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Assistant Secretary of the Interior – Insular Affairs

Doug Domenech is serving as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs, which “carries out the administrative responsibilities of the Secretary of the Interior in coordinating federal policy for the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Assistant Secretary is also responsible for administering and overseeing U.S. federal assistance to the freely associated states of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau under the Compacts of Free Association, as well as providing technical and financial assistance to all the Insular Areas.”

Washington D.C. insider Doug Domenech has passed back and forth between working for the federal government and lobbying it, starting when George W. Bush was elected. In 2001, he joined the Department of the Interior, working his way up into some of the highest level positions at the Bush administration’s DOI.

Immediately after leaving the federal government, he started to lobby for oil and energy companies. In 2010, Domenech became Virginia’s Secretary of Natural Resources, where he was a vocal supporter of drilling off the Virginia coastline. Before returning to work for the federal government, Domenech was the director an initiative to trumpet the “‘forgotten moral case for fossil fuels'” founded by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which is heavily funded by big oil, including ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy, and Koch Industries. He wrote that the BLM conducted “an outright assault on constitutional principles” when the department sought to oversee federal land that an Oklahoma judge ruled belonged to the public 30 years ago.

Sources: [“Who We Are,” United States Department of the Interior, accessed 06/27/17, “Doug Domenech, Secretary of Natural Resources, Commonwealth of Virginia,” Loudon County Public Schools, accessed 01/30/17, LinkedIn Profile for Doug Domenech, accessed 01/30/17, “Domenech, Doug,” Center For Responsive Politics, accessed 01/30/17, “Company Overview of Qteros, Inc.,” Bloomberg, accessed 02/20/17, “SunEthanol renames as Qteros, raises $25M Series B fund,” Boston Business Journal, 11/18/08, Alison Fitzgerald, “Virginia Tries to Circumvent Obama on Drilling,” New York Times, 11/13/12, Jim Babb, “Domenech Part II: Climate Change, Oil Drilling, Conservation Easements,” Roanoke Times, 6/26/10, Brooke Rollins and Kathleen Hartnett White, “Doug Domenech Joins TPPF as Director of Fueling Freedom Project,” Texas Public Policy Foundation, 03/30/15, Forrest Wilder, “Revealed: The Corporations and Billionaires that Fund the Texas Public Policy Foundation,” Texas Observer, 08/24/12, Doug Domenech, “America and Executive Fiat,” Townhall, 12/29/15, Jim Malewitz, “Blurred Lines: Dispute Between Texas, BLM Has Complicated History,” Texas Tribune, 04/28/14, and Department of Interior, Press Release, 09/14/17]

Special Interests

Jack Abramoff (Political Extremism)

Domenech, when he worked at Bush's Interior, had links to lobbyist Jack Abramoff. One of Abramoff's operatives would tell Domenech what Abramoff wanted, which Domenech would then relay to Interior's Indian casino policy point person.

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Forest Resources Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Domenech worked for the Forest Resources Association, which represents the interests of nearly 500 organizations and businesses in the forest products industry.

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also connected to:

Public Service Enterprise Group (Resource Development on Public Lands)

While working at Artemis Strategies, Domenech lobbied the federal government on behalf of Public Service Enterprise Group, a New Jersey-based energy company that operates natural gas, coal, and oil-fired electric plants.

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also connected to:

Qteros (Resource Development on Public Lands)

While at Artemis Strategies, Domenech lobbied on behalf of biofuels company Qteros, which focuses on developing and providing biomass-to-ethanol conversion process technologies. Qteros is partly funded by BP.

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also connected to:

Chrysalis Energy Partners (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Domenech was a principal at Chrysalis Energy Partners, an energy consulting firm focused on conventional and renewable energy sources.

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also connected to:

Texas Public Policy Foundation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Domenech worked at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a right-wing think tank that has received significant funding from ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy, and more than $220,000 in funding from Koch brother affiliates.

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also connected to:

Background Information

Previous Employers

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

In 1981, Doug Domenech began his career in the forest products industry, going to work for the Forest Resources Association (FRA).

The FRA “represents the interests of nearly 500 organizations and businesses in the forest products industry” and “promote[s] the public policy interests of the forest products industry’s supply chain on Capitol Hill.”

In 1981, Doug Domenech “went to work for the Forest Resources Association serving as Division Forester in Jackson, MS, and then Charleston, SC.” In 1990, he became the “Director of Forestry Programs at the FRA’s headquarters in Washington, DC.”

The Forest Resources Association “represents the interests of nearly 500 organizations and businesses in the forest products industry.” It aims to “promote the interests of forest products industry members,” and in particular it works to “promote the public policy interests of the forest products industry’s supply chain on Capitol Hill.”

[“Doug Domenech, Secretary of Natural Resources, Commonwealth of Virginia,” Loudon County Public Schools, accessed 01/30/17, “Mission,” Forest Resources Association, accessed 02/23/17 and “About the Forest Resources Association,” Forest Resources Association, accessed 02/23/17]

Doug Domenech held high-level positions in the Department of the Interior in the George W. Bush administration.

From 2001 to 2009 he was the Deputy Director of External and Intergovernmental Affairs, White House Liaison, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary, and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Insular Affairs.

Doug Domenech, from May 2008 to January 2009, served “as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Insular Affairs where he managed U.S. relations” with “US Territories of the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the US Freely Associated States of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands.”

[“Doug Domenech, Secretary of Natural Resources, Commonwealth of Virginia,” Loudon County Public Schools, accessed 01/30/17, “Doug Domenech Will Head Insular Affairs at Interior,” U.S. Department of the Interior, 05/09/08, and LinkedIn Profile for Doug Domenech, accessed 01/30/17]

When Doug Domenech served as the Bush White House’s liaison at Interior.

When Doug Domenech served as the Bush White House’s liaison at Interior, he allegedly had ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Domenech reportedly “would take calls from Abramoff operative Italia Federici, who would inform him of what Abramoff wanted” and then Domenech would “convey the message.”

In 2005, Wayne Smith, “the point man at Interior for Indian casino policy,” said “Domenech would take calls from Abramoff operative Italia Federici, who would inform him of what Abramoff wanted” and then “Domenech would then convey the message to Smith.” Federici was “a key link between Abramoff and Interior Department officials on gambling issues, though she was running a nonprofit group that was supposed to be focused on environmental issues.”

[Zachary Roth, “Bush Interior Official To Run Virginia Natural Resources Department,” Talking Points Memo, 01/06/10, and Anne Mulkern and Mike Soraghan, “Lobbyists under scrutiny,” Denver Post, 06/18/05]

Both before and after Doug Domenech worked in the George W. Bush administration, he was a federal lobbyist.

After leaving, he lobbied for various energy clients, including Qteros, a biofuels company partly funded by BP.

Doug Domenech, from 1995 to 2001, was the Executive Director at the National Center for Home Education. From 1999 until 2001 he was a registered lobbyist for the Home School Defense Association.

[LinkedIn profile for Doug Domenech, accessed 01/30/17, and “Domenech, Doug,” Center For Responsive Politics, accessed 01/30/17]

From 2009 to 2010 Doug Domenech was a Senior Vice President of, and registered federal lobbyist for, Artemis Strategies, a “Washington, DC based government relations and strategic communications firm.” At Artemis Strategies he lobbied on behalf of various clients, including Walzak Risk Analysis, the Heinz Corporation, the Manufacturers Association of Israel, and the Organization for International Investments.

[“Doug Domenech, Secretary of Natural Resources, Commonwealth of Virginia,” Loudon County Public Schools, accessed 01/30/17, LinkedIn Profile for Doug Domenech, accessed 01/30/17, and “Domenech, Doug,” Center For Responsive Politics, 2009]

While at Artemis Strategies he also had energy companies as clients. He lobbied the federal government on behalf of Public Service Enterprise Group, a New Jersey-based energy company that operates natural gas, coal, and oil-fired electric plants. Public Service Energy Group’s subsidiary PSEG Fossil, in 2007, was forced to pay a $6 million penalty to the EPA for “failure to comply with a 2002 order for upgrades” to reduce pollution.

In 2010, New Jersey State Senator Bob Smith accused Public Service Electric & Gas, a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group, of failing “to pay state-mandated energy surcharges for over a decade” and called for Attorney General Paula Dow to investigate. Smith said the company’s violations “‘may possibly have created a greater burden for the millions of other energy customers in our state.'” At Artemis Strategies, Domenech also lobbied on behalf of Qteros, a biofuels company that “focuses on developing and providing biomass-to-ethanol conversion process technologies.” In addition to other funders, Qteros is funded by both BP and SorosFund Management LLC.

[“Domenech, Doug,” Center For Responsive Politics, accessed 01/30/17, “PSEG Power: Committed to Operational Excellence,” Public Service Enterprise Group, accessed 01/30/17, John Holl, “Public Service Energy Unit To Clean Up Two Coal Plants,” New York Times, 03/18/07, Abby Gruen, ” Probe of PSEG Power surcharges requested,” Star-Ledger, 05/08/10, “Smith Calls On Attorney General To Investigate Allegations Of Pseandg Affiliate’s Decade-Long Free Ride,” States News Service, press release, 05/07/10, “Company Overview of Qteros, Inc.,” Bloomberg, accessed 02/20/17, and “SunEthanol renames as Qteros, raises $25M Series B fund,” Boston Business Journal, 11/18/08]

Doug Domenech was also “a principal at Chrysalis Energy Partners.” Chrysalis Energy Partners was an “energy consulting firm focused on conventional and renewable energy sources.” It was affiliated with Artemis Strategies.

[“Doug Domenech, Secretary of Natural Resources, Commonwealth of Virginia,” Loudon County Public Schools, accessed 01/30/17, LinkedIn Profile for Doug Domenech, accessed 01/30/17, and “Chrysalis Energy Partners to provide green energy consulting,” Electric Light and Power, 02/05/09]

As Virginia’s Secretary of Natural Resources, Doug Domenech was a vocal supporter of drilling off the Virginia coastline, called the potential Atlantic oil reserves like “‘looking at a bunch of Christmas gifts that are wrapped.'”

Domenech was also critical of the EPA’s efforts to clean Chesapeake Bay, regulate greenhouse gasses, and regulate mountaintop mining.

Doug Domenech was “appointed Virginia’s Secretary of Natural resources in January 2010 by Governor Robert F. McDonnell.”

[“Doug Domenech, Secretary of Natural Resources, Commonwealth of Virginia,” Loudon County Public Schools, accessed 01/30/17]

While he was Secretary of Natural Resources, Doug Domenech wanted to sell oil leases off the shore of Virginia. Following the Deepwater oil spill, Domenech said he was “hopeful that we might be able to go forward with a lease sale.” Domenech, who believes whatever Atlantic state starts offshore drilling first “‘will have the advantage,'” said about the speculated oil in the Atlantic Ocean was like “‘looking at a bunch of Christmas gifts that are wrapped.'”

[Alison Fitzgerald, “Virginia Tries to Circumvent Obama on Drilling,” New York Times, 11/13/12, Tennile Tracy, “New Energy Industry Push For Drilling in the Atlantic,” Wall Street Journal, 11/19/12, and Jim Babb, “Domenech Part II: Climate Change, Oil Drilling, Conservation Easements,” Roanoke Times, 6/26/10]

In 2010, Doug Domenech said, “the EPA is really leaning forward in a shocking way with its regulation on the Chesapeake Bay as well as its regulation of greenhouse gasses and mountaintop mining. And there are lots of other new rules coming down the pike.” He continued, “I’m not trying to say that some of those regulations aren’t needed. I’m just saying it will have a big impact on the business climate and every company that employs people in the Commonwealth.

The thing that frustrates me is that we don’t seem to have the capacity in this country to take the economy into account and say, ‘Is there a way we can slow this down until we can pull ourselves out of this very bad economy?’ These things are coming at us in a way that people will lose their jobs, and that scares us more than anything else.”

[Jim Babb, “Domenech: EPA Should Back Off Regulation Until Economy Improves,” The Roanoke Times, 07/12/10]

Since 2015, Doug Domenech has worked as the director of the “Fueling Freedom Project.”

Since 2015, Doug Domenech has worked as the director of the “Fueling Freedom Project,” an entity created by the Texas Public Policy Foundation to trumpet the “‘forgotten moral case for fossil fuels.'” The Texas Public Policy Foundation, whose board of directors is “stacked with oil industry executives and GOP activists,” is also heavily funded by big oil, including ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy, and Koch Industries.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation has received at least $10,000 from ExxonMobil, $5,000 from ConocoPhillips, and $5,000 from Devon Energy, as well as more than $220,000 in funding from Koch brother affiliates, including $159,834 from Koch Industries.

[Forrest Wilder, “Revealed: The Corporations and Billionaires that Fund the Texas Public Policy Foundation,” Texas Observer, 08/24/12, Brooke Rollins and Kathleen Hartnett White, “Doug Domenech Joins TPPF as Director of Fueling Freedom Project,” Texas Public Policy Foundation, 03/30/15, Robin Bravender, “Trump’s energy team overhauled,” Greenwire, 11/21/16, “Revealed: The Corporations and Billionaires that Fund the Texas Public Policy Foundation,” Texas Observer, 08/24/12, and Steven Mufson, “Trump’s energy-policy advisers have ties to oil industry” Washington Post, 11/29/16]

Congressman Raúl Grijalva, in 2015, said “the Texas Public Policy Foundation… received $500,000 in funds from the Charles G. Koch Foundation and $2.5 million from Donors Trust, a think tank that advocates for limited government, from 2003 to 2010.”

[Gayathri Vaidyanathan, “Democrat behind probe of climate scientists targets former Texas official,” ClimateWire, 04/30/15]

“The foundation has a board of directors stacked with oil industry executives and GOP activists.”

[Steven Mufson, “Trump’s energy-policy advisers have ties to oil industry,” The Washington Post, 11/30/16]

Political Connections

Doug Domenech has contributed $24,700 to conservative candidates and causes, including the Republican National Committee, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, George Allen, Dave Brat, and Ken Cuccinelli.

[CQ Political Moneyline Search for Doug Domenech, accessed 01/30/17, and National Institute on Money in State Politics Search for Doug Domenech, accessed 01/30/17]

Other Information

Doug Domenech praised the incoming Trump administration for its pledge to “open federal lands – onshore and offshore – for oil and gas production.”

He claimed that the Obama administration imposed a “restrictive agenda on traditional land management practices on federal lands,” which inhibited energy production.

Doug Domenech, in November 2016, praised the incoming Trump administration for pledging to “open federal lands – onshore and offshore – for oil and gas production.” Domenech also commended them for saying they would revoke “unnecessary restrictions on innovative exploration technologies, [rescinding] the coal mining lease moratorium, and [conducting] a top-down review of all anti-coal regulations issued by the Obama Administration.” Domenech went on to claim that the “Obama Administration…used its power to impose a restrictive agenda on traditional land management practices on federal lands,” which “impeded energy production.”

[Doug Domenech, “What’s Next for Energy and Climate Policy?,” Real Clear Energy, 11/16/16]

Doug Domenech said that he supports “expanded logging in national forests,” because he believes that national forests were “set up to be the wood supplier of America.”

During a 2010 interview Doug Domenech was asked if he would support “expanded logging in national forests.” Domenech responded, “I would hope there would be expanded logging. People have forgotten why we have national forests and why we have national parks. When they were first set up, the idea was that parks would be areas that would be set aside for enjoyment and aesthetics. National forests were initially set up to be the wood supplier of America.

What’s happened over time is the environmental community has continued to ratchet down in such a way that national forests have not been used for logging. And so the payments that the forests would give to local counties in lieu of taxes have been down, and the wood supply has been down. You see that more in the Western U.S., an area very dependent on timber from federal sources. For the most part, sawmills and pulp mills in that part of the country have just gone away because the supply of wood has disappeared. In Virginia, we’re not as dependent on federal forests, so it hasn’t hurt us as badly. And I believe we have officially encouraged the new plan to allow for additional timber cutting on national forests.”

[Jim Babb, “Domenech part II: climate change, oil drilling, conservation easements,” Roanoke Times, 07/25/10]

In December 2015, Doug Domenech wrote that some called BLM’s move “to take thousands of acres of Texas land from homeowners and ranchers along the Red River even though many Texans live on that land” an “outright assault on constitutional principles.” In reality, it had been “30 years since an Oklahoma judge ruled that the land belonged to the federal government, to be overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.” This became a dispute after the BLM decided what to do with the land, despite North Texans having “long considered [it] theirs.”

[Doug Domenech, “America and Executive Fiat,” Townhall, 12/29/15 and Jim Malewitz, “Blurred Lines: Dispute Between Texas, BLM Has Complicated History,” Texas Tribune, 04/28/14]

Doug Domenech, an admitted “climate change skeptic,” believes the issue of climate change “is not settled,” because to him it does not “make sense” that carbon dioxide “would be the driver of climate change.” He has called people trying to combat climate change “climate alarmists.”

In a 2010 interview Doug Domenech said, “I’m all for renewable energy sources, but I would say to you that the science behind climate change is not settled. I know there’s a lot of debate about it.”

In a follow-up question Domenech was asked, “why are you a climate change skeptic?” to which he responded, “there are several reasons, and a lot of it goes back to problems that have surfaced…in the reliability and validity of the research that supports the idea that man is affecting the climate. ‘Climategate’ revealed a pattern of mismanagement of temperature data. They clearly had interference with peer review, where certain research papers were suppressed. It was very overt and embarrassing to the academic community.” He continued, “people forget some basic things: first, that CO2…is a really, really small proportion of the earth’s atmosphere, and that we’re changing that proportion in a very small way.

It seems not to make sense that CO2 would be the driver of climate change. We forget that, when you look at the data, the temperature on earth has always been changing. What would be weird would be if it didn’t change. Over hundreds of thousands of years there have been radical changes in the earth’s temperature. People forget that there were glaciers all throughout North America that melted well before we were using coal for fuel and well before people were driving SUVs. So, there are some factors here that just make me feel this issue is not settled. And we need to rely on solid science as we decide some of these things.”

[Jim Babb, “Domenech part II: climate change, oil drilling, conservation easements,” Roanoke Times, 07/25/10]

In a 2016 editorial, Doug Domenech wrote, “just as with the dire predictions of 1970, climate alarmists are once again predicting the end of the world as we know it” with the “culprit” being “carbon dioxide.” He wrote that for the United States to achieve the target reduction laid out for them in the 2015 Paris United Nations Climate Agreement, the U.S. “would have to wreak havoc on the economy, jobs, and electricity rates – and, in the process, on the lives of millions of people.” He also wrote that the Paris agreement “will not” result in tangible benefits to society.

[Doug Domenech, “Earth Day Betrayed,” National Review, 04/14/16]

In another 2016 editorial, Doug Domenech praised speakers who participated in the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s annual event, saying that the event speakers were a “merry band of warriors” who brought a “dose of sanity to the too often hyperbolic discussion of climate change.” Domenech continued, “the climate change we are experiencing is by no means catastrophic,” and “climate models are like political polling.” He also said that “keeping fossil fuels in the ground is a ridiculous construct.”

[Doug Domenech, “Climate change: Speaking truth to power,” The Hill, 12/13/16]

Doug Domenech argued that halting the EPA’s Clean Power Plan “‘is a victory for all Americans.'”

In response to the Supreme Court’s stay of the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” Doug Domenech said in a press release, “‘the U.S. Supreme Court’s issuance of a stay on the implementation of the so-called Clean Power Plan is a victory for all Americans – and especially those in low-income and marginalized communities who would be hit hardest by this Washington, D.C., scheme that would raise electrical rates for households, deprive communities of power, and deny jobs and prosperity to those who need them most.'”

[Doug Domenech, “TPPF Statement on SCOTUS Stay of Clean Power Plan,” Fueling Freedom Project, 02/09/16]

Doug Domenech supported building a Walmart near a national historic battlefield, arguing “sometimes, we love our history a little too much.”

Doug Domenech, in a 2010 interview, said, “sometimes, we love our history a little too much. I see this with the National Park Service, too, where people not only preserve the important item – the house, the battlefield, the park – but at the same time they want to protect whatever they can see from that area,” including Walmart stores. He continued, “I think, we need to be very careful about that, so that the historians should not be infringing on the private property rights of land that they don’t own.”

[Jim Babb, “Domenech Part II: Climate Change, Oil Drilling, Conservation Easements,” Roanoke Times, 06/26/10]