GOP lawmakers demand answers from John Kerry over ‘effectively outsourcing’ US policy-making

GOP lawmakers demand answers from John Kerry over ‘effectively outsourcing’ US policy-making

FIRST ON FOX: Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee sent a letter to Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry over reports his office is “effectively outsourcing” American foreign policymaking to left-wing environmental groups.

House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Michael McCaul, R-Texas, led the letter with the GOP members of his committee following Fox News Digital reports that green groups were consulted and given a key role in crafting U.S. foreign policy. The reports, based on internal State Department emails, showed outside non-governmental organizations acting as an apparent middleman in key global climate policy talks.

“We need to know the extent to which Special Envoy John Kerry is farming his work out to progressive environmentalists, which could be a violation of federal law,” McCaul told Fox News Digital in a statement Friday.

In the letter, the lawmakers pointed to the reports “suggesting that your office is effectively outsourcing official policymaking functions of the U.S. government to progressive environmentalist groups, and/or utilizing them in an unlawful advisory capacity.”

ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS PLAY KEY ROLE IN BIDEN ADMIN FOREIGN POLICY, EMAILS SHOW

House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Michael McCaul, R-Texas, led committee Republicans in a letter to President Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry (pictured) regarding Fox News Digital’s report of the State Department “effectively outsourcing” U.S. foreign policymaking to environmental groups.
(Associated Press)

“As has been publicly reported, groups have demanded that the State Department elevate climate change above all national security, great power competition, and human rights considerations, to ‘the top of all [foreign policy] decisions,’” the Republicans wrote.

“They have also advised the Department that ‘anyone with a history of blocking climate action must be disqualified from senior international appointments,’” McCaul and his fellow GOP members continued.

In August, Fox News Digital reported that Kerry’s office has consulted with multiple left-wing environmental groups on multiple occasions since President Biden took office in January 2021. Immediately upon taking office, Biden appointed Kerry to be the nation’s first special presidential envoy for climate, a high-level State Department position which grants him a position on the White House National Security Council.

JOHN KERRY’S CLIMATE OFFICE RIFE WITH TIES TO FAR-LEFT GREEN GROUPS

Emails obtained by Fox News Digital via government watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT) showed that staffers and advisers in Kerry’s office actively sought the advice of prominent groups like the Sierra Club and the United Nations Foundation. His office also scheduled Zoom briefings with such organizations.

“For an administration claiming to be guided by the science, there are more than a few indications that the input of their political allies may be a bigger driver of policy,” PPT Director Michael Chamberlain told Fox News Digital at the time. “Little wonder that the American public’s trust in its government is in free fall.”

Fox News Digital then reported in September that additional emails obtained by PPT showed environmental groups acting as an apparent go-between for the Biden administration in international climate discussions. The story was cited in the House Foreign Affairs GOP letter Thursday. 

“The Department of State’s leadership in combating the global climate crisis is supported by diplomats, negotiators, and subject matter experts with diverse backgrounds and decades of knowledge and experience from the public sector, academia, NGOs, and the private sector,” a State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital after the second report. 

McCaul and his fellow committee Republicans 

McCaul and his fellow committee Republicans 
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Kerry’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the Republican letter Friday.

In the letter, McCaul and the other GOP lawmakers continued, requesting “additional clarity regarding your office’s interactions with these groups, your team’s solicitation of their advice, and the Department’s adoption of their recommendations.”

They also wrote the emails reported “suggest that your office has sent private updates regarding your foreign travel to a small, exclusive cadre of representatives of various non-profit organizations (NGOs), who remain better informed than the American people or the U.S. Congress regarding your whereabouts and policy agenda.”

JOHN KERRY’S SECRETIVE CLIMATE OFFICE DISCUSSED KEEPING PLANS OFF ‘PAPER,’ EMAILS SHOW

“The same correspondence shows that your senior staff has asked these NGOs to weigh in on which candidates the United States government should support to fill important leadership positions inside international organizations like the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). One candidate, whom an NGO representative described in emails as ‘horrible,’ went on to win a leadership seat at the OECD.”

“This complicates both present and future diplomatic engagements: Now that it is publicly known that he was viewed unfavorably by American groups with privileged access to U.S. decisionmakers, our working relationships with the OECD and the official’s host government could be jeopardized,” the Republicans warned.

President Biden and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry are pictured in 2020. Biden appointed Kerry to position which previously did not exist in 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Biden and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry are pictured in 2020. Biden appointed Kerry to position which previously did not exist in 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The lawmakers said it’s “one thing, of course, to occasionally consult with outside groups to fill in knowledge gaps and hear a variety of perspectives,” but a completely different situation “to use individuals who have not gone through official vetting to form your shadow cabinet, and/or solicit their advice regularly when they have not been lawfully constituted as a federal advisory committee.”

McCaul and his fellow foreign affairs Republicans warned that when the latter situation occurs, “individuals with considerable sway over U.S. foreign policy are not accountable to the American public, and normal transparency into government processes is lost.”

JOHN KERRY’S OFFICE REDACTED EVERY STAFFER NAME IN FOIAED CORRESPONDENCE

“Functions that are inherently governmental – like the conduct of foreign relations and the determination of foreign policy – cannot be contracted out to friends and former colleagues of your staff,” they added. “Even informal arrangements that do not include financial remuneration would seem to violate the spirit, if not the letter, of this normal contracting rule.” 

“Furthermore, elevating outsiders’ perspectives in the reported manner may have the unintended consequence of discounting or making less relevant those innovative policy ideas that have been provided through official Department channels.”

The lawmakers said it was “imperative” that Kerry “remind all employees and officials within the Department of their legal responsibility” to take the “appropriate measures” to “preserve all documents, communications, and other records” — including electronic ones — in line “with federal law, including the Federal Records Act and related regulations, that are related to House Foreign Affairs Committee members’ series of questions.” 

Fox News Digital reported earlier this month that far-left environmental groups have played a key role in crafting the Biden administration's foreign policy efforts. 

Fox News Digital reported earlier this month that far-left environmental groups have played a key role in crafting the Biden administration’s foreign policy efforts. 
(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

“We request that you preserve all information that relates to Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) communication, documents, and other records, created or disseminated from January 2021 to present, exchanged with representatives of, and/or referring or relating to, the following entities and individuals,” the lawmakers wrote in bold.

McCaul and the Republicans specifically demanded Kerry preserve the records of department activities with E3G, Performance Partners, The People’s Justice Council, Climate Nexus, the Center for American Progress, Oxfam America, the National Resources Defense Council, the Global Strategic Communications Council, the Global CCS Institute, the World Resources Institute, and Biden’s green energy innovation senior advisor John Podesta.

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“Specifically, this request should be construed as an instruction to preserve all documents, communications, and other information, including electronic information and metadata, that is or may be potentially responsive to a future congressional inquiry, request, investigation, or subpoena.”

“This includes preserving all compilations of documents that have already been gathered in response to requests, even if copies of individual documents may still exist elsewhere in the agency,” the lawmakers concluded the letter.

Joining McCaul on the letter are the GOP members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, including Reps. Mark Green of Tennessee, August Pfluger of Texas, and Young Kim of California. 

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