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Big Oil and Auto Industries Take the Wheel

By Rick Claypool

“Not in our wildest dreams, never did we expect to get everything,” a seemingly giddy Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance, an oil and gas industry group, told the New York Times in early 2017.

Sgamma’s apparent incredulity at the Environmental Protection Agency’s pro-polluter posture in the Trump administration’s early days highlights how corporate interests “get everything” under President Trump. While this stance may have been a surprise a year ago, it is now par for the course in Donald Trump’s Washington. The corporate insiders with whom Trump has staffed his administration are doing the industry’s bidding from within.

Read Public Citizen’s new report, “Corporate Oil and Auto Insiders Fuel Trump Policies.” 

A Public Citizen review found 77 high-ranking positions have been filled with industry lobbyists, lawyers, former employees and others with oil and/or auto industry conflicts — 52 with oil and gas ties, 15 with auto ties and ten with ties to both. (For the list of the Trump administration’s auto and oil industry insiders, see the table below.)  The actual total is undoubtedly higher. The list includes staffers who are currently serving in the administration (59) as well as those who are awaiting Senate confirmation (9) and those who have departed from the administration (9).

These industries also have poured money into influencing elections — both spent more than ever before during the 2016 elections. The auto industry contributed nearly $40 million toward electing or defeating candidates in the 2016 elections, and the oil and gas industry spent more than $100 million.

After Trump was elected, the oil and gas industry contributed nearly $7 million toward Trump’s inauguration, while General Motors and Ford Motor Company each respectively gave nearly $500,000 and $250,000.

The Trump administration refuses to release official White House visitor logs. But Politico’s unofficial record of presidential meetings (supplemented with more recent White House press information) reveals that Trump has held in-person meetings with eight Big Oil executives and representatives and 28 auto industry executives and representatives. (For the full list, download the report.)

Meetings between corporate CEOs and the White House are just the tip of the lobbying iceberg. In 2017, the auto industry spent $70 million on lobbying in Washington. The oil and gas industry spent $126 million.

Servants of industry may keep faking surprise when the corporations they represent receive policy favors. For all of Trump’s talk of “draining the swamp” and embodying the “voice” of the “forgotten men and women,” there should be no surprise when this corporate president continues to serve his core constituency: the corporate class.

For more about the influence of corporate polluters on the administration, see other recent reports from Public Citizen’s Corporate Presidency Project: “The Koch Government,” “Big Law, Big Conflicts,” and “This Trump Official Now Regulates Oil and Gas Companies Who Showered Him With Campaign Contributions.”

NameAdministration TitleAdministration/AgencyConflictsIndustry
Dana BaioccoCommissionerConsumer Product Safety CommissionProvided legal services to VolkswagenAuto
Dana WhiteSpecial AssistantDefenseWorked in communications with Nissan North American INCAuto
Sally DonnellySenior Advisor to the Secretary of DefenseDefenseConsulting for General MotorsAuto
David HarlowSenior Counsel to the Assistant Administrator for Air and RadiationEnvironmental Protection AgencyProvide legal advice and services to Chevron.Auto
Matthew Z. LeopoldGeneral CounselEnvironmental Protection AgencyProvided legal services to Ford Motor Company.Auto
Timothy James PettySenior CounselHousing and Urban DevelopmentPerformed legal services for Daimler AG while a client of Gibbons P.C.Auto
William J. EmanuelBoard MemberLabor (National Labor Relations Board)Provided legal services for Nissan North AmericaAuto
Kristan King NevinsDeputy Assistant to the President, Chief of Staff to Karen PenceOffice of the Vice PresidentProvided general advising on national security topics (client of SBD Advisors) to General Motors.Auto
Jay ClaytonChairmanSecurities and Exchange CommissionProvided legal services to Volkswagen while at Sullivan & Cromwell LLPAuto
David Christian TryonChief Counsel for AdvocacySmall Business AdministrationProvited litigation services for Ohio Auto Loan Services, LLCAuto
Marianne McInerneyAssistant to the Secretary and Director of Public AffairsTransportationWas president of American International Automobile Dealers (a trade group representing car dealers) and former executive at hybrid and electric car companies.Auto
Jeffrey GerrishDeputy U.S. Trade RepresentativeU.S. Trade RepresentativeProvided legal services to Daimler AG.Auto
Emma DoyleSenior AdvisorWhite House Office of Management and BudgetLobbied for Ford Motor Company from 2014 to 2016Auto
Jim CarrollDeputy DirectorWhite House Office of National Drug Control PolicyWashington counsel/attorney for Ford Motor Company, for more than 10 years. Also an official in the GW Bush administration.Auto
Jeff RosenDeputy SecretaryTransportationRepresented General Motors, Hyundai and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce though work at firm Kirkland & Ellis.Auto
David FotouhiDeputy General CounselEnvironmental Protection AgencyProvided legal Services to Daimler AG and Tesoro Corporation (now Andreavor, a petroleum company).Both
Patrick TraylorDeputy Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance AssuranceEnvironmental Protection AgencyProvided legal services to American Petroleum Institute, Koch Minerals and Daimler Trucks North AmericaBoth
Brian Allen BenczkowskiAssistant Attorney General for the Criminal DivisionJusticeAs a partner with Kirkland & Ellis, provided legal services to BP and Volkswagen.Both
Jeffrey Bossert ClarkAssistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources DivisionJusticeAt Kirkland & Ellis LLP, provided legal services to BP America, Volkswagen Group of America, General Motors and Mitsubishi MotorsBoth
David Richard DoreyCounselLaborAs counsel with O'Melveny & Myers LLP, provided legal services to Exxon-Mobil and Ford Motor CompanyBoth
Jon Huntsman Jr.Ambassador, RussiaStateServe as a board member for Chevron and Ford Motor CompanyBoth
Brent James McIntoshGeneral CounselTreasuryAs a lawer for Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, provided legal services to BP and VolkswagenBoth
Heath P. TarbertAssistant Secretary for International Markets and DevelopmentTreasuryProvided legal services to ExxonMobil Iraq Services and General MotorsBoth
John EisenbergDeputy Assistant to the President, NSC Legal Advisor, and Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs, National Security CouncilWhite HouseAt Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, provided legal services to BP America and General MotorsBoth
Lance LeggittDeputy Assistant to the President for Domestic PolicyWhite HouseAs a lobbyist, represented BP America and General Motors, as well as other corporations including Abbott Laboratories, Boeing, and Honeywell.Both
Randall G. SchriverAssistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security AffairsDefenseProvided consulting services for AI to Mitsubishi CorporationOil & Gas
Evelyn Joan StaufferConfidential Assistant, Office of Communications and OutreachEducationWas public policy coordinator for Koch IndustriesOil & Gas
Alexander Nicholas FitzsimmonsSenior Advisor, Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy ReliabilityEnergyDirector of Communications for Fueling U.S. Forward and director of policy for Institute for Energy Research, both Koch-funded groups.Oil & Gas
Daniel SimmonsAssistant to the Secretary, Office of the SecretaryEnergyWas VP for Policy at the Koch-funded Institute for Energy ResearchOil & Gas
Paul DabbarUnder Secretary for ScienceEnergyProvided advice to TransCanada Corp on purchasing or selling companiesOil & Gas
Rick PerrySecretary of EnergyEnergyWas a board member for Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics PartnersOil & Gas
Travis Scott FisherAssistant to the Secretary, Office Of The SecretaryEnergyEconomist for Institute for Energy Research, an oil & gas industry-backed groupOil & Gas
George FibbeDeputy General Counsel for Litigation, Regulation & EnforcementEnergyWas litigation team manager for BHP Billiton, an oil and gas company.Oil & Gas
Linda CapuanoAdministrator of the Energy Information AdministrationEnergyFormer officer and vice president at Marathon Oil Corp., among other corporate executive and energy industry positions. Oil & Gas
Erik BaptistSenior Deputy General CounselEnvironmental Protection AgencyProvided legal counsel to American Petroleum InstituteOil & Gas
Madeline MorrisExecutive Scheduler for the Office of the AdministratorEnvironmental Protection AgencyWas federal affairs specialist for Koch Companies Public SectorOil & Gas
Marcella BurkeDeputy General CounselEnvironmental Protection AgencyProvided legal services to Diamondback Energy, Noble Energy and Sandridge Energy.Oil & Gas
Scott PruittAdministratorEnvironmental Protection AgencyAs Oklahoma Attorney General, coordinated with oil and gas industry on efforts to roll back environmental protections.Oil & Gas
Troy LyonsAssociate Administrator for Congressional and Intergovernmental RelationsEnvironmental Protection AgencyFormer director of communications and external affairs for BP America and manager of government affairs and HessPAC for Hess Corporation. Lobbied for BP 2012-2015 and Hess 2015-2017.Oil & Gas
William L. WehrumAssistant Administrator for Air and RadiationEnvironmental Protection AgencyProvided legal services for Koch Industries, American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel and Petrochemical ManufacturersOil & Gas
Dennis Lee ForsgrenDeputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of WaterEnvironmental Protection AgencyWas legal and policy advisor for HBW Resources, which staffed an advocacy group working on behalf of the Dakota Access Pipeline and offshore drilling projectsOil & Gas
Samantha DravisAssociate Administrator, EPA's Office of PolicyEnvironmental Protection AgencyWas president and provided legal services for Rule of Law Defense Fund, a group partly funded by the Koch brothers that coordinated efforts by energy companies and Republican attorneys general to challenge Obama-era environmental rules. Also was counsel to Freedom Partners.Oil & Gas
Kevin J. McIntyreMemberFederal Energy Regulatory CommissionProvided legal services to EDF Energy Services LLC and Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA, Inc.Oil & Gas
Richard William BecklerGeneral CounselGeneral Services AdministrationProvided legal services to Conoco Philips and HalliburtonOil & Gas
Lowell Jacob SchillerSenior Counselor to the CommissionerHealth and Human ServicesProvided legal services to American Petrolem Institute as a client of Sidley Austin, LLPOil & Gas
Matthew LloydSpecial AssistantHealth and Human ServicesWas Koch Industries communications director - planned, executed and advised corporate executives and counsel on communications strategy.Oil & Gas
James ReillyDirector of the U.S. Geological SurveyInteriorA former astronaut who previously was an oil and gas exploration geologist with Enserch ExplorationOil & Gas
Daniel FisherMiscellaneous Clerk and AssistantInteriorLobbied for American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association, Associated Equipment Distributors, and Aeronautical Repair station Association on Taxes, aviation regulation, labor, and energy (Keystone pipeline) from 2009-2017.Oil & Gas
David L. BernhardtDeputy Secretary of the InteriorInteriorProvided legal Services to Independent Petroleum Association of America, Noble Energy Company LLC and Statoil Gulf Services LLC (oil companies)Oil & Gas
Doug DomenechAssistant Secretary of the Interior Insular Areas, Department of the InteriorInteriorWas director of Fueling Freedom Project, Texas Public Policy FoundationOil & Gas
Richard GoekenDeputy solicitor for parks and wildlifeInteriorRepresented industry coalition defending tree removal, oil and gas firms, holders of water rights on public landsOil & Gas
Scott Anthony AngelleDirector, Bureau of Safety and Environmental EnforcementInteriorPerformed board member services for and received dividents from SunocoOil & Gas
Todd WynnDirector of Intergovernmental and External AffairsInteriorFormer head of energy, environment at American Legislative Exchange CouncilOil & Gas
Preston BeardAdvisor, Bureau of Safety and Environmental EnforcementInteriorWas assistant to the president and PAC manager for Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association.Oil & Gas
Leila GettoDeputy Director of Scheduling and AdvanceInteriorWorked for the Chamber's Global Energy Institute, which advocates for increased oil, natural gas, and coal production and consumptionOil & Gas
Megan BloomgrenCommunications DirectorInteriorWas director fo the Institute for 21st Century Energy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which advocates for offshore oil and gas drilling. Was a partner at DCI Group, whose clients include Exxon Mobil and Peabody Energy, and which has promoted climate change skepticism Oil & Gas
Eric S. DreibandAssistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights DivisionJusticeAs a lawyer with Jones Day, provided legal services to CitgoOil & Gas
Chad Robert MizelleCounselJusticeProvided legal counsel to Koch IndustriesOil & Gas
Christopher A. WrayDirector, Federal Bureau of InvestigationJusticeProvided legal services to Chevron Corp.Oil & Gas
Matthew SheehanCounselJusticeProvided legal services to ExxonMobil.Oil & Gas
Scott StewartCounselJusticePerformed legal services for BPOil & Gas
Stephen John CoxDeputy Associate Attorney GeneralJusticeWas corporate counsel for Apache Corporation, an oil and gas companyOil & Gas
Kate Siobhan O'ScannlainSolicitorLaborWas legal counsel for Extraction Oil & Gas, LLCOil & Gas
Paul J. RayCounselor to the SecretaryLaborProvided legal service to American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, ExxonMobil and Consumer Energy Alliance (an oil & gas industry group)Oil & Gas
Francis FannonAssistant Secretary for Energy ResourcesStateLobbyist for Murphy Oil from 2007-2012 and BHP Billiton, an oil & gas company, from 2014-2017. Oil & Gas
Irwin Steven GoldsteinUnder Secretary for Public DiplomacyStateProvide communications and management consulting services to BP Global SolutionsOil & Gas
Pamela D. PryorSpecial Advisor to Transition, Office Of The SecretaryStateRepresented Fueling US forward at a conference in FL. Provided emcee and attendance.Oil & Gas
Peter HoekstraAmbassador, NetherlandsStateConsulting and lobbying for Core Energy through Hoekstra Global Strategies.Oil & Gas
Rex W. TillersonSecretary of StateStateChairman, Chief Executive Officer for ExxonMobil CorporationOil & Gas
Kathleen Troia \K. T.\" McFarland"Ambassador, Singapore and Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security AdvisorWhite House / State (failed nomination)Received honoraria from American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and Independent Oil & Gas Association of West VirginiaOil & Gas
Andrew Kerwin MaloneyAssistant Secretary (Deputy Under Secretary) for Legislative AffairsTreasuryVice President of Hess CorporationOil & Gas
David MalpassUnder Secretary for International AffairsTreasuryProvided global macro research for BP America Pension FundOil & Gas
Marshall BillingsleaAssistant Secretary for Terrorist FinancingTreasuryChevron pays Deloitte for Consulting Services that I, and teams under my supervision, provide.Oil & Gas
Justin ClarkDeputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental AffairsWhite HouseAt Davis, Clark & Bonafonte , provided legal services to Total Petrochemnicals & Refining USA, Inc.Oil & Gas
Kellyanne ConwayCounselor to the PresidentWhite HousePaid speech for Indiana Energy Association.Oil & Gas
Gregory KatsasDeputy Counsel to the PresidentWhite HouseProvided legal services to Chevron Corp.Oil & Gas
Michael J. CatanzaroSpecial Assistant to the President for Domestic Energy and Environmental Policy, National Economic CouncilWhite HouseConsulting/Lobbying for Koch Industries, Devon and Noble Energy.Oil & Gas

Data Sources: ProPublica and Center for American Progress.