Energy & Environment

Trump loses energy transition head over lobbying restrictions

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President-elect Donald Trump’s transition leader for energy-related agencies stepped down Friday due to the transition team’s lobbying restrictions.

Michael McKenna, who lobbies for numerous energy companies like Southern Co., Competitive Power Ventures and Dow Chemical, said he left “reluctantly” but did not want to comply with the requirements that lobbyists end their federal registrations.

{mosads}“I am very grateful to the Trump Transition Team for the opportunity to work with them and for America,” McKenna said in a statement.

“Although I have reluctantly decided that I cannot continue on the transition in an official capacity, I am excited about continuing to work to make America great again,” he continued.

McKenna’s resignation was first reported by Politico.

Rules implemented earlier this week by Vice President-elect Mike Pence when he took over the transition effort bar lobbyists from participating in the transition leadership, unless they deregister under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, which would preclude them from lobbying for clients.

The rules are part of Trump’s pledge to “drain the swamp,” implemented in part due to a perception that his transition team had too many lobbyists.

He said he “couldn’t in good conscience deregister. I understand why transition did what they did. I’m not angry or annoyed or outraged. But at the end of the day, I needed to make sure that my clients, my business and my family were taken care of. I anticipate helping out as much as they will let me.”

McKenna, a well-known lobbyist and Republican strategist, has since September led transition efforts for the Energy Department, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The transition team is planning next week to start sending transition staffers to those and other domestic policy agencies to start planning for the Jan. 20 handover of power from President Obama.

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