Energy group sues Biden administration, climate envoy Kerry for withheld documents
Power The Future, an organization that advocates for workers in the energy sector, is suing the Biden administration for withholding documents pertaining to the office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) John Kerry.
The organization said in a statement that the Biden administration ignored requests to reveal the names and titles of people who work in his office. The organization adds that Kerry has dodged requests to disclose information about his office for the past three years, claiming that he only answers to the president.
“For nearly three years, John Kerry has been jet-setting on the international climate conference circuit while sending taxpayers the bill,” Power The Future founder and Executive Director Daniel Turner said in a statement, “Today, we begin the process of teaching John Kerry and Joe Biden that they work for the taxpayers. No one should have to waste resources on litigation, but that is our only option since John Kerry thinks he can keep his office off the books.”
Turner accuses Kerry’s office of masterminding several environmental policies that are wildly unpopular and inconvenient on Americans’ lives.
“The American people are on the receiving end of countless green mandates and rules, gas stove bans and skyrocketing utility bills, with no opportunity for consent or input, and many of these decisions are hatched in John Kerry’s office,” Turner said.
Moreover, PTF argues that the SPEC office’s promise to reveal their officials’ names in October 2024 “suggests that the Department intends to selectively withhold this information to prevent public dissemination for the current fiscal year 2024,” the lawsuit reads.
“The Department’s position is also an admission that the information is not privileged,” the lawsuit continues.
In 2022, government watchdog Protecting the Public’s Trust (PPT) obtained emails with the redacted names of Kerry’s office’s staffers. The Boston Herald revealed in January that Kerry’s office handed over documents with redacted names in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the publication.
PTF submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the State Department weeks later, demanding the release of the names of Kerry’s staff.
In April 2023, House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer attempted to acquire information on Kerry’s office, citing his prominent role in negotiations with foreign governments.
“For almost two years, the Biden Administration has refused to respond to requests from the Committee on Oversight and Accountability regarding Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) John Kerry’s office. In the 117th Congress, we twice requested information from Envoy Kerry’s office regarding his role as SPEC, a cabinet-level position that does not require Senate confirmation despite his apparent ability to bind the United States to international agreements. We received no response,” Comer wrote in a letter.
“We wrote again to Envoy Kerry’s office in the 118th Congress on February 2, 2023, requesting documents and information. The White House referred our letter to the State Department. The State Department has not provided any documents or information,” Comer continued.
Kerry is leaving his position to help with the Biden reelection campaign. The president tapped political consultant John Podesta to replace Kerry as the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.