucial to solving the world’s climate crisis, even telling Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng that “there is no way for the world to solve the climate crisis without China’s full engagement and commitment.”

In 2021 Kerry said, “China is doing a lot in a lot of ways, but it’s a huge country.” He also said that “Chinese officials told him they are drafting a new plan to address the rise in emissions, but that the details were not yet clear.” 

Two years later, China continues to account for 27% of total global emissions, easily the most of any country and nearly tripling the U.S. which comes in a distant second place. Even now, according to the Wilson Center, China is still approving and constructing more than half of the world’s new coal power plants.

Kerry is not only negotiating in secret, according to the data and evidence, he is negotiating with a country that is not negotiating back. With the lack of transparency and the lack of results, an investigation into Kerry and the SPEC office should come as no surprise and should not be seen as political posturing.

The Committee gave Kerry until February 16 to submit the requested materials.