Will Sen. Dorgan Disclose His Potential New Employers?


When Byron Dorgan announced earlier this month that he is retiring from the Senate to pursue, among other things, work on energy policy in the private sector, I wondered whether the North Dakota Democrat would land a job in the coal industry. Now others are asking questions about Dorgan’s post-Senate plans.

PolluterWatch, a project of Greenpeace, sent a letter to Dorgan’s office on Wednesday asking for information on whether the senator has been actively seeking work in a particular sector. Dorgan will likely have to vote on some sort of climate and/or energy legislation before he retires, so it’s fair to inquire about what, if any, future employers he has been courting.

PolluterWatch also requested a list of energy lobbyists and their respective clients that Dorgan has had contact with about potential employment, as well as details of phone calls, emails, or meetings. And they ask him to pledge to “wait until after an energy bill is passed this year to engage in any further discussions about future employment with interests that lobby you.”

“I am sure that you would not allow future career prospects to influence your legislative judgment,” the group wrote.”However, by releasing your records and pledging to refrain from any employment discussions, you can avoid creating any perception to the contrary.”

Senate offices aren’t required by law to disclose this sort of information, so it’s unlikely that PolluterWatch will get a response any time soon. “We’re not accusing him of any malfeasance at this point,” PolluterWatch director Kert Davies told Mother Jones. “We’re just asking the question and asking for transparency.”

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.