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Biden climate czar John Kerry's top deputies discussed keeping discussions 'off paper'

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry's top deputies discussed keeping 2023 budget items "off paper," according to emails obtained by Fox News Digital.

Multiple top officials within Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) John Kerry's office engaged in a discussion about keeping certain budgetary items "off paper," according to recently-released documents.

During a March 2022 email exchange — involving Deputy Climate Envoys Sue Biniaz and Rick Duke, former SPEC senior director for climate finance Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, senior adviser Jesse Young and nine other SPEC officials whose names were redacted — aides discussed how they would brief Kerry on the office's proposed budget for fiscal year 2023. 

The emails, obtained via records request by watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT) and shared with Fox News Digital, shed additional light on the internal deliberations in Kerry's climate office. The SPEC office, which is housed in the State Department, has been notably tight-lipped about its operations and doesn't publicly disclose its members. 

"I would also suggest a call or meeting soon with jk to update him on FY22 and 23, focusing on all the elements we can’t put on paper," Martinez-Diaz told the other officials in a March 9, 2022, email.

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An unnamed official then responded they'd "love to do that" and noted Kerry would be available for a "more in-depth" conversation at some point over the next two days.

"Worst comes to worst, I'll likely have at least a few minutes with JK before he arrives on-site tomorrow at the conference," Young responded. "Can verbally brief him."

The subject line of the email exchange was titled "updated memo for JK on FY23 budget settlement."

While the email exchange about the SPEC office's proposed budget was previously reported in part by Fox News Digital, the names of the officials involved were previously redacted. PPT sued the State Department last year, asking a federal court to require the agency to release the emails and other documents.

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"This statement epitomizes the SPEC office’s lack of transparency, even to the point of appearing to actively skirt federal records obligations," PPT Director Michael Chamberlain told Fox News Digital. "If the work of this office is as vital to the future of the United States and the world as John Kerry and others claim, they owe it to the American public to be honest, forthright, and open about what they are doing and who is doing it." 

"While Mr. Kerry and his staff in this powerful office meet with representatives of foreign governments and wealthy, influential activist organizations, they seem to be more than content to keep the American public in the dark," Chamberlain said.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, a State Department spokesperson declined to comment on the details that officials opted to keep "off paper" and noted that it remains involved in active litigation related to PPT's record request for the emails.

"While this specific FOIA request remains in litigation, we note that the President’s final budget request for FY 23 was fully published in its entirety," the spokesperson said.

Shortly after President Biden announced the creation of the SPEC office and the appointment of Kerry, the State Department first requested an annual budget of $11.5 million for the office. That number has climbed to at least $13.9 million and the office has gained approval for 45 personnel, most of whom are unknown.

And since taking on the role, Kerry has traveled across the world to take part in high-stakes climate negotiations with foreign counterparts. He has led multiple U.S. delegations to United Nations climate conferences and private events like the World Economic Forum.

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