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Acting Solicitor/ Principal Deputy Solicitor of the Interior Department

Daniel Jorjani is the Principal Deputy Solicitor of the Interior Department, exercising the authority of Acting Solicitor. The Office of the Solicitor performs the “legal work” for Interior and provides “advice, counsel and legal representation to the Immediate Office of the Secretary, the Assistant Secretaries, and all other bureaus and offices overseen by the Secretary.”

International finance expert Daniel Jorjani began his career in 1992 in St. Petersburg, Russia, as the Deputy Director of Littlex Joint Stock Company, a “small venture” capital firm. From 1996 to 1999, Jorjani provided Foreign Corruption Practices Act (FCPA) guidance for “U.S.-based clients” and worked on the “sale of state-owned energy assets in Kazakhstan.” From 1999 to 2001, he advised clients on “energy investments in Russia and Central Asia” and provided FCPA counsel and guidance. In 2001, Jorjani began working for the federal government, as Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget at Interior, and then Counselor to the Deputy Secretary of Interior. Following his federal exit, Jorjani became a “key Koch employee,” and worked his way into being of the Koch network’s “highest paid employees.”

Sources: [Department of Interior, Press Release, 05/26/17, “About the Office of the Solicitor,” United States Department of the Interior, accessed 06/21/17, Department of the Interior, FOIA Response, 06/07/17, Nick Surgey, “Revealed: Extensive Koch Links to New Right-Wing $250 Million Mega Fund,” PR Watch, 09/16/13, and Order No, 3345, Amendment 17, Department of the Interior, 03/31/18]

Special Interests

Coudert Brothers/ Pepper Hamilton (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Jorjani worked for Coudert Brothers/ Pepper Hamilton, where he provided Foreign Corruption Practices Act (FCPA) guidance for U.S.-based clients and worked on the sale of state-owned energy assets in Kazakhstan.

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Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Jorjani worked for Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, where he advised clients on energy investments in Russia and Central Asia and provided Foreign Corruption Practices Act (FCPA) counsel and guidance.

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Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Jorjani was one of the highest paid employees at the Charles Koch Foundation, one of the foundations of the oil-billionaire Koch brothers.

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Charles Koch Foundation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Jorjani was one of the highest paid employees at the Charles Koch Foundation, one of the foundations of the oil-billionaire Koch brothers.

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Charles Koch Institute (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Jorjani was one of the highest paid employees at the Charles Koch Institute, one of the organizations of the oil-billionaire Koch brothers.

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Freedom Partners (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Jorjani worked for Freedom Partners, another organization in the Koch brothers' network of conservative political and policy groups. In 2014, Freedom Partners launched an initiative that aimed to drive the national narrative around energy.

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Background Information

Previous Employers

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

A high-level Interior Department employee under George W. Bush, Daniel Jorjani defended the decision to increase the cost of the America the Beautiful Pass, which created “concern” about “access to public lands.”

Daniel Jorjani worked in the Interior Department in the George W. Bush administration. From 2001 to 2005 Jorjani was the Counselor and Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget, and from 2005 to 2009 he was the Counselor to the Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior.

In this latter role, he was Counselor to Interior Deputy Secretary Patricia Lynn Scarlett, who was behind the Bush administration’s “proposed privatization of National Park Service jobs.” Before working at the Interior Department, Scarlett was the Executive Director of the Reason Public Policy Institute, a project of the libertarian think-tank the Reason Foundation that favors “‘free market’ solutions to environmental problems.”

[Department of the Interior, FOIA Response, 06/07/17, Department of the Interior Directory, Government Publishing Office, 08/09/07, “The Ungreening of America: Behind the Curtain,” Mother Jones, 09-10/03, and “George W. Bush’s Anti-Environmental Advisors,” Environmental Working Group, 09/02/99]

In 2008, Daniel Jorjani was a representative of the Department of the Interior on an interagency group called “America the Beautiful – the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program,” which was aimed at “providing a more seamless, consistent and professional pass program across five Federal Land Management Agencies.”

[Jane Moore, Memorandum to Jennifer Eberlin, United States Department of the Interior, 04/30/08]

In 2006, during a “barrage of news and concern about new and increased fees charged for access to public lands,” Daniel Jorjani spoke about the Department of the Interior’s decision to charge $80 for an America the Beautiful Pass for annual access to national parks and other federal lands. Jorjani said that the Department of the Interior “‘took this process very seriously,'” and that they did “‘extensive surveys of the general public and national park pass users and compared it to other fees before deciding to charge $80.'”

[Bill Schneider, “Park Fee Media Coverage Sparks Concern Among Agency Reps,” New West, 12/06/06]

Daniel Jorjani has been given at least $8,000 in cash awards from the federal government while he worked in the Interior Department.

According to data from the Department of the Interior on awards given to personnel in the Office of the Secretary, Daniel Jorjani received a cash award of $5,000 on June 12, 2003, and a cash award of $3,000 on January 7, 2007.

[“Other non-career appointees who got cash awards,” Endangered Species and Wetlands Report, 07/25/07]

Daniel Jorjani, after working in the George W. Bush administration, went to work for the “oil billionaire” Koch brothers. By 2011, Jorjani had become a “key Koch employee,” working as a Research Program Officer for the Charles Koch Foundation and the Director of Policy for the Charles Koch Institute.

As a “key Koch employee,” Daniel Jorjani, in 2011, split his time working with two organizations funded by “oil billionaire” brothers Charles and David Koch. In one of his roles, he was the Program Officer of Research at the Charles Koch Foundation. The other position Daniel Jorjani held in 2011 was the Director of Research for the Charles Koch Institute.

[Nick Surgey, “Revealed: Extensive Koch Links to New Right-Wing $250 Million Mega Fund,” PR Watch, 09/16/13, Charles Koch Foundation, Form 990-PF, 2011, and Charles Koch Institute, Form 990, 2011]

Since 2012, Daniel Jorjani has worked for Freedom Partners, the “central group” in the “increasingly powerful network of conservative public policy and political groups helmed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.”

Since 2012, Daniel Jorjani has worked for the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, working first as the Secretary, then Deputy General Counsel/VP of Compliance, and then becoming the general counsel. Freedom Partners is the “central group” in the “increasingly powerful network of conservative public policy and political groups helmed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.”

[Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, Form 990, 2013, Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, Form 990, 2014, Anthony Adragna, “Morning Energy,” Politico, 12/06/16, and Kenneth Vogel, “The Koch ATM,” Politico, 11/17/15]

In 2014, the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce “spearheaded” a Charles and David Koch energy initiative that aimed to “‘drive the national narrative around energy and the tremendous benefits of reliable affordable energy for all Americans.'” The energy initiative was created in response to “the commitment by liberal billionaire Tom Steyer to steer $100 million into ads in several states to make climate change a priority issue in the elections; numerous setbacks at the state level where Koch network backed advocacy groups have been fighting against renewable energy standards; and the new EPA regulations to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.”

[Peter Stone, “Koch Brothers Unveil New Strategy at Big Donor Retreat,” Daily Beast, 06/13/14 and Igor Bobic, “Koch Brothers Plan $300 Million Spending Spree in 2014,” Huffington Post, 06/16/14]

Daniel Jorjani, one of the Koch network’s “highest paid employees,” raked in at least $700,000 from Freedom Partners, the Charles Koch Foundation, and the Charles Koch Institute.

In 2011, Daniel Jorjani was one of the “highest paid employees at both the Charles Koch Institute… and the Charles Koch Foundation.”

[Nick Surgey, “Revealed: Extensive Koch Links to New Right-Wing $250 Million Mega Fund,” PR Watch, 09/16/13]

Since 2011, Daniel Jorjani has been paid at least $707,057 by Freedom Partners, the Charles Koch Foundation, and the Charles Koch Institute.

[Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, Form 990, 20112012201320142015, Charles Koch Institute, Form 990, 2011, and Charles Koch Foundation, Form 990, 2011]

Political Connections

Daniel Jorjani has given $7,750 to Republican politicians, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney.

[Political Moneyline Search for Daniel Jorjani, CQ, accessed 02/01/17]

Current Activity

Daniel Jorjani let energy companies off the hook by not holding them accountable for accidentally killing migratory birds. 

Jorjani, on December 22, 2017, issued a legal decision that “declare[d] that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act applies only to purposeful actions that kill migratory birds, and not to energy companies and other businesses that kill birds incidentally.”

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates more than 30 million birds die each year in collisions with power lines and communications towers, and hundreds of thousands more in oil pits and wind turbines.”

Oil and gas industry groups praised Jorjani’s decision.

A bipartisan group of former Interior Department officials who served under the last eight Presidents wrote a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke asking him to reverse Jorjani’s decision, which they described as a “‘new, contrived legal standard that creates a huge loophole in the existing act… allowing companies to engage in activities that routinely kill migratory birds so long as they were not intending that their operations would ‘render an animal subject to human control.’”

[Jimmy Tobias, “Meet the Former Koch Adviser Slashing Conservation Safeguards at the Department of the Interior,” Pacific Standard, 01/10/18, Laurel Wamsley, “Accidentally Killing Birds Isn’t A Crime, Says Trump Administration,” NPR, 12/27/17, Daniel Jorjani, M-37050, Department of Interior, 12/22/17, and Dino Grandoni and Juliet Eilperin, “17 former wildlife officials urge Interior to rethink easing rules against killing birds,” Washington Post, 01/12/18]

Daniel Jorjani issued a legal decision allowing Twin Metals Minnesota to renew mining leases for their copper and nickel mining operation near Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Twin Metals is a subsidiary of Antofagasta PLC, a Chilean mining company that coincidentally is owned by the family of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s landlord.

In December 2016, the Obama administration decided not to renew leases “for a copper and nickel mining operation on the border of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness,” “while federal officials launched a formal review of the operation’s environmental impact.” Obama administration “Interior officials expressed concern that any potential spill from nearby mining could cause ‘serious and irreplaceable harm’” to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which is “the only large lake-land wilderness in the National Wilderness Preservation System.”

[Juliet Eilperin, “Trump administration renews mining leases near Minnesota wilderness, reversing Obama,” Washington Post, 12/23/17]

The company applying to renew the leases was Twin Metals Minnesota, a “a subsidiary of the Chilean mining giant Antofagasta PLC.” Antofagasta belongs “to the family of billionaire Andrónico Luksic, who rents a home to Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, in Washington.”

[Juliet Eilperin, “Trump administration renews mining leases near Minnesota wilderness, reversing Obama,” Washington Post, 12/23/17]

Daniel Jorjani, on December 22, 2017, issued a legal decision allowing Twin Metals Minnesota to renew the leases. “Jorjani’s decision came after a concerted lobbying effort by Twin Metals and its parent company.” In 2017, Jorjani met with Antofagasta and the lobbying firm that represents Twin Metals.

[Jimmy Tobias, “Meet the Former Koch Adviser Slashing Conservation Safeguards at the Department of the Interior,” Pacific Standard, 01/10/18]

Daniel Jorjani, in 2017, had “two separate meetings, one in May and one in September, with representatives of the American Forest Resource Council.”

The American Forest Resource Council is “a timber industry group that has led the legal and public relations opposition to President Barack Obama’s expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon.”

[Jimmy Tobias, “Meet the Former Koch Adviser Slashing Conservation Safeguards at the Department of the Interior,” Pacific Standard, 01/10/18]

In October 2017, Daniel Jorjani met with “the Trump-aligned Florida-based lobbying firm Ballard Partners to discuss Wisteria Island.”

“Ballard Partners represents a private company called F.E.B. Corp, whose owner seeks to take control of and develop the uninhabited and federally owned island in the Florida Keys.”

[Jimmy Tobias, “Meet the Former Koch Adviser Slashing Conservation Safeguards at the Department of the Interior,” Pacific Standard, 01/10/18]

Financials

Financial Disclosure

Department of the Interior salary: $170,000

[Daniel Jorjani, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/15/18]

Other Information

Daniel Jorjani, after the 2016 general election, attended the election recount in Washington County, Wisconsin, as a “Trump Representative.”

On December 1, 2016, Daniel Jorjani attended the election recount in Washington County, Wisconsin, as a “Trump Representative.”

[Washington County Board of Canvassers Recount, Wisconsin Elections Commission, 12/01/16]