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Is Susan Rice's Oil Background a Conflict for Secretary of State Job?

Forget Benghazi. Susan Rice's financial ties to the Keystone XL pipeline may make it very difficult to become the nation's next secretary of state, speculates Mother Jones.

Becuase of this poteential conflict of interest, the secretary of state nomination is becoming less of a possibility for President Obama’s favorite candidate. Rice, who was formerly the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and has been the target of vocal GOP criticism since the attack in Benghazi—warranted or not—may also have significant financial investments in Canadian oil companies that support the controversial $7 billion Keystone XL Pipeline.

According to OnEarth, an environmental advocacy magazine, Rice may have nearly a third of her personal wealth—estimated between $23-$43 million—tied up in Canadian oil producers and pipeline operators, as well as energy companies known to have poor environmental protection records.

The outlet also says Rice has between $300,000 and $600,000 invested in TransCanada, the company that has requested a permit from the State Department to build sections of the pipeline in some Midwestern states.

The Keystone XL Pipeline will link Texas Gulf Coast refineries to northern Alberta’s remote oil sands fields and would be a lucrative operation for both American and Canadian oil businesses. The permit to build the pipeline was delayed in 2011 by the State Department in order survey alternate routes around an ecologically sensitive area in Nebraska.

The project is slated to be one of the first projects for the new 2013 Secretary of State to tackle, which is looking like less of a possibility for Rice.

Three Republican critics, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) have been especially vociferous about their opposition of Rice for the position, arguing that her explanations of the September attacks in Benghazi, Libya demonstrated a lack of ability for this position of leadership.

Rice and acting CIA director Michael Morell, another Secretary of State candidate, met with the three senators Tuesday in an attempt to apologize, but only created more opposition.


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