You probably know that John Kerry, the Massachusetts Senator and Secretary of State nominee, is quite rich. (Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney quite publicly mocked Kerry's wealth, back in 2004.) But lost in the vetting gap between Kerry's run for president and his looming confirmation hearings as Secretary of State is the complexity of his various investments, which are now posing a challenge to Obama administration officials who need to make sure that Kerry's holdings — in Asia, South America, Canada, and elsewhere — don't conflict with his future duties at Foggy Bottom. The Boston Globe says that the task is almost kind of futile:
Upon assuming office in early 2009, [Secretary of State Hillary Clinton] agreed to abdicate any role in her husband’s global foundation.
For Kerry, the list of possible conflicts is far lengthier. The Kerrys’ investments stretch from East Asia to Canada to Brazil, a global financial network that ethics lawyers must carefully map.
This rigorous vetting process could push Kerry's confirmation hearings into early February. That could be bad news for an already crowded cabinet debate in an already busy Senate, but it could be good news for Massachusetts Republicans, due to the timing of the special election Kerry's confirmation would occasion. The Boston Herald, a conservative tabloid, reports that Republicans are praying for a mid-summer election because the weather would discourage voters who would rather be sunbathing:
“The further it gets into the summer, the better it is for the Republican candidate,” said Republican consultant Rob Gray, who said former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown would benefit from a later election. “I think low turnout would help Scott Brown if he runs. Right around July 4 is about the same as right around Jan. 19 in 2010.”