At this point, Barack Obama hasnít even nominated a Secretary of State replacement for Hillary Clinton, yet Susan Rice has already faced a load of criticism as the Presidentís presumed selection. Although the initial denunciations came largely from Republicans, progressives are now vocally opposing the potential appointment as well.
Is it because Rice was involved in some massive Benghazi cover-up? No. Although she initially stated that the attack did not appear to be premeditated, David Petraeus said she was going off of the intelligence provided to her.
Is it because, as Senator Kelly Ayotte claims, Rice did in fact have some knowledge of Al-Qaeda involvement in the Benghazi attack? No. That part of her briefing was evidently classified, so she was not at liberty to share it publicly at the time.
Is it because John McCain has made it his personal mission to block a Rice appointment? No, even many of McCainís Republican colleagues say that they have not yet formed opinions on Riceís aptness for the job.
The criticism emerging from liberals is that Rice has many reasons to see the Keystone XL Pipeline get approved. Millions, in fact. As the Natural Resources Defense Council uncovered, Rice has millions of her personal assets invested in Canadian banks and oil companies that stand to benefit greatly from the proposed Keystone Pipeline.
Obviously, that would be a horrible conflict of interest if Susan Rice had any sway on the decision. Oh, whatís that, Mother Jones? ďAs head of the State Department, Rice would have ultimate authority in determining the fate of the pipeline.Ē Great.
Rice, whose net worth is speculated to lie somewhere between $20 and $40 million, has approximately one-third of her money tied up in these Canadian oil businesses. On top of that, she has an additional approximately $500,000 directly invested in TransCanada, the company that stands to make lofty profits for constructing the pipeline.
The news is not something to be taken lightly. Environmental activists firmly oppose the construction of the pipeline for a host of reasons. Check out a few of the Care2 stories written about Keystone over the past year:
- 5 Reasons Keystone XL Pipeline Is a Bad Idea
- Keystone XL, the Bad Boyfriend We Canít Shake
- Half of Canadians Oppose Keystone XL Pipeline
- TransCanada Admits It Lied about Keystone XL Jobs
- Oil Spills Expected If Keystone XL Pipeline Is Approved
- Keystone Pipeline Will Increase Gas Prices
Despite being a hotly contested topic, the Obama administration did not have to make a call on the Keystone Pipeline this past year while a potential re-routing issue was investigated. However, it is likely that the new Secretary of State would need to make a definitive decision on the pipeline in the upcoming months.
This isnít some Benghazi B.S.; it is a major conflict of interest that could result in an ecological disaster. Just because former Vice President Dick Cheney got away with similar nonsense by having his cronies at Halliburton make billions by perpetuating war doesnít make the Rice situation any more appropriate. Forget partisanship, potential corruption should be addressed and avoided on all sides. For that reason, having a Secretary of State who has a financial incentive to play fast and loose with the environment is not a good decision for this country.
Photo Credit: US Department of Labor