Bloomberg: Energy Nominees’ Industry Ties May Pose Conflict: Watchdog Groups


Financial disclosure forms for two Energy Department undersecretary nominees show income from energy companies, including Southern Co. and TransCanada Corp., raising concerns from government watchdog groups of potential conflicts of interest.


Government watchdog groups are concerned nonetheless with the potential for the nominees to be influenced by their past energy industry ties once they are confirmed.

“The financial or personal ties that a lobbyist or investor develops in the course of their previous employment may affect their ability to be impartial when making decisions as a representative of the public in the federal government,” Brendan Fischer, director of federal and Federal Election Commission reform at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit organization focused on election law, told Bloomberg BNA.


The Campaign Legal Center’s Fischer said his main concern is when representatives from the energy industry are taking on government posts “it suggests that the regulated are becoming the regulators.” A concern is “that there will be an incentive to go on easier on their former friends and colleagues,” he said.

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