Senator John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry agree to divest nearly 100 holdings to avoid conflicts of interest at State Department
WASHINGTON-- Senator John F. Kerry and his wife have agreed that should he become secretary of state they will divest nearly 100 separate investments in the United States and abroad -- ranging from oil companies to weapons makers and a Chinese food company -- in an effort to avoid conflicts of interest, according to a copy of his so-called ethics agreement.
“I am committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct for government officials,” Kerry wrote in the agreement with the State Department’s ethics office. “...I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter that has a direct and predictable effect on my financial interests or those of any person whose interests are imputed to me, unless I first obtain a written waiver.”
The divestitures of Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry, the heir to the Heinz ketchup fortune, include Cenovus Energy Inc., the Canadian company that would benefit from the proposed Keystone XL pipeline; Waltham-based Raytheon Co.; Exxon Mobil Corp.; drug maker Pfizer; communications giant Qualcomm Inc. and AT&T; American Express; Microsoft; a number of international private equity firms; and dozens of others.
The Massachusetts senator, who is expected to win speedy confirmation by the Senate, has also been advised to recuse himself from certain matters involving the H.J. Heinz Company because the Kerrys investments in company stock are greater than in other publicly traded firms.
Upon confirmation Kerry also agreed to resign from his position at the American Security Project, a think tank he help found in 2007, as well as the board of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.
Kerry is scheduled to go before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday for his confirmation hearing.Bender can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeBender