Sunday, June 9, 2013

Former Interior secretary joins law firm hired by BP during Deepwater Horizon disaster

Former U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will begin his post-political life as a partner at the same law firm that represented British Petroleum during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill off the gulf coast -- an environmental calamity for which Salazar was sharply criticized for not keeping offshore drillers on a tight enough leash.

Former U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
Former U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
WilmerHale, which has offices in Boston, New York and Washington, D.C., represented the company in 15 congressional hearings and in investigations by the Department of Justice, the SEC, the National Oil Spill Commission, the Chemical Safety Board, and the National Academy of Engineers.

"Our job basically is to keep the boot on the neck of British Petroleum," Salazar said at the time, after he had become the face for what many critics saw as a failure of governmental oversight and lax policies that contributed to the disaster.

Environmental groups called for his firing and he was grilled before Congress, where he promised to overhaul the agency responsible for monitoring offshore oil drilling. That criticism prompted the government to take a hard line with BP, as Salazar's "boot on the neck" comment illustrated.

In his new position, Salazar promised that he wouldn't benefit from BP by joining the legal firm, telling the Denver Post that WilmerHale will separate the money it made from the company and that none will be used to pay him.

"I am not going to represent BP, and I'm not going to make any money from BP now or ever," he told the paper.

In a statement posted on its website, WilmerHale said that Salazar will provide "legal, strategic and policy advice to national and international clients, particularly on matters at the intersection of law, business and public policy. He will draw on his deep experience in energy, environmental and natural resources, and tribal issues to assist the firm's clients."

The company is opening a Denver office to be anchored by Salazar, a native Coloradoan who served as state attorney general and as U.S. Senator from 2004-2008.

"I am proud to join WilmerHale, one of the nation's top law firms," Salazar said in the statement. "It handles some of the most complex legal matters, and has a longstanding commitment to public service, civil rights and social justice. I look forward to leading WilmerHale's entry into the Rocky Mountain region, which is integral to the growing national and global economy."

WilmerHale has represented a wide array of clients, including former presidents Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton; major corporations like HSBC, Chrysler Group and Proctor & Gamble; and pro bono clients like the country of Sierra Leone, Guantanamo Bay prisoners and the Coalition for the Homeless.

By Greg Campbell

Source: The Daily Caller

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