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Who are these people? Part 2 - Energy Beachhead Hires

Part 2 — A look at Donald Trump’s Department of Energy “Beachhead” Hires [Read Part 1]

Last week, we introduced you to Donald Trump’s “beachhead hires” at EPA – executive branch staff who can be influential in determining an agency’s mission under a new President. These are temporary hires (four to eight months), but many are expected to stay and land permanent jobs at these or other agencies.

Today, we’ll take a look at the Department of Energy beachhead hires that were reported by ProPublica. The recurring themes here are people from organizations funded by the Koch Brothers or other fossil fuel interests, and people who were hired from the Trump campaign. In general, it is not uncommon for campaign staff to be hired to some of these jobs, but what is notable is the amount of beachhead hires that come from campaign staff, and the hiring of a campaign staffer like Joseph Uddo, who was caught in bad behavior on the campaign trail.

Name (Title, Pay Grade, Start Date)

Daniel Simmons (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-15, 1/20/17)

Vice President for policy for the Koch Brothers-funded Institute for Energy Research, a think tank that produces corporate propaganda to advocate for the fossil fuel industry.

Travis Fisher (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-13, 1/20/17)

An economist, also with the Koch’s Institute for Energy Research.

Doug Matheney (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-10, 1/20/17)

According to his LinkedIn profile, since 2013 he has simultaneously worked as a Coordinator for Americans for Prosperity and as the Ohio director of Count on Coal, an Astroturf campaign by the coal industry.

Martin Dannenfelser (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-15, 1/20/17)

Worked as a Senior Policy Advisor for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and also worked for the Energy Innovation Reform Project, whose “reform agenda” appears to be focused on lobbying against funding for renewable energy, but for increased funding for nuclear energy and “advanced oil recovery.”

Kyle Yunaska (Assistant to the Secretary,GS-13, 1/30/17)

Eric Trump's brother in-law. Seriously.

Joseph Uddo (WH Liaison, GS-15, 1/20/17)

A former aide to Ben Carson, and Trump campaign staff. Joseph Uddo was in the news last year when he was accused of bullying Delaware Republicans to boost Trump’s delegate count.

Brett Fetterly (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-11, 1/20/17)

According to his LinkedIn profile, he was recently Interim Director of Operations at The John Hay Initiative, a hawkish foreign policy think tank, but prior to that was the Foreign and Defense Policy Director for Governor Perry’s 2016 presidential campaign and a Senior Foreign Policy Analyst for the Republican National Committee.

Wells Griffith (Senior WH Advisor, SES, 1/20/17)

Formerly worked as a state director on the Trump campaign, and as deputy chief of staff to Reince Priebus when he was chairman of the Republican National Committee, will serve as DOE’s new liaison to the White House. Also, ran unsuccessfully in a Republican primary for Congress, Alabama’s 1st Congressional District. He will be the White House’s liaison to the Department of Energy.

Sarah Habansky (Public Affairs Specialist, GS-15, 1/20/17)

Marketing Executive, previously worked for the Illinois Technology Association 2005-2014.

Roger Jarrell (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-15, 1/20/17)

Chairman of the Rockbridge, Virginia GOP.

Suzanne Jaworowski (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-15, 1/20/17)

Previously worked as the Indiana campaign director for Donald Trump. During the campaign, she denied serving as a conduit for a Trump interview that appeared in the Serbian press. The Trump campaign maintains that the interview was a hoax.

Mark Maddox (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-15, 1/23/17)

E&E News reports that he is “a consultant at the Livingston Group LLC and former DOE acting assistant secretary of fossil energy in the George W. Bush administration.”

Cathy Tripodi (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-15, 1/30/17)

According to her LinkedIn profile, she formerly worked as Director of Business Affairs for North Carolina, and before that was a Senior VP for the Council on Competitiveness, and as the Director of Energy for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

Eric Mahroum (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-10, 1/30/17)

A Republican operative, who worked as a Field Director and Deputy Texas Director for the Trump campaign.

Jake McCurdy (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-10, 1/20/17)

A staff assistant for former Senator, current Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Taylor Playforth (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-13, 1/23/17)

A Republican political operative who most recently was Deputy North Carolina Director on the Trump campaign.

Stanley Gerdes, (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-14, 1/30/17)

Has worked in a number of positions for former Governor and current Energy Secretary Rick Perry since 2013, most recently as an Executive Assistant.

William Greene (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-15, 1/20/17)

Previously worked as the Deputy Director of Government Affairs for the hunting advocacy group, Safari Club International. Also was former Outreach Director for former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Justin Bis (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-10, 1/20/17)

An Ohio Republican political operative who had most recently served as the Deputy State Director at Ohio Republican Party.            

G. Michael Brown (Executive Advisor, SES, 1/20/17)

A political consultant from Texas. In 2016, he was the national field director for Ben Carson's 2016 presidential campaign.

Sam Buchan (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-12, 1/20/17)

A political operative who worked as a Field Representative on the Trump campaign.

Dan Wilmot (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-15, 1/20/17)

A Government Relations Specialist for the Texas Veterans Commission.

Tristan Abbey (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-14, 1/20/17)

Previously worked as a Senior Professional Staff Member for the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources.

Bob Haus (Public Affairs Specialist, GS-14, 1/26/17)

An Iowa Republican consultant who worked as Iowa Director for Rick Perry's 2016 Presidential campaign.

Kayla Hensley (Assistant to the Secretary, GS-10, 1/20/17)

A marketing and social media professional who served as Houston director for the Trump campaign.