October 30, 2020

Warren Calls on Former Energy Secretary Rick Perry to Resign from Board of Energy Transfer, a Fossil Fuel Company Whose Board He Rejoined Weeks After Leaving Office

Recent reports have detailed Perry's involvement in deals advancing business interests of Energy Transfer while Energy Secretary Warren criticizes corruption, conflicts of interest, and revolving-door relationship between the former cabinet secretary and energy company

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) sent a letter to former Energy Secretary Rick Perry questioning Perry's decision to rejoin Energy Transfer's board of directors just weeks after leaving the Energy Department and once again calling on Mr. Perry to reconsider his decision and immediately resign from the Board. This letter raises concerns about new reports of corruption, conflicts of interest, and the cozy relationship between the former Energy Secretary and his business associates. As Energy Secretary, Perry played a significant role in aggressively promoting and boosting the oil and gas industry in the Trump administration's energy policy -- policies Energy Transfer sought to influence.

Warren's letter comes after new reports that Secretary Perry used his position at the Energy Department to push for deals that "advanced the business interests of his friends and political allies," including Energy Transfer.

"I am concerned that, given your decision to rejoin Energy Transfer's board immediately after resigning from federal public service and your tenure overseeing the weakening of environmental protections that may benefit your political allies in the fossil fuel industry, you may have used your time as Energy Secretary to benefit your former business affiliates, political allies, and future benefactors," the Senator wrote. 

After serving as Governor of Texas from 2000 to 2015, Perry served as Secretary of Energy for nearly two years, from 2017 to 2019. Energy Transfer reported lobbying the Energy Department while Perry was Secretary and had extensive interests at stake in Energy Department decisions made by the department. Perry announced his resignation as Energy Secretary in October 2019 and left office two months later. Weeks later, he was appointed as a director of the general partner of Energy Transfer. In this role, Secretary Perry reportedly receives an annual retainer of up to $100,000 and equally valuable stock options; in return, Energy Transfer has access to a well-connected senior former Trump administration official.

Earlier this year, Senator Warren sent letters to Energy Transfer's chief executive officer Kelcy Warren and Mr. Perry urging Mr. Perry to resign from Energy Transfer's board of directors due to concerns about corruption and conflicts of interest. 

"This is exactly the kind of unethical, revolving-door corruption that has made Americans cynical and distrustful of the federal government," the Senator wrote. "I have introduced far-reaching ethics legislation, the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act, which would prevent senior government officials from spinning through the revolving door by prohibiting corporations like Energy Transfer from hiring or compensating the Energy Secretary, or any other senior government official from an agency that Energy Transfer lobbied in the past two years."