Susan Rice as Possible Replacement for Hillary Clinton Hits Another Snag: Keystone XL Pipeline Interests

Rather than attack Susan Rice on the Benghazi consulate attack that left four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens dead, the Republicans may have found one line that will stick — the Keystone XL pipeline.

On Wednesday, a publication affiliated with the Natural Resources Defense Council dug into the ambassador to the United Nations’ financial disclosures, and discovered that she and her husband were heavily invested in several oil companies in western Canada including one, Transcanada, that currently has a project under review at the State Department.

As secretary of state, Rice would have to oversee the review of that project, the Keystone XL pipeline, which has dragged on for several controversial and tortured years.

It would be an obvious conflict of interest, and were she to be confirmed as secretary of state, Rice would almost certainly have to divest from her shares in Transcanada. The ties could give some senators pause over whether to confirm her for the post.

But Rice is not yet the nominee, and as ambassador to the U.N., her investments were not deemed a conflict of interest by ethics lawyers. (Earlier investments were found to be conflicts, and in 2008, as she was being considered for a post in the Obama administration, she divested from Boeing and GE.)

The last time I checked, Susan Rice hasn’t been nominated by President Obama yet. If she is, it is very simple — she will have to divest and that will remove the obstacle from her way that such an investment causes.