Kerry to divest oil holdings if he's confirmed for State

“I am committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct for government officials,” Kerry wrote in the letter to Richard Visek, State’s deputy legal adviser and designated ethics official.

The letter notes that Kerry “will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter that has a direct and predictable effect on my financial interests or those of any person whose interests are imputed to me,” unless he first obtains a written waiver or qualifies for a “regulatory exemption.”

Kerry will appear Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is vetting his nomination to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The State Department is leading the federal review of whether to approve TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring oil from Alberta’s oil sands projects, and oil fields in the Bakken formation in the U.S., to Gulf Coast refineries.