At least three lobbyists have left President-elect Donald Trump's presidential transition operation after the team imposed a new ethics policy that would have required them to drop all their clients.
CGCN's Michael Catanzaro, who was responsible for energy independence; Michael Torrey, who was running the handoff at the Department of Agriculture; and Michael McKenna of MWR Strategies, who was focused on the Energy Department, are no longer part of the transition, POLITICO has learned.
Mike McKenna, a Republican energy lobbyist, told POLITICO that he "couldn't in good conscience deregister. I understand why transition did what they did. I'm not angry or annoyed or outraged."
He said he was reluctant to step down, but added, “at the end of the day, I needed to make sure that my clients, my business and my family were taken care of. I anticipate helping out as much as they will let me.”
McKenna focused on the Energy Department, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the transition. A former lobbyist for Koch Cos. Public Sector, McKenna now lobbies for Engie (formerly GDF Suez), Southern Co. and Dow Chemical.
Southern Co. is a major U.S. nuclear power utility, owning and operating Plants Farley (two reactors in AL), Hatch (two reactors in GA), and Vogtle (four reactors in GA -- including Units 3 & 4, currently under construction; if they ever actually operate someday, Vogtle would then become the largest nuclear power plant in the U.S.).
Engie is also a major nuclear utility in Europe, with international expansion plans.