Possible Secretary of State Candidate Has Millions Invested in Banks, Energy Companies
By Michelle Martinelli
With controversy continuing to develop over U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, her personal finance records tell another interesting tale.
As President Barack Obama’s favored candidate to replace Hillary Clinton, Rice has a net worth of somewhere between $23.5 million and $43.5 million as of 2009, which made her the wealthiest member of the executive branch that year with an average net worth of $33.5 million, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics. Clinton was second on the list at an average $31.2 million.
Officials are required to report only ranges of the values of their assets on their personal financial disclosure forms, rather than a specific values.
Forty-four percent of Rice’s portfolio is in finance, insurance and real estate, while the next largest portion is 30 percent in energy and natural resources. Rice is also invested in the transportation (15 percent), health (5 percent), communications/electronics and miscellaneous business (3 percent each) sectors.
But Rice would likely have to divest parts of her portfolio, or put her assets in a blind trust, in order to avoid a number of potential conflicts of interest were she to be confirmed.
Some of the American and Canadian energy companies and banks that Rice holds stock in have had poor environmental track records as of late. As of 2009, Rice had between $50,000 and $100,000 in BP stock; the company was responsible for the largest marine oil spill in history in 2010 and recently was sanctioned by the EPA for its conduct. She also has as much as $1.5 million invested in Enbridge, which spilled more than a million gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan not long after the Gulf spill.
Rice has millions tied up in banks, including up to $6 million in TD Bank Financial, about $6.2 million in Royal Trust Corporation of Canada and up to $2 million in Royal Bank of Canada, which was named the nation’s most environmentally irresponsible company. According to the Rainforest Action Network, Royal Bank of Canada is the top financier for companies drilling in tar sands, one of the dirtiest forms of oil, in Alberta, Canada, and has earned more than $80 million from those loans.
On that topic, the future of the development of the Keystone XL pipeline — which would transport crude oil from Alberta to several cross-country destinations in the U.S. — hangs on approval from the Obama Administration and specifically the State Department. The multi-billion-dollar project is backed by TransCanada, a corporation in which Rice owns between $300,000 and $600,000 worth of stock, according to Center for Responsive Politics research.
Her investments include several other North American oil and gas companies as well, including between $1.4 million and $1.8 million in Encana Corporation, at least $1.25 million in Cenovus Energy and at least $600,000 in Imperial Oil. Rice also has no more than $1.5 million invested in TransAlta Corporation — a Canadian electric company that relies on wind and hydro power, natural gas and coal for energy.
If Rice doesn’t make it through the nomination process, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry‘s name has been in the mix for the job. As of 2010, his average net worth is $231.7 million, making him the wealthiest member of the Senate and fourth overall in Congress.
Image: Susan Rice via flickr user New America Foundation.