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Senior Advisor, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Christian Palich, a former Ohio lobbyist and former president of the Ohio Coal Association, is currently serving as senior advisor at the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. The exact nature of his current duties are unclear. 

Palich has passed through the revolving door between government and lobbying once before. Prior to joining Interior, Palich worked at the lobbying firm Siekman, Siekman & Associates as its Vice President for Government and Public Affairs from February through June 2019. Before that, he was the Deputy Associate Administrator of Congressional Affairs at the Environmental Protection Agency from April 2017 to February 2019. 

Palich was the president of the Ohio Coal Association, where he worked from October 2013 to April 2017.  He was employed as manager of government affairs, then vice president of government affairs, then interim president, and finally president.

Palich previously worked in Ohio politics. He was the Regional Director for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office from June 2013 to October 2013. Prior to that, Palich held several positions affiliated with Republican Congressman Bill Johnson (6th). He was Johnson’s District Director from May 2011 to July 2013, Legislative Assistant from January 2011 to May 2011, Political Director from December 2009 to July 2013, and Transitional Director from November 2010 to January 2011.

Palich graduated from Kent State University with a degree in political science in 2009.

[“Former EPA, coal champion heads to OSMRE,“ E&E News, 07/31/19, Meet the Team,” “Ohio facing drastic changes in power plants under Obama emissions plan,” The Columbus Dispatch, 06/02/14, “Industry’s Appalachian woes go beyond gas, EPA rules,” E&E News, 10/03/14, “Coal industry, GOP fire shots against potential Senate candidacy, E&E News, 02/10/15,  Siekman, Siekman & Associates, accessed via Archive.org, 08/22/19, Christian Palich LinkedIn Profile, accessed 08/22/19, “Ohio General Assembly Joint Legislative Ethics Committee Database search for Christian Palich, accessed 08/26/19, Former EPA, coal champion heads to OSMRE,“ E&E News, 07/31/19]

Special Interests

Murray Energy Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

The Ohio Coal Association received a total of $8,500 from Murray Energy PAC for the 2014 and 2016 cycles.

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also connected to:

Murray Energy PAC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

The Ohio Coal Association received a total of $8,500 from Murray Energy PAC for the 2014 and 2016 cycles.

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also connected to:

Hilltop Energy, Inc. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

The Ohio Coal Association received a total of $2,400 from donors who listed Hilltop Energy, Inc. as their employer from 2013-2015.

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also connected to:

BP (Resource Development on Public Lands)

The Ohio Coal Association received a total of $1,800 from donors who listed BP as their employer from 2013-2014.

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also connected to:

Background Information

Previous Employers

 

Siekman, Siekman & Associates

Palich joined the firm Siekman, Siekman & Associates in February 2019, where he would reportedly “work for the firm’s clients in Washington and Ohio.” On its homepage, the firm describes itself as a “Next Generation lobbying firm” having “embarked on a journey to provide corporate America with the same political skills and creative edge that American politicians count on today to realize their dreams and accomplish their goals. Our reach begins at the local level and continues toward federal policy.” 

[“Verizon adds 2 firms,” POLITICO, 02/20/19, Siekman, Siekman & Associates Homepage, accessed 08/26/19]

 

Environmental Protection Agency

Palich joined the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in May 2017. According to his profile on the Siekman, Siekman & Associates website, Palich claimed he “cultivated relationships with Senior officials within the White House, Federal Agencies, and Congress. I served as the staff lead focused on developing key bipartisan relationships within the U.S. Senate, developed and implemented the agency’s legislative agenda, and managed career staff.” According to emails, Palich was in contact with representatives of entities including Alliance Coal, LLC, Contura Energy and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Palich played Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair John Barrasso in a mock hearing for nominees Charles McIntosh and Peter Wright to be Assistant Administrators of the EPA. 

[“Coal lobbyist joins agency’s congressional team,” E&E News, 05/04/17, “Meet the Team,” Siekman, Siekman & Associates, accessed via Archive.org, 08/22/19, EPA Emails, accessed 08/21/19, “Offshore, not out of mind,” POLITICO, 09/11/18, “Hearing on the Nominations of William Charles McIntosh and Peter C. Wright to be Assistant Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency,” U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, accessed 08/21/19]

 

Bill Johnson for Congress

Between January 2010 and July 2013, Palich received a total of $41,335 for salary, travel reimbursements, office supplies and other expenses while working on Bill Johnson’s campaigns for Congress.

[Disbursements for Christian Palich, Federal Elections Commission,  accessed 08/26/19, Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, Roll Call, accessed 08/26/19]

Current Activity

On July 31st, 2019, it was reported Palich would be joining Interior as senior advisor at the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.

[“Former EPA, coal champion heads to OSMRE,“ E&E News, 07/31/19]

Other Information

Visit to the Trump Hotel.

On April 28th, 2017, Palich marked himself at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC with the text “Making happy hour great again” in his post. At the time, Palich was the Deputy Associate Administrator of Congressional & Intergovernmental Affairs at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On the day before, April 27th, the DC Court of Appeals ruled a case regarding EPA’s air pollution rule would be put on hold.

[Facebook post by Christian Palich, 04/28/17, “Court delays EPA mercury rule case while Trump reviews,” The Hill, 04/27/17] 

 

Prior Negative Statements About Trump

On February 27th, 2016, Palich tweeted “Watching Trump/Christie presser from yesterday & can’t believe this is happening in American #political discourse. #sad.” 

Trump, then the Republican nominee for president, had just mocked Florida Senator Marco Rubio for awkwardly drinking from a water bottle during his response to the 2013 State of The Union while attending a press conference where he accepted the endorsement of then-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Another user, Carlo LoParo, responded “@CRPalich thugs stick together,” likely referring to Trump and Christie.

Palich liked LoParo’s response and tweeted back: “@CarloLoParo can you imagine ANY politician doing the water bottle impression Trump did? Just unreal he gets away with this garbage.” 

LoParo replied: “@CRPalich Trump is a buffoon. Anyone endorsing him diminishes themselves.” Palich liked this response. 

[Email from Christian Palich to Don Parish, 06/02/17, “Former EPA, coal champion heads to OSMRE,” E&E News, 07/31/19, Tweet by Christian Palich, 02/27/16, “Trump Praises Christie Endorsement, Mocks Rubio”, Associated Press via YouTube, 02/26/16, (00:00)]

 

Lobbying Activity

Palich was registered as a lobbyist in Ohio. He was registered to lobby on behalf of the Ohio Coal Association from November 2013 to April 28th, 2017.  After joining Siekman, Siekman & Associates, he was registered to lobby on behalf of Community Bus Services, a provider of transportation for school districts. However, Palich was never registered to lobby the federal government. 

[Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database for Christian Palich, accessed 08/26/19, Ohio General Assembly Joint Legislative Ethics Committee Database search for Christian Palich, accessed 08/26/19, Community Bus Services, Inc., accessed 08/26/19]