The House Oversight and Accountability Committee has initiated an inquiry into the office of John Kerry, the “climate czar” appointed by Democrat President Joe Biden. Following his inauguration, Biden established the position of “U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate” for Kerry within the State Department.
James Comer, the Chairman of the Oversight Committee, disclosed that lawmakers are scrutinizing Kerry’s alleged frequent consultations with questionable environmental activists and eco organizations. In a letter addressed to Antony Blinken, Biden’s Secretary of State, Comer has requested the State Department to provide additional documents and information pertaining to the interactions between Kerry’s office and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Previous documents obtained by Comer’s panel indicate that Kerry’s staff have privately acknowledged the existence of a select group of influential left-leaning eco groups, referred to as a “kitchen cabinet.”
“Meetings with leftist environmental organizations, sometimes collectively addressed as the ‘Kitchen Cabinet,’ go far beyond normal briefings and raise questions regarding possible conflicts of interests involving SPEC staff’s ties to these groups regarding climate finance investments,” Comer wrote.
“The State Department claims the ‘Kitchen Cabinet is an existing group of NGOs that sometimes asks SPEC to brief them… nothing unusual or below board.’”
“Documents received by the Committee illustrate that the coordination and briefings are anything but ordinary – a two-way street exists for the purposes of obtaining ‘off the record’ information, receiving climate finance consultation, and influencing U.S. foreign policy positions,” the Oversight chairman continued.
Comer’s correspondence highlighted an email sent in November 2022 by a member of Kerry’s Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) to various environmental organizations, such as the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Environmental Defense Fund. The email served as a reminder that a confidential kitchen cabinet meeting, which took place at that time, was not to be disclosed.
Further communications obtained by the committee indicate that the SPEC office engaged with the Bezos Earth Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Sequoia Climate Fund regarding climate finance policies. Additionally, an internal email within the State Department involving SPEC staff suggests that Mark Gallogly, who is known as a significant Democratic donor and private equity investor, was recruited by Kerry’s office to develop strategies for both public and private climate financing initiatives.
“The Committee has learned these groups will go as far to hire independent consultants to provide funding opportunities designated for placement of U.S. taxpayer dollars – all while receiving preferential treatment from Envoy Kerry, the SPEC Office, and the State Department who distribute taxpayer dollars to fund their projects,” Comer wrote.
“SPEC staff – past or present – who consult outside groups regarding climate finance matters require heightened accountability for their ties to these groups,” he continued.
“The Committee is troubled by the frequency and content of financial-related information discussed at ‘off the record’ meetings between the State Department, SPEC office, and outside groups considering that the Biden Administration has proposed $1 trillion in climate investments over the next 10 years.”