The Denver Post's Allison Sherry is reporting that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's former Chief of Staff and famed Lawyer-Lobbyist, Tom Strickland, has been hired by BP's law firm, WilmerHale. Talk about conflict of interest. Strickland was Salazar's Chief of Staff during the BP Deepwater Horizons oil spill disaster in the Gulf, a case that WilmerHale is still fighting.
Washington, DC is known as the world capitol of lawyers, seeing that it has more lawyers per capita than anywhere else on earth. In the city with more law firms than hot dog stands, Strickland ended up at the one law firm that would have the most glaring conflict of interest. That Strickland ended up there should scream CRONY CAPITALISM.
While Strickland and WilmerHale pinkie swear that he will have no role in BP's oil spill case, they do admit he will be working on environmental issues.
It's not as if Strickland is a shining star that everyone in DC wanted to gobble up after he stepped down in disgrace from the Interior Department. He resigned in February 2010, after fully embarrassing the Obama administration and botching the response to the spill.
Flashback from ABC News:
The Stricklands departed for the Grand Canyon three days after the leaks in the Deepwater Horizon pipeline were discovered. Ultimately, after the government realized that the spill was worse than had been previously thought, officials decided that Strickland was needed in the Gulf so Strickland was taken out of the Grand Canyon by a National Park Service helicopter.
One government official, asking for anonymity because of the political sensitivities involved, told ABC News that some Interior Department employees thought it was “irresponsible” for Strickland to have gone on the trip, given the crisis in the Gulf, which was fully apparent at the time he departed for the Grand Canyon.
Strickland also carries with him the tag of two-time loser, having lost to US Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) twice, in 1996 and again in 2002.
With a record of embarrassing his former boss, and being soundly rejected by the people of Colorado twice, he doesn't exactly scream top recruit.
Which makes it all the more obvious why WilmerHale would want Strickland. And it ain't because of his white water rafting skills.
Readers may remember another Coloradan at the Department of Interior who went to work as legal counsel for a company she was tasked with overseeing while at Interior: Gale Norton.
While Norton was never charged upon completion of an investigation, the Left in Colorado and DC were unhinged in calling for her head.
Paging Colorado Ethics Watch and Common Cause: now is the time to send a press release calling for the investigation of Tom Strickland and any favorable treatment he may have given BP while at Interior.