by Lee Fang, via the Republic Report
When oil companies need help in Washington, they call Jack Gerard. But in January of next year, assuming he wins the presidency, Mitt Romney may be dialing Gerard for political support. According to media reports in his native Idaho, Gerard is on the shortlist to become Romney’s White House chief of staff.
Gerard is the president of the American Petroleum Institute, the largest oil lobbying associations in the country. Using a budget that is rumored to be in the hundreds of millions (funded by all of the major oil companies, including Chevron, ExxonMobil, etc.), Gerard finances pro-oil propaganda on network television, academic studies to promote his policy positions, front groups to hold rallies in pivotal swing states, and of course a large teams of lobbyists from D.C. to over a dozen state capitals across the country. For his work, he’s one of the highest paid lobbyists in the Beltway, making $6.4 million in 2010 alone.
Rumors are again circulating that Gerard, a prominent Mormon and close ally to the Romney campaign, may be selected to take the top slot in a Romney administration. And there’s other evidence that Gerard has already ingratiated himself with the Romney campaign:
– Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) told the Idaho Statesman that he thinks Gerard may be selected as Romney’s chief of staff. “Gerard is a heckuva player in Washington, D.C.,” Risch told the newspaper. “He’s well thought of, well connected, has incredible street cred. He’s certainly got the qualifications to do any of that.”
– Former Senator Jim McClure (R-ID), Gerard’s former boss when he worked on Capitol Hill, predicted that Gerard would be Romney’s chief of staff had he won in 2008.
– Breaking a tradition of trade association nonpartisanship, Gerard endorsed Romney during the Republican primaries this year, and indicated the he is close to the Romney family.
– Jack Gerard’s son, who shares the same name, is now a spokesman for the Romney campaign.
The Romney campaign, like most political campaigns, has remained largely silent about its future staffing plans.
Lee Fang is a reporter with the Republic Report. This piece was originally published at the Republic Report and was reprinted with permission.