How Amazingly Convenient: Lefties 'Discover' That Susan Rice Has 'Conflict of Interest' Energy Investments

In what would appear to be a sure sign that the Obama administration's leftist allies, perhaps with the President's go-ahead, are preparing to throw current U.N. ambassador Susan Rice under the bus, Alex Guillen at the Politico reported at 6:14 p.m. on information that has from all appearances been public for at least three months, but which the National Resources Defense Council's On Earth blog noted about an hour earlier.

Rice's offenses? She "holds significant investments in more than a dozen Canadian oil companies and banks that would stand to benefit from expansion of the North American tar sands industry and construction of the proposed $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline." That's indeed troubling, but it was just as troubling when leftists up to and including the editorialists at the Washington Post were accusing anyone objecting to Rice's potential nomination of being presumptively racist. Excerpts from Guillen's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):


... According to her most recent personal finance report, covering 2011 and filed in May 2012, Rice and her husband own between $300,002 and $600,000 in TransCanada stock. Those holdings brought them as much as $20,000 in income in 2011. Federal officials are required to disclose the range of an investment rather than the exact amount.

Rice’s husband was born in Canada.

TransCanada isn’t the only Canadian energy company in Rice’s portfolio. She also has investments in pipeline firm Enbridge, utility TransAlta and oil and natural gas companies Encana, Suncor and Cenovus.

About a third of Rice’s personal wealth — an amount as high as $43.5 million — is invested in Canadian energy interests, according to On Earth.

Rice has other holdings in Chesapeake Energy, Royal Dutch Shell, Devon Energy, Iberdrola, ATP Oil & Gas Corp. and Rio Tinto Limited.

... According to the Office of Government Ethics, federal officials holding significant amounts of stock conflicting with their duties must sell the stock, recuse themselves from the decision or set up a qualified trust.

Well, if she sold the conflicting investments and threw her assets into a blind trust, that would solve the problem, right? Wrong -- or so claim the enviro-zealots:

“It’s really amazing that they’re considering someone for secretary of State who has millions invested in these companies,” Bill McKibben told On Earth.

“[Keystone XL] would be one of the first decisions she would make, and she’s not qualified to make an unbiased decision,” said Jane Kleeb, executive director of the anti-pipeline group Bold Nebraska.

As stated earlier, this is way too convenient. The information which forms the basis for the story is at least three months old; the personal financial disclosure form involved (PDF) had its final sign-off on August 17. Rice's nomination has been a known Obama administration agenda item for almost three weeks. And now it "just so happens" that an enviro blog discovers this supposedly damning information right after four different Republican Senators, including flaming moderate Susan Collins of Maine, have expressed grave reservations after private discussions with her, and the Politico's Guillen is right there just an hour later. Can you say "coordinated attack"?

One more thing: As anyone who has followed sports would know, the surest sign that a coach or manager is in serious trouble is when the owner or general manager issues a "vote of confidence." Obama did that earlier this afternoon ("OBAMA CALLS EMBATTLED AMBASSADOR 'EXTRAORDINARY'").

A Rice withdrawal from consideration now based on the "new" information which is really old also has the added "benefit" of occurring without anyone being able to credit Republicans for having stopped her potential nomination.

Susan Rice's potential nomination to be Secretary of State would appear to be on life support at best.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.