The Environmental Defense Fund announced today that Nathaniel Keohane will be rejoining the organization as it’s new vice president. What was he doing while he was away? He was serving as special assistant to President Obama for energy and the environment in the National Economic Council and Domestic Policy Council. Prior to that Keohane had been EDF’s chief economist.
In other words, Keohane had been involved in lobbying the administration on green issues, then advising it on green issues and is now lobbying it again on those same issues. It is exactly the kind of “revolving door” of public service and private lobbying that is so often decried good government types for blurring the distinction between the two. Only this time it is not a corporation, but an activist group. Which proves that the revolving door swings in both directions.
In a statement, EDF President Fred Krupp said:
We are delighted to have Nat returning to the fold. Nat brings a wealth of expertise, a strong reputation as an economist, and experience in policymaking at the highest levels of government – as well as a passion for finding smart, economically sound solutions to environmental problems.
He’ll be even more effective now that he has had a year to scope out the inner workers of the White House and makes friends and contacts there. That will help as he tries to get the administration to pass a comprehensive clean energy bill or a cap and trade bill.