Conflict-of-interest issue for Rice on Keystone XL project?

posted at 12:11 pm on November 29, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The odds of Susan Rice getting the nomination to replace Hillary Clinton may have just gotten longer, perhaps even longer than the proposed length of the Keystone XL pipeline project.  That’s not an accidental analogy either, as the embattled UN Ambassador’s finances have begun attracting some interest.  Rice’s wealth includes a substantial investment in TransCanada, the firm that wants to build the pipeline — and the next Secretary of State will make the official decision on whether it proceeds:

Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations whose name has been floated as a possible secretary of state nominee, may soon face opposition from the environmental lobby over what the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) called a potential financial conflict of interest on Wednesday.

According to her May 2012 financial disclosure, Rice has an investment in TransCanada Corporation worth between $300,000 and $600,000. TransCanada is angling for the State Department’s permission to build the final portion of the Keystone XL pipeline — a 1,700-mile conduit for crude oil between Canadian deposits and Texas refineries.

If she were confirmed as secretary of state, Rice would have final authority to green-light the large section of the pipeline project still languishing in regulatory purgatory.

Rice and her husband, a producer at ABC News, have a net worth between $26 million and $39 million, making Rice one of the wealthiest members of Obama’s Cabinet.  There is nothing wrong with that, of course, and the overall wealth shows that this investment is a very small part of Rice’s portfolio.  However, that may not matter to those who oppose Rice’s nomination, nor to those who oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, two very different constituencies that might have a common cause if Obama sends her name in nomination to the Senate.

The Washington Post reports that chances of that happening appear to be dimming somewhat, although not entirely extinguished.  Democrats are publicly supportive of Rice, but privately wondering whether this is a fight worth having:

The choice of a successor to Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state has turned into an unexpectedly nasty political fight that could cost the White House valuable goodwill with Republicans.

Republican opposition to presumptive front-runner Susan E. Rice did not fade after the election, as White House officials and her supporters had predicted. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, did not win any public GOP support after meeting with two Republican senators Wednesday, her second day of unusual face-to-face sessions intended to blunt critiques of her role in explaining the fatal Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Libya. …

A White House official and Democratic aides said they think that Rice could win Senate confirmation for the top diplomatic job if Obama nominated her.

But with lawmakers potentially facing difficult votes on taxes or entitlements, confirmation could come at a high political cost for Obama and vulnerable Democrats facing reelection in 2014.

The Post also picked up on the conflict-of-interest story late this morning.  They report on more connections between Rice and players in the pipeline effort, and a new effort by environmentalists to oppose her appointment:

If Susan E. Rice becomes Secretary of State, she might have to recuse herself from one of the first and most controversial decisions she would face: the Keystone XL oil pipeline permit.

The reason: Rice and her husband are major shareholders in the pipeline company as well as a variety of Canadian companies that are involved in exploiting the oil sands region of Alberta, which would feed the Keystone XL and benefit from a new outlet. …

Rice and her husband also own shares of major Canadian banks that are expected to provide financing for the Keystone XL project. They own between $50,000 and $100,000 of shares in Suncor, another oil sands company, and more than $1.25 million of shares in Transalta, the Alberta’s electric power producer.

Rice, who is the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and considered the leading candidate to become President Obama’s nominee for State, listed the holdings in her most recent disclosure statement, covering the 2011 calendar year. The information was highlighted in an article published on the Web site of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s OnEarth magazine. The NRDC is opposed to the construction of the $7 billion pipeline. …

At a time when Obama is fighting Republicans opposed to Rice, the financial disclosure form is likely to draw scrutiny from Democrats and environmental activists who have been among the president’s most reliable supporters.

Jennifer Rubin argued yesterday that the results of Rice’s charm offensive on Capitol Hill this week should disqualify her anyway, especially after flopping with Republican moderates Susan Collins and Bob Corker:

Collins is no wide-eyed right-winger and, moreover, is privy to materials reviewed in the Homeland Security Committee’s investigation of the Benghazi, Libya, scandal. Her opposition would likely mean unanimous Republican opposition to the nomination (45 votes, more than enough for a filibuster).

Likewise, Corker, known as a moderate deal-maker on the Hill, practically begged the president not to nominate her: “I am asking the president to step back away from all that’s happened and take a deep breath and to nominate the person that he really believes is the very best person to be secretary of State for our country, regardless of relationship.”

Indeed, it remains a bit of a puzzle why Rice, whose belly-flop on Capitol Hill doesn’t speak well of her diplomatic skills, is still in the hopper for State. There are more qualified candidates with less baggage who would sail through the Senate.

I suspect that Rice will end up staying where she is, and John Kerry will get a phone call in the next couple of months.


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John Kerry fought in Vietnam you know…

right2bright on November 29, 2012 at 12:15 PM

… John Kerry will get a phone call in the next couple of months.

Unless he’s in Cambodia for Christmas again.

psrch on November 29, 2012 at 12:17 PM

No need to worry, she’ll just LIE about it during her confirmation hearings.

Pork-Chop on November 29, 2012 at 12:17 PM

This will not stand in the way by anyone on the left including environmentalists. You see, that opposition only comes about when it is the wrong person who needs to be opposed. Rice is not a “wrong” person.

Pardonme on November 29, 2012 at 12:19 PM

The odds of Susan Rice getting the nomination to replace Hillary Clinton may have just gotten longer, perhaps even longer than the proposed length of the Keystone XL pipeline project.

Susan Rice=the airbag in this Ford Focus…

SWalker on November 29, 2012 at 12:19 PM

If that’s what it takes to get it approved, put her in.

msupertas on November 29, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Well, well, well, she is a busy person on both sides. Corruption foerever!

BetseyRoss on November 29, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Rice’s wealth includes a substantial investment in TransCanada, the firm that wants to build the pipeline — and the next Secretary of State will make the official decision on whether it proceeds

You mean she would personally benefit from a project that would significantly boost the United States economy? This is actually the most compelling argument for appointing her that I’ve heard.

Caiwyn on November 29, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Oil pipelines are both racist and sexists.

Flange on November 29, 2012 at 12:25 PM

John Kerry fought in Vietnam you know…

right2bright on November 29, 2012 at 12:15 PM

No way, I’ve never heard that. (:

msupertas on November 29, 2012 at 12:26 PM

She is almost as rich as Romney. Can we pass the Susan Rice Rule instead of the Warren Buffet Rule that would tax ruling class hypocrites at the same high rate for AGI, dividends, investments, and capital gains? Treat it all at the same high rate.

mwbri on November 29, 2012 at 12:27 PM

I thought all the super-rich bad guys who invested in that nasty fossil fuels stuff, and were out to destroy the little guy, were supposed to be Republicans.

Imagine that…net worth of well over $30 million, that we know about.

Invested in TransCanada?

Wonder how many American jobs Rice has created or saved lately? Probably about the same as that Obama guy who idolizes her.

Zip.

coldwarrior on November 29, 2012 at 12:27 PM

I assume there’s some way she could divest or use a blind trust. Hillary had very bad conflicts of interest through her husband’s foreign deals, but they worked it out somehow.

It’s entertaining seeing the greenies go after her though.

juliesa on November 29, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Oh, so much soul searching to be done.
The quick double of a small investment stake,
Or lay the foundation for your charitable trust.
Dump the stock – “leave the gun, take the canoli”.

nimrod on November 29, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Simple. The special group identiy obsessed donks need a black woman to challenge Hillary in 2016. Rice’s skin color plus gender will trump Hillary’s gender only advantage. This is all about establishing a resume for Rice to use in 2016.

a capella on November 29, 2012 at 12:35 PM

She’s a Democrat = FREE PASS!!

Khun Joe on November 29, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Oh, stunning, another liberal democrat (rice), who is in “bed” with obama, has vast holdings in a government project where she will reap millions.

Rice is part of the problem with government. She’s a hack, who if she had to get a real job would be out on her azz.

What amazes me is people actually think pols will do the right thing and are honest. Bullsh*t, they are all out for personal gain.

Why do pols stay in office for 40 -50 years. Not for their salary. for power, influcence peddling, etc.; Think the kennedy’s, the Bushies, Harry Reid, pelosi, mcconnalletc.

We need term limits, a cap on spending in running for office an a meager Salary. When the founders described public service it was suppose to be a hardship, not a get rich scheme!!!

Danielvito on November 29, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Rice and her husband, a producer at ABC News, have a net worth between $26 million and $39 million, making Rice one of the wealthiest members of Obama’s Cabinet.

The irony in this administration just writes itself!

KS Rex on November 29, 2012 at 12:38 PM

If she were confirmed as secretary of state, Rice would have final authority to green-light the large section of the pipeline project still languishing in regulatory purgatory.

Why does the Secretary of State have final authority on a pipeliine project within the borders of the US? Shouldn’t the Secretary of the Interior or Department of Energy have authority…oh wait…

Mitoch55 on November 29, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Rice and her husband, a producer at ABC News,

Eisenhower warned of the military-industrial complex. Considering the frequent pairings of influential democrats and members of the media, one has to wonder about the democratic political-media complex within the same context as Ike’s warning, IMO.

ted c on November 29, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Why is her name still in the hopper? Because – shocking revelation – Barack Obama is a petulant child who doesn’t like being told what he can or can’t do, especially by the people he supposedly just thrashed in an election.

There is a quick trick for deciphering almost any action taken by this Administration (i.e., this President). Put a big, fat ME in the middle and all will become clear, grasshopper.

IndieDogg on November 29, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Conflict-of-interest issue for Rice on Keystone XL project?

Well, slap me silly and call me Nancy – Who is really surprised by thus?

Chip on November 29, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Why on earth would the Sect. of State have anything to do with the pipeline decision? Then again, why would the FBI be rooting through a general’s private emails?

John the Libertarian on November 29, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Palinize her.

Bork her.

Make her name a verb.

Play smash mouth, not the usual GOP dainty pussy beanbag.

Bruno Strozek on November 29, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Pres. Obama liar leader of the liar Democrat Party has a choice of a traitor liar or a plain old bad Clinton type liar.

51% who voted last time of U.S. deserve to be lied to, the rest of U.S. had better get with the program and get out more of our sides votes at election times or else.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on November 29, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Palinize her.

Bork her.

Make her name a verb.

Play smash mouth, not the usual GOP dainty pusssy beanbag.

Bruno Strozek on November 29, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Corruption is rampant in oba-mao’s circles……. where is the outrage? Where is Issa on this? That incompetent, community organizer ought to be impeached for violating the law and failing to uphold his oath of office…. taking an oath …… what a freaking joke and a disgrace to all of our former presidents and the founding fathers.

ultracon on November 29, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Two Party Evil Money Cult in Washington D.C..

APACHEWHOKNOWS on November 29, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Foundations made of greed to not stand the test of time.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on November 29, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Will we now have to add ‘wealth envy’ to the list of ‘sexist, racist’ as to why those nasty r’s won’t vote for rice for sos? It sure wouldn’t surprise me!

BTW, didn’t bho say he would veto a keystome pipeline? Or is bho ‘evolving’ on the pipeline?
L

letget on November 29, 2012 at 1:01 PM

How does a bureaucrat married to a tv producer come up with $30M?

Akzed on November 29, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Fried Rice?

docflash on November 29, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Rice and her husband, a producer at ABC News,

And she went on the ABC Sunday show, whatever it is, and lied. And wasn’t called out for lying.

Huh.

Akzed on November 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Why is this a big f’ing deal?

Because Obama, our dithering Resident, was not able to make a decision on the pipeline, so he handed it off via Executive Order #13337, to the State Department on the grounds a foreign country (Canada) was involved, and also, he didn’t know what to decide:

“On May 4, 2012, the Department of State received a new application from TransCanada Corp. for a proposed pipeline that would run from the Canadian border to connect to an existing pipeline in Steele City, Nebraska. The new application includes proposed new routes through the state of Nebraska. The Department is committed to conducting a rigorous, transparent and thorough review.”

This puts the Secretary of State squarely in the decision-making role. Yes, I’d say this is a conflict of interest:

“The Department’s responsibility, under Executive Order 13337, is to determine if granting a permit for the proposed pipeline is in the national interest. We will consider this new application on its merits. Consistent with the Executive Order, this involves consideration of many factors, including energy security, health, environmental, cultural, economic, and foreign policy concerns.”

(From the DS website)

str8tface on November 29, 2012 at 1:09 PM

gop wealth pure evil
dem wealth meh

lsm

cmsinaz on November 29, 2012 at 1:10 PM

When the WaPo has been greenlighted to shaft you (and making sure to note your substantial net worth), then it’s crying time in Liberalville. She didn’t make that.

FerdtheMoonCat on November 29, 2012 at 1:13 PM

her husband is the Executive Producer of ABC’s news with George Stephanopolis…if that rings a bell…or at least he was.

Family ties

r keller on November 29, 2012 at 1:25 PM

gop wealth pure evil
dem wealth meh

lsm BSM

cmsinaz on November 29, 2012 at 1:10 PM

FIFY

Bull Sh… stream Media.

Chip on November 29, 2012 at 1:37 PM

XL Pipeline will be approved.

Every job possible on the pipe line will be Union only.

Mark this down as fact.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on November 29, 2012 at 1:56 PM

She’ll get in no problem.

Deano1952 on November 29, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Why does the Secretary of State have final authority on a pipeliine project within the borders of the US? Shouldn’t the Secretary of the Interior or Department of Energy have authority…oh wait…

Mitoch55 on November 29, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Secretary of State has jurisdiction over the portion of the Keystone Pipeline which would enter the United States from Canada.

Portions of Keystone entirely within the borders of the United States are already being built.

Except of course for the portion in Montana where the birdwatchers are screaming about environmental issues…….

Tenwheeler on November 29, 2012 at 2:02 PM

nobody can question her wealth (that would be racist)…we could question her intelligence for playing the pawn without knowing it (but that would be racist).

in the new tax bill, I expect to see a specific exemption for “non-white females born in 1964 and married to somebody named Ian”).

If you think I gest, read any tax bill produced in the past 40 years…

teejk on November 29, 2012 at 3:26 PM

teejk on November 29, 2012 at 3:26 PM

An obvious racist post…

right2bright on November 29, 2012 at 4:16 PM

as the embattled UN Ambassador’s finances have begun attracting some interest. Rice’s wealth includes a substantial investment in TransCanada,

Oh, snap! You mean she hasn’t redistributed her wealth yet???

What gives?

Dr. ZhivBlago on November 29, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Rice and her husband, a producer at ABC News, have a net worth between $26 million and $39 million, making Rice one of the wealthiest members of Obama’s Cabinet. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, and the overall wealth shows that this investment is a very small part of Rice’s portfolio.

I thought, at some point, you’ve made enough money. Are there exceptions now? Mabye this is another of those waivers that Obama is so fond of.

tom on November 29, 2012 at 5:48 PM

The fact this commie hate America person has any Federal job is a crock, that she has a securtiy clearace if treason if you ask me.

She has to know about the Iran stuff.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on November 29, 2012 at 6:42 PM

Rice and her husband, a producer at ABC News,

Eisenhower warned of the military-industrial complex. Considering the frequent pairings of influential democrats and members of the media, one has to wonder about the democratic political-media complex within the same context as Ike’s warning, IMO.

ted c on November 29, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Update needed, Ed.

U.N. ambassador has investments in companies doing business with Iran, disclosure forms show.

JPeterman on November 29, 2012 at 4:57 PM

As the lately-unlamented Warren Churchill (and others) discovered, once you get in front of the spot-light, you lose control of the narrative.

AesopFan on November 30, 2012 at 9:29 PM