Liberal Democrats are not happy about Ken Salazar’s association with Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
Salazar, a former U.S. Senator representing Colorado and Interior Secretary, serves as a co-chair of Latino engagement for Biden’s campaign.
The left wing Huffington Post published a scathing critique of Salazar’s history as an energy lobbyist and suggested his association with oil and gas could pose a problem for Biden.
“Salazar’s lucrative spin through the revolving door from public servant to agent of the fossil fuel industry is no less indefensible when done by an Obama alumnus than when done by a member of Trump’s team,” said Jeff Hauser, director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research’s Revolving Door Project.
Liberal government watchdogs are also harshly critical of Salazar’s shifting from government to lobbying positions, and in particular his failure to disclose his lobbying ties to Anadarko following the Firestone explosion in 2017.
Salazar’s work for Anadarko in Colorado did not violate federal ethics rules, which apply only to former Cabinet officials trying to influence the federal government, not state or local governments. Those rules prohibit political appointees from lobbying federal agencies for two years after leaving government service, and permanently bar lobbying on particular matters they worked on while in government.
Still, good government groups say Salazar’s work for the oil and gas sector and failure to disclose his lobbying work on behalf of Anadarko raise serious concerns. Policy positions aside, he should have been upfront about who’s paying him to lobby, said Tyson Slocum, director of the progressive watchdog group Public Citizen’s energy program.
Salazar previously walled himself off from working with certain energy companies because of her formerly served as secretary of the U.S. Interior Department, although Anadarko was not apparently one of them.
When Salazar left the Interior Department, he told the Houston Chronicle “a number of walls may have to be erected” to prevent conflicts of interest in his private sector work. He specifically said that because of his involvement in the Deepwater Horizon spill, he made an arrangement to be “permanently walled off from any BP work and money, now and forever” — but he did not say if that wall included other firms like Anadarko that were also linked to the leak.
The left’s shots at Salazar are particularly problematic for John Hickenlooper who has his own connections to the embattled energy firm, which have been featured prominently in Colorado’s Senate race in recent weeks.
Anadarko (now Occidental Petroleum) donated $25,000 to the office of then-Gov. Hickenlooper “just days after a deadly explosion in Firestone that was tied to a leaking underground pipeline owned by the company,” CBS Denver and the Colorado Sun reported in June. “Over the course of four years, it gave the governor’s office more than $330,000, money for which there is little accounting.”
It is unclear if the left will succeed in cancelling Salazar. However the fact they are having that discussion at all is horrible news for John Hickenlooper, who is reportedly running well behind Joe Biden in Colorado.