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Kerry Cashes in on Oil and Gas Stocks

in Sludge
on May 4, 2021

Climate czar John Kerry disappointed the left in March when he said that he believed companies would solve climate change, not governments, and that doing so would be profitable for them. 

“No government is going to solve this problem,” Kerry said at the Institute of International Finance. “The solution is going to come from the private sector, and what government needs to do is create the framework within which the private sector can do what it does best.”

“There are technology opportunities that are going to create enormous wealth for those that are venturesome and go out and chase those gold pots,” Kerry said regarding a race to new energy technology that he expects to happen. 

After covering up knowledge of the role of fossil fuels in climate change for decades, energy companies and utilities have more recently begun advertising that they are committed to being better for the environment. 

Often, however, their actions behind the scenes fall short of their public declarations. For example, oil giants including Shell, Chevron, and BP (which rebranded itself as Beyond Petroleum) continue to fund the American Petroleum Institute, which fights the government’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, operates a PAC that donates to Republicans, and recently financed a social welfare organization’s ad campaign supporting the re-election of “Big Oil’s favorite Democrat” Henry Cuellar. 

Underscoring Kerry’s high regards for the fossil fuel industry are his recently released financial disclosure that show he held hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of oil and gas company stocks until March, when he was forced to sell them to comply with government ethics regulations. 

Kerry’s fossil fuel industry holdings included shares of Cabot Oil and Gas, Cheniere Energy, ConocoPhillips, Entergy, Hess, Kinder Morgan, Marathon Petroleum, One Gas, Pioneer Natural Resources, Sempra Energy, Southern Company, Targa Resources, Valero, Williams Companies, and more. Kerry held many of these stocks for years as they appear in his 2017 termination filing as Secretary of State, which also shows investments in additional oil and gas companies. 

Kerry sold his fossil fuel stocks on March 11, collecting as much as $825,000 from them. 

While financial disclosures of most high-level Biden administration officials are easy to access via the Office of Government Ethics’ website, Kerry’s disclosure was not easy to obtain. 

Sludge requested the document on April 2 and was told by a State Department employee that the request had an estimated completion date of March 2023. Fox News reported similar difficulty in obtaining the document and wrote that it was only released after the outlet informed the State Department that it was preparing a story on the agency’s refusal to release Kerry’s disclosure. Fox said that it received the document the same day that it informed the State Department of its story, and Axios was the first to report on the document the following day.

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