US House Panel Opens Probe into John Kerry’s Climate Talks with China
US House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer has announced that his panel is investigating the work of Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) John Kerry, including his dealings with Chinese counterparts.
In a letter to Kerry on Thursday, Comer said that the committee is probing Kerry’s role in the Biden administration and, in particular, his high-level climate negotiations with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Comer stressed that although to date, Kerry has ignored relevant requests from Comer and other committee Republicans, he continues “to engage in activities that could undermine our [US] economic health, skirt congressional authority, and threaten foreign policy under the guise of climate advocacy.”
The Committee chairman added that the panel “requests documents and information to understand” Kerry’s role and “provide necessary transparency over the SPEC and its activities.”
“As a member of the President’s cabinet, you should be representing the United States’ interests. Your statements, however, consistently show disregard for American national security and taxpayer dollars. […] Your office continues to ignore requests for information. We are left with an insufficient understanding of your office’s activities, spending, and staffing”, Comer pointed out.
He also argued that Kerry plays down China’s alleged human rights violations and its antagonism against the US “while promoting climate negotiations that the CCP does not even appear interested in entering.”
According to the letter, Kerry has until February 16 to submit the requested materials. These include information from Kerry’s office budgets, as well as a full list of employees, titles and salaries. Comer also wants all documents and communications regarding Kerry’s domestic and international travel as special envoy.
The letter comes after the SPEC told a US media outlet last year that he was negotiating with the CCP to create a group dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This caused concerns among several Republican leaders, who claimed at the time that such actions by Kerry could undermine US economic health.
Shortly after taking office in early 2021, President Joe Biden appointed Kerry to the post of SPEC, a position that did not previously exist and did not require Senate approval. The position gives Kerry a spot on the president’s cabinet and National Security Council. Over the past few years, Kerry has reportedly engaged in various private talks with Chinese counterparts, including at least two meetings that took place in China.
Kerry’s office has repeatedly kept mum on its internal operations and staff members, provoking anger from Republicans, including Comer, who have demanded transparency for such an important office.
Source: Sputnik news agency