- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 2, 2023

The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability launched an investigation Thursday into the tenure of White House Climate Envoy John Kerry over national security concerns about his environmental talks with China and green activists.

The probe, initiated by Chairman James Comer, doubles down on previous requests by the Kentucky Republican from the previous Congress, when the GOP was in the minority, for information and documents that were snubbed by Mr. Kerry.

“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,” Mr. Comer wrote in a letter to Mr. Kerry. “Your office continues to ignore requests for information. We are left with an insufficient understanding of your office’s activities, spending and staffing.”

A spokesperson for the State Department, under which Mr. Kerry operates, declined to comment on the substance of the investigation and indicated there would be no change in how he works. 

“While the Department does not comment on congressional inquiries, the Department works to appropriately accommodate such requests,”  the spokesperson said. “Separately, the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate has and will continue to engage members of Congress on international efforts to combat the climate crisis.” 

Mr. Kerry‘s Cabinet-level position is the first of its kind and did not require Senate confirmation, raising concerns among Republicans that his status as a roving international climate ambassador yields much to be discovered.

Among the transparency requests, Mr. Comer asked for details about Mr. Kerry‘s budget; a full list of current and former staff, titles and salaries, as well as their financial disclosures; his domestic and international travel; and any communications with climate activist groups or foreign government officials.

“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,” Mr. Comer wrote, citing past comments by Mr. Kerry regarding U.S.-China partnerships to combat climate change.

• Ramsey Touchberry can be reached at rtouchberry@washingtontimes.com.

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