House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) is probing Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) John Kerry’s job in the Biden administration and his climate negotiations with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Comer sent his letter to Kerry on Thursday to inform him there is now a formal investigation into the office he holds and his actions after failing to respond to other requests sent during the last Congress. Kerry, who has reportedly been holding climate negotiations with his Chinese counterpart, holds a cabinet-level position in the Biden administration that did require a Senate confirmation.
“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,” Comer added.
Kerry was appointed to the position, which previously did not exist, at the beginning of the Biden administration. But it is housed in the State Department with an annual budget, according to Fox News, of an estimated $13.9 million and 45 personnel. However, the Kerry sits on the National Security Council as well Biden’s cabinet. Comer’s letter stated:
The Committee requests documents and information to understand your 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.
The letter also acknowledged that Kerry has “continued to downplay the CCP’s human rights violations and its antagonism against the U.S. while promoting climate negotiations that the CCP does not even appear interested in entering” in addition to his recent notion that “CCP’s behavior should be decoupled from our attempts to enter into climate agreements.”
Comer is ultimately asking for a slew of documents and information — including the office’s activities, spending, and staffing — starting from January 20, 2021, to be delivered within the next two weeks, after noting that Kerry’s office “continues to ignore requests for information” and the committee wants to “enable long overdue” review of his office.