Last week, the White House announced Christy Goldfuss (full name, Christina White Goldfuss) will become acting director of the Council of Environmental Quality. While it is late in the game for President Obama and he will likely not seek formal approval from Congress for Goldfuss as chair of CEQ, this is nonetheless a remarkable appointment – an impressively meteoric lift for Goldfuss’s career.

A Darien-area Connecticut native, Goldfuss graduated in 1999 from Brown University with a degree in political science. Goldfuss then spent eight years working as a television news reporter, starting at downmarket Western stations such as Chico, California and wrapping up with three years at an NBC affiliate in Richmond, Virginia.

In 2006, Goldfuss was married, leaving journalism in favor of advocacy. A native of the wild Connecticut suburbs became a “Forest Advocate” for US PIRG – the Public Interest Research Group network founded by anti-corporate maven Ralph Nader. Goldfuss was on staff as PIRG rebranded itself into Environment America in 2007, joining Environment America’s congressional lobbying squad in 2008.


A GRITtv web-television interview with Nation contributing writer Laura Flanders shortly after the 2008 election reveals much about Goldfuss’ skill set: Her TV-honed ability to enunciate Environment America’s script is obvious. However, Lander’s “friendly” interview has a relaxed Goldfuss showing clearly her core talents were wasted doing “objective journalism.”

When Landers asked about environmentalism’s top priority, Goldfuss replied “we know that renewable energy is really going to change this country […] and really address all the global warming concerns we have.”

Soon after her interview with Landers, in early 2009 Goldfuss left Environment America, joining U.S. House Natural Resources Committee staff under the leadership of Rep. Nick Joe Rahall, a West Virginia coal-country Democrat.

When Republicans regained control of the House and the Committee at the beginning of 2011, Goldfuss left,  appropriately enough, to join what New York Times reporter Charlie Savage pegged a “government-in-exile for liberals:” John Podesta’s Center for American Progress.

There, Goldfuss “created and directed the Public Lands Project” for what is actually the Center for American Progress Action Fund, CAP’s direct-politics 501(c)4 subsidiary. By summer 2011, alongside thankfully former Washington Post reporter Tom Kenworthy, Goldfuss helped churn out numerous CAP position papers advocating a wide array of reductions in economic uses on public lands – less drilling, higher royalties, more wilderness – a long list of “don’ts” with the only “do” being, yep, renewable-energy permitting.


Goldfuss’ “exile” ended in fall 2013 when Park Service director Jon Jarvis named her deputy director for congressional and external relations – basically, a lobbying and public-relations slot. But after only 16 months, Goldfuss is yet again moving on and up, to CEQ first as a senior adviser, and as of March 16, acting director.

Goldfuss’s appointment to CEQ is probably not coincidental. The Washington Post terms Goldfuss a “close ally” of John Podesta, who just left the White House to join Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPelosi planned on retiring until Trump won election: report Pence autobiography coming from Simon & Schuster Amanda Gorman makes the cover of Vogue MORE’s presidential team. Furthermore, one of Goldfuss’s better-known predecessors at CEQ is Carol Browner, currently a CAP distinguished senior fellow after being President Obama’s climate czar. Browner told the Washington Post Goldfuss will be “perfect in the job.”

The job, of course, will be to stay on message, and stay on schedule. Whether Mrs. Goldfuss can do so is less important than how her career up to now exemplifies how things really “work” inside the Beltway: Whether liberal or conservative, those who stay on the script are rewarded, sometimes lavishly, by those doing the writing.

Skinner is a freelance writer, researcher and columnist for the Flathead Beacon in Kalispell, Montana.