New U.S. ambassador’s vast wealth includes up to US$750K in Kinder Morgan stock
It includes two separate bank accounts each with over US$1 million on deposit, a mid-size corporate jet, and a large portfolio of energy and resource stocks.
The documents show that the Crafts have 104 investments each with a minimum value of at least US$15,000, and 74 with a value of at least US$50,000. 18 have a maximum value over US$1 million, and one of up to US$5 million. That investment is in Alliance Holdings, a major U.S. coal company. Craft’s husband, Joe Craft, is its president and CEO.
Knight Craft’s disclosures, which include her husband’s investments, include four separate investments in Houston, Tex.-based pipeline company Kinder Morgan. One is between US$250,000 and US$500,000 and the other is between US$100,000 and US$250,000. The other two are smaller. (See pages 6, 8, 10 and 11 of the embedded document below.)
WATCH: The fight over the controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline is far from over, as the BC NDP government applies for intervener status. Keith Baldrey reports.
U.S. officials filing financial disclosure forms can state a range of value for their investments, instead of stating a precise value. Because of the ranges, it’s hard to pin down the size of their personal wealth with any precision based on the disclosure alone.
The documents were released to Global News by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.
Global News asked the U.S. State Department to arrange an interview with Craft. They refused, explaining that nominated ambassadors aren’t allowed to talk to the media until they present their credentials to the host country.
Because of the way the report is structured, the Crafts’ assets can’t be broken out from each other, a U.S. federal ethics official who was only authorized to speak on background explained Wednesday.
The expansion would triple the capacity of the existing pipelines, which carry Alberta oil to the Pacific Coast.
British Columbia’s new NDP government has said it is determined to block the project. B.C. environment minister George Heyman said last week that the NDP is “committed to use every tool to defend B.C.’s coast [from] threat of tanker traffic.”
WATCH: B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman answers questions at a press conference Thursday about permits already issued to Kinder Morgan.
For its part, Kinder Morgan Canada has said it plans to start construction in September.
Global News asked the U.S. State Department how it planned to address the appearance of conflict of interest created by the Crafts’ Kinder Morgan stock, given that political decisions made in Canada about the pipeline could affect its value, and that as the ambassador from Canada’s largest trading partner Knight Craft might be in a position to affect decisions. The State Department referred questions to the White House, which did not respond.
Kinder Morgan Canada’s shares have been sensitive to political signals. In May, the company’s shares fell after the B.C. NDP and Greens announced a deal that would allow the NDP to form a government. They rose on July 25, after newly elected B.C. premier John Horgan and Justin Trudeau met in Ottawa, and Trudeau reaffirmed his support for the pipeline expansion.
Knight Craft will formally become ambassador when she presents her credentials to governor-general David Johnson at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. No date has been set for the ceremony, spokesperson Josephine Laframboise said on Tuesday. In theory, she could be rejected, but that is unlikely in this case.
Knight Craft faced a confirmation hearing in Washington on July 20 at the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senators put most of their questions to the other four nominees for ambassador posts. The U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination early in August.
Joe Craft initially supported Marco Rubio for the Republican presidential nomination. In mid-July of 2016, the Crafts hosted a fundraising reception for Trump in Lexington, Ky. after it became clear that he would be the nominee.
Between them, the Crafts donated over US$1.4 million to federal Republican candidates and funds in 2015 and 2016. On a single day, September 15, 2016, Knight Craft gave to 25 different GOP causes, including state-level committees from Kansas to Louisiana. The largest donation was a US$160,000 cheque to the Trump Victory Committee.
“I am a testament to the fact that if this young girl, who grew up 671 miles southwest from here, can be nominated by the President of the United States as the first woman to serve as Ambassador to Canada, anything is possible when you work hard,” Knight Craft told the confirmation hearing.