January 31, 2017

Udall Joins Senators in Calling on Secretary of State Nominee Rex Tillerson to Recuse Himself from All Matters Related to ExxonMobil

Issues such as climate change, Russian sanctions and role of oil in geopolitical matters raise questions about conflicts of interest, perception of impartiality by other nations

WASHINGTON - As the Senate prepares to take its first full vote on the nomination of former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today led a group of eight other senators in calling on Mr. Tillerson to recuse himself from participating in any matter that could impact ExxonMobil for the entirety of his tenure at the department. Mr. Tillerson's Ethics Agreement includes only a one-year recusal period that can be waived, and when questioned by senators at his confirmation hearing, Mr. Tillerson refused to provide any additional commitments to avoid conflicts of interest.

Other senators signing the letter include Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Oreg.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

"In light of your four decades of employment at the company, your personal involvement in securing lucrative deals in Russia, and your previous outspoken opposition to policies such as sanctions that would directly impact ExxonMobil, it is difficult for a reasonable person to conclude that you could be an objective participant in decisions that would affect the company's financial interests," write the Senators in the letter to Mr. Tillerson. "The national security of the United States requites a Secretary of State whose impartiality is unambiguous."

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.