Judicial Watch: Records Show Climate Envoy John Kerry’s Office Employs 45 People
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that a Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit forced the release of an organizational chart from the U.S. State Department Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, which shows that the office employs at least 45 people.
Judicial Watch uncovered the record thanks to a FOIA lawsuit filed in September 2022, against the State Department for records related to travel costs, calendars, and organizational charts for the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:22-cv-02844)). The Biden agency is releasing responsive records in batches to Judicial Watch every six weeks.
The organizational chart is titled “Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Big Picture Org Chart” and dated April 15, 2021. These positions include:
- eight full-time employees (FTEs) positions;
- 28 “3161s,” which are temporary direct-hires that are commonly referred to as “3161” after the governing federal law, 5 U.S. Code § 3161
- three “detailees;”
- two “fellows;”
- one Intergovernmental Personnel Act “IPA” position and
- three “contractor” positions.
The chart shows Kerry and his personal staff assistant at the top of the organization, with three separate divisions reporting to him, including a chief of staff, principal deputy envoy for climate, and a deputy envoy for climate. Additional offices reporting to the three divisions include: public affairs, communications, and stakeholder engagement; liaison to the National Climate Task Force; implementation and ambition team; negotiations team; global innovation and competitiveness team; public finance team; and private finance and multinational corporate strategy team.
On April 25, 2023, the Boston Herald reported, “House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) is threatening his subpoena power to see exactly what Kerry, the special envoy for climate, is up to.” In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chairman Comer requested details of Kerry’s Climate Office budget, a list of employees, communications with third parties and travel records. Kerry told theHerald that he does not plan to share a list of his office’s staff until October of 2024.
RealClearInvestigations reported on May 3, 2023, that in response to its FOIA request filed last year for a breakdown on how Kerry’s office spent its approximate $16.5 million 2022 budget, the State Department said it could not comply with the request until April 2025.
“It is incredible that it took a Judicial Watch federal lawsuit to find out that Kerry’s bloated climate office astonishingly employs at least 45 people and that we still have no idea what Kerry or his staff actually do under law,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The on-going stonewalling about what Kerry does shows the Biden administration’s contempt for transparency, accountability and the basic right of the American people to know how their tax dollars are spent.”