Grassley wants more information about John Kerry’s finances, potential conflicts of interest

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wants more details about John Kerry's personal finances and how the Biden climate envoy is avoiding conflicts between his official duties and private investments.The big picture: Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday seeking more information after Axios revealed new details about Kerry's lucrative work in finance and energy investing after he completed his tenure as secretary himself.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free"The operation of good government requires faithful adherence to ethical rules," Grassley wrote. "It’s unclear exactly what matters Mr. Kerry has been barred from working on and whether he has received any waivers for specific matters that he would otherwise be recused from."Between the lines: As Axios reported Friday, Kerry drew a $5 million salary from Bank of America last year and brought in hundreds of thousands more in speaking fees and consulting income.Some of his former clients do significant business in the energy and environmental space, over which Kerry is now poised to exert significant policy influence as special presidential envoy for climate.Kerry also has pressed major financial institutions to collaborate on efforts to address global climate change.According to a Politico report in March, that included entreaties to Brian Moynihan, Bank of America's CEO.The intrigue: The State Department told Axios last week Kerry has signed a Biden-imposed ethics pledge barring him from participating in specific official actions affecting his former clients and employers.He's also bound by federal ethics laws restricting that activity.Grassley wants to know precisely what Kerry is recused from doing, and whether any of those rules have been waived.The senator's letter also requests "all records, including memoranda, emails and other similar documents, relating to all evaluations of potential, apparent and/or actual conflicts of interest."The department declined to comment about the letter.More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free

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Top Republicans Suggest Liz Cheney Could Be Removed from Leadership Role

GOP leaders have suggested that Representative Liz Cheney (R., Wy.) could be ousted from her House leadership role within a month following her recent criticisms of the Republican party. Cheney, the third-ranking GOP lawmaker in the House and a vocal critic of former President Trump, told the New York Post last week that while she believes Republicans could take back the presidency in 2024, she thinks lawmakers who supported his effort to overturn the 2020 election results should be disqualified from running. “I do think that some of our candidates who led the charge, particularly the senators who led the unconstitutional charge, not to certify the election, you know, in my view that’s disqualifying,” said Cheney, the daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney. She also called a memo written by Representative Jim Banks (R., Ind.) about how the GOP could retain working-class voters “neo-Marxist.” Banks, the leader of the largest conservative caucus in the House, told Axios that Cheney’s comments are “an unwelcome distraction” from the effort to beat the Democrats in the 2022 midterms. “That’s what we got out of Liz Cheney, which doesn’t help us remain focused on that single goal,” he told the outlet. “Her lack of focus on that, while being focused on other things, and proving her point, was an unwelcome distraction.” “The sort of sideline distractions at the GOP retreat will only serve to hold us back from being focused on that nearly unanimous goal we have as a conference,” Banks added. When asked if he believes Cheney will hold onto her leadership role in a month, Banks said, “I don’t know.” “That’s up to her,” he said. “I think a lot of us would like to see her join the team, be on the same team, same mission, the same focus. And at this point, that’s what many of us are questioning.” Meanwhile, Representative Steve Scalise (R., La.), the No. 2 Republican in the House, told Axios of Cheney, “This idea that you just disregard President Trump is not where we are, and, frankly, he has a lot to offer still.” The Republicans’ comments came after House minority leader Kevin McCarthy similarly criticized Cheney earlier this week. “If you’re sitting here at a retreat that’s focused on policy, focused on the future of making American next-century, and you’re talking about something else, you’re not being productive,” McCarthy said. However, it remains to be seen if this latest round of criticism will stick to Cheney, who has drawn the ire of her Republican colleagues repeatedly since she voted in favor of Trump’s second impeachment. Despite GOP infighting, Cheney received overwhelming support in a secret ballot the House GOP conference conducted in February. The conference voted 145–61 to keep Cheney in her leadership role.

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Arlene Foster says politics is 'brutal' as she reveals no colleagues behind her ousting have contacted her

Arlene Foster has said politics "is a brutal" game as she revealed that none of the rebels who orchestrated her downfall as Northern Ireland’s First Minister had attempted to contact her since her resignation. Speaking publicly for the first time since her resignation, the DUP leader also confirmed that she would be stepping down as a Stormont assembly member in June. While brushing over questions about the plotters who forced her departure, she also appeared to take a thinly-veiled swipe at hardliners in the party, telling reporters she hoped her successor would continue to adopt the same unifying approach. It came amid reports that Mrs Foster is considering resigning her party membership, with sources close to her claiming that she no longer believes it represents the party she joined. However, The Telegraph has been told that Mrs Foster has not made a decision and is awaiting the outcome of the leadership contest to see whether a moderate or hardline successor is elected. On a visit to a primary school in County Down, Mrs Foster said of her decision to resign: "I think the time is right to move on and to do something different, and that's what I'll do. "Politics is a very brutal game. I think everybody knows that to be the case. "I haven't really had any engagement from any of the colleagues who felt that I should leave, so I suppose that's the disappointment - that I don't actually know what the reason is for it. "But, as I say, you know, that's politics, all political careers have to come to an end, mine will come to an end at the end of June."

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