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Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

John Kerry disclosed millions in income and a massive stock portfolio that he's liquidated since taking office as President Biden’s special climate envoy, according to a financial filing obtained by Axios on Friday.

Why it matters: Kerry is among the wealthiest members of the Biden administration. He maintains significant influence over U.S. energy and environmental policy as Biden's climate envoy, a role that comes after he advised a number of firms in the space following his time as secretary of State.

  • The State Department, where Kerry officially works again, says he has divested assets that could pose a conflict of interest, and signed an ethics pledge barring him from participating in specific policymaking decisions that could affect his former clients and employers.

The big picture: Kerry received millions of dollars in salary, consulting fees and honoraria, according to the filing, which covers 2020 and most of January 2021.

  • He drew a $5 million salary from Bank of America. He was tapped as chairman of the bank's global advisory council months after his tenure as Barack Obama's second secretary of State.
  • He landed $382,400 in speaking fees from entities including Deutsche Bank, Waste Management and Cornell University.
  • Kerry also reported compensation "in excess of $5,000" for more than a dozen other speeches in 2019, including ones to Barclays, Zurich Insurance and the foundation run by Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk.

Kerry also reported receiving $125,000 in consulting fees from The Rise Fund, an investment firm with a significant renewable energy portfolio, just one of the entities in the energy and environment space to which he reported business ties.

  • Kerry was the advisory board chairman for Climate Finance Partners, which "creates innovative and globally needed finance solutions that address climate change."
  • He was also the president of the Vietnam Sustainable Energy Corporation.
  • In addition, Kerry reported receiving more than $5,000 in compensation as an advisor to the New York-based investment firm Ripplewood, which specializes in leveraged buyouts. The firm is run by his friend Tim Collins.

Kerry's huge stock portfolio was largely held through a trust affiliated with his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry, heiress to the Heinz food processing fortune.

  • He reported liquidating between $4.2 million and $15 million in stock holdings last month.
  • Federal ethics rules could permit Kerry to defer capital gains taxes on those sales by reinvesting the money in "permitted" assets such as treasury bonds or exchange-traded funds. It was not immediately clear whether Kerry had done so or planned to.

What they're saying: "The State Department's Ethics Office reviewed Special Presidential Envoy Kerry's assets and investments upon his appointment to identify holdings that could pose a significant risk of a conflict of interest," a State Department spokesperson told Axios.

  • "Special Presidential Envoy Kerry agreed to divest the assets identified by the Ethics Office and has done so."

Go deeper

34 mins ago - Health

Study: Over 99% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were not vaccinated

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday released a study showing that 99.75% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 between Jan. 1 and April 13 were not fully vaccinated, according to data provided to Axios.

Why it matters: Real-world evidence continues to show coronavirus vaccines are effective at keeping people from dying and out of hospitals. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been found to be 95% and 94% effective, respectively, at preventing symptomatic infections.

2 hours ago - Health

Biden reaches agreements with Uber and Lyft to give free rides to vaccine sites

A coronavirus vaccination site in Miami on May 10. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Biden administration has reached agreements with ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to offer free rides to coronavirus vaccination sites through July 4, the White House announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The free rides, starting in the next two weeks, are part of the Biden administration's push to administer at least one vaccine dose to 70% of U.S. adults by Independence Day.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Biden officials green-light nation's first big offshore wind project

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration today gave final approval to Vineyard Wind, a project off the Massachusetts coast slated to be the country's first large-scale offshore wind farm.

Why it matters: While the green light for the long-proposed project was expected, it marks a key step in White House plans to help spur development of a suite of coastal projects off New York, New Jersey and other states.

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