Biden administration and climate envoy Kerry face lawsuit over withheld documents by energy group

Power The Future, a pro-worker organization in the energy sector, has filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration for not releasing documents related to the office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry.

According to the organization, the Biden administration has disregarded their requests to disclose the names and titles of individuals employed in his office. The organization further states that Kerry has been evasive in providing information about his office for the past three years, asserting that he is solely accountable to the president.

Power The Future founder and Executive Director Daniel Turner criticized John Kerry for his extensive travel and the resulting taxpayer expenses. Turner stated that Kerry has been traveling on the international climate conference circuit for almost three years, with the expenses being covered by taxpayers. Turner emphasized the need to remind Kerry and Joe Biden that they are public servants, and that taxpayers should not have to bear the burden of such excessive spending. He further added that litigation is the only recourse available to address this issue, as Kerry seems to believe that he can keep his office expenses off the books.

Turner claims that Kerry’s office is responsible for orchestrating numerous environmental policies that are highly unpopular and have a significant impact on the lives of Americans.

Turner criticized the numerous green mandates and rules, along with the bans on gas stoves and the increasing utility bills that the American people are facing. He pointed out that these decisions are made without the consent or input of the people, and many of them originate from John Kerry’s office.

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The lawsuit filed by PTF argues that the SPEC office’s commitment to disclose the names of their officials in October 2024 implies an intention to selectively withhold this information from the public for the current fiscal year 2024.

According to the lawsuit, the Department’s stance is an acknowledgement that the information in question is not privileged.

In 2022, the government watchdog Protecting the Public’s Trust (PPT) obtained emails containing the names of the staff members from Kerry’s office. The Boston Herald disclosed in January that Kerry’s office provided documents with redacted names in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made by the publication.

The State Department received a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from PTF, urging them to release the names of Kerry’s staff. This request was made several weeks after the initial submission.

In April 2023, Chairman James Comer of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability made an effort to obtain information regarding Kerry’s office. This action was taken due to Kerry’s significant involvement in negotiations with foreign governments.

Comer wrote a letter stating that the Biden Administration has been unresponsive to the Committee on Oversight and Accountability’s requests for information regarding Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) John Kerry’s office. Despite being a cabinet-level position that does not require Senate confirmation, Kerry seemingly has the ability to bind the United States to international agreements. The committee had requested information twice in the 117th Congress, but received no response.

Comer continued by stating that they had reached out once again to Envoy Kerry’s office during the 118th Congress on February 2, 2023, in order to request documents and information. However, the White House redirected their letter to the State Department, but they have yet to receive any documents or information from them.

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Kerry is stepping down from his role to lend his support to the Biden reelection campaign. In his place, the president has selected John Podesta, a seasoned political consultant, to take on the position of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.

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