President Joe Biden’s candidate for the second-most senior Home Office job has a list of potential conflicts of interest that rivals that of Trump administration Home Secretary David Bernhardt, whose links with the industry and its revolving door experience have earned it labels like the “DC Swamp Ultimate Creature. “
Bernhardt, a former fossil fuel lobbyist, first served as Deputy Secretary and took over in 2019 when Donald Trump’s First Home Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned. The number of issues he had to recuse himself from due to his past work was so large that he carried around a map listing former customers.
Tommy Beaudreau, Biden’s choice for Assistant Home Secretary, may very well need to do the same.
In a recent financial disclosure report, Beaudreau said he has worked for 35 clients over the past four years as a lawyer and partner at the Los Angeles-based law firm Latham & Watkins. They include many companies with potential business before the Home Office, from fossil fuel drilling and pipeline companies to offshore wind developers.
Beaudreau’s list eclipses the 17 clients named by Bernhardt in his 2017 financial disclosure. Beaudreau also earned twice as much in the past year as Bernhardt the year before joining Trump’s Home Office. He grossed $ 2.4 million from January 1, 2020 through March 17, 2021, compared to Bernhardt’s. $ 1.1 million in 2016.
“For me, that’s pretty disqualifying,” said Brett Hartl, director of government affairs at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s a tremendous amount of conflict, and frankly he has biases that I think are going to be hard to reconcile.”
The White House did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. The Home Office declined to comment.
Beaudreau, an Home Office official in the Obama administration, became Biden’s candidate for MP after the White House moved away from his original choice, Elizabeth Klein.
Klein, another former Obama administration official, has drawn opposition from the senses. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who were concerned about his views on fossil fuels, reported The Washington Post. As deputy director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at the New York University School of Law, Klein has been involved in numerous prosecutions by attorneys general against Trump’s environmental rules and backtracking.
Under President Barack Obama, Beaudreau served as the first director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and later chief of staff to then Home Secretary Sally Jewell. At the end of Obama’s second term, Beaudreau walked through Washington’s revolving door and developed many ties with industry.
His clients in recent years have included coal mining company Arch Resources Inc., multinational mining and oil company BHP, Dominion Energy Inc., fossil fuel giant Total SE, as well as offshore drillers and pipeline developers. He has also provided legal services to a number of renewable energy companies, including Vineyard Wind and Avangrid Renewables, and two development projects linked to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Beaudreau has received mixed reviews from environmental and progressive groups. Jennifer Rokala, executive director of the Colorado-based Center for Western Priorities, called him “extremely qualified” and said his “expertise will be essential in advancing the Biden administration’s vision for the conservation of the natural heritage of our country and face the climate crisis. “
But before his confirmation hearing on Thursday, more than two dozen organizations, including the Center for Biological Diversity, 350.org and the Revolving Door Project, have signed a letter calling on members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to vote against his appointment. They wrote that Beaudreau is “Too comfortable with the industry which is most responsible for the escalation of the climate crisis, and would likely undermine the president’s stated goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 . “
Jeff Hauser, director of the revolving door project at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, told HuffPost that Beaudreau’s appointment is “a huge victory for companies that profit from public lands.”
“The fact that he worked for a Democrat and is willing to work for these energy companies and these energy investors is what makes him a unicorn,” Hauser said. “There just aren’t many willing to do this revolving door work on fossil fuels.”
Latham & Watkins received an F grade at Yale Law School’s 2020 Scorecard analyze the role of the main law firms in the management of climate change. The firm was the only firm to rank in the top 5 worst law firms for transactional work and litigation for fossil fuel interests.
Unlike Home Secretary Deb Haaland, whom Republicans attacked as an “extreme”, “radical” threat to America’s fossil fuel economy, Beaudreau went through his confirmation hearing Thursday. Republican lawmakers adopted a much friendlier tone with Beaudreau than with Haaland when he was confirmed earlier this year. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), The rank-and-file Republican of the committee, told Beaudreau he hoped to “serve as a spokesperson for reason in an administration waging an economic war” against fuel-producing states. fossils.
“You know from personal experience the critical importance of energy production to the livelihoods of Americans across the United States,” Barrasso said during the hearing, noting that Beaudreau’s father worked in the field. oil from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. “Your appreciation for the benefits that power generation on public lands offers millions of Americans is very good news.”
Beaudreau told lawmakers it was essential for the United States to maintain both energy security and contain greenhouse gas emissions that warm the planet.
“Secretary Haaland has inspired millions of Americans with her historic vision for the department,” he said. “And I will be deeply invested in supporting her in realizing that vision – promoting equity and addressing injustice, putting the land, water and people of the United States to work to fight major crises.” climate and conservation issues we face today, and secure the country’s public lands and wildlife. are kept for future generations. ”
Senator Angus King (I-Maine) was the only committee member to question Beaudreau about his ties to the industry and potential conflicts. Beaudreau said he had already started working with Home Office career ethics staff and would comply with all ethical obligations if upheld. He signed a ethics agreement agree to recuse themselves from matters involving former clients for two years, as required by law.
Beaudreau also defended its environmental record.
“I accept the scrutiny and criticism that comes with performing these roles,” he said. “I admit I’m a little baffled by some of the criticisms, given what I believe to be a very good conservation record under the Obama administration.
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