Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2107, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Associated Press / Steve Helber

Using their numerical majority in the Senate, Republican lawmakers are expected to confirm Rex Tillerson, President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, but his decades of links to ExxonMobil and the company’s huge oil find off the Guyana coast are shining a light on possible conflict of interest issues at the State Department.

In the past week, officials in Georgetown, the Guyana capital, were forced to quickly refute a Huffington Post report that Exxon could have greater than usual leverage in helping the country write laws to govern its fledgling oil and gas sector because Tillerson was at the helm of Exxon when it found the oil and also because he could be one of the more powerful cabinet positions.

The Huffington Post raised the question of links between Guyana’s efforts to draft and pass legislation relating to its petroleum industry and a unit at the State Department dealing with assistance to countries with governance of the sector.

The newspaper alleged that the Energy Governance and Capacity Initiative (ECGI) is so involved and that Tillerson could unduly influence the process on behalf of a company

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