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Advisor to the Office of Water and Science at the Department of the Interior

Since February 2017, Ryan Nichols has worked as an advisor to the Office of Water and Science in the Department of the Interior. The Office of Water and Science “oversees… the US Geological Survey and the Bureau of Reclamation.”

Before joining Donald Trump’s Department of Interior, Ryan Nichols worked at a “prominent college campus-based hub of the climate denial machine” and on the political campaigns of Republicans running for office in Virginia. For the past five years, Nichols has worked for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that has taken in millions from Chevron, ExxonMobil, and the “family foundations of the oil billionaire Koch brothers.”

Sources: [Steve Horn, “Former Koch Agents, Fossil Fuel Industry Hired Guns Now Staffing Trump’s Federal Agencies,” DeSmog Blog, 03/10/17, Ken Silverstein, “The Great Think- Tank Bubble,” New Republic, 02/19/13, Andrew Seifter and Denise Robbins, “Media Disclosure Guide: Here Are The Industry-Funded Groups Attacking The EPA’s Climate Plan,” Media Matters, 07/31/15, and LinkedIn Profile for Ryan Nichols, accessed 06/19/17]

Special Interests

Federalism In Action (Political Extremism)

While at Heritage, Nichols co-organized a Western lands management event with Federalism in Action, a group affiliated with organizations funded by the Koch brothers that has fought for the transfer of federal lands to the states.

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Heritage Foundation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Nichols worked at the Heritage Foundation, which has received almost $800,000 from ExxonMobil and millions from the family foundations of the oil billionaire Koch brothers.

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Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Nichols worked as development director for CFACT, a prominent college campus-based hub of the climate denial machine.

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Texas Public Policy Foundation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

While at Heritage, Nichols co-hosted an energy event with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a think tank funded by oil interests including the Koch brothers, TXU Energy, Oncor, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Devon Energy, and ConocoPhillips.

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Background Information

Previous Employers

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Ryan Nichols “served as development director for the Committee For a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a prominent college campus-based hub of the climate denial machine.”

[Steve Horn, “Former Koch Agents, Fossil Fuel Industry Hired Guns Now Staffing Trump’s Federal Agencies,” Desmog Blog, 03/10/17]

For more than five years, Ryan Nichols worked for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that has taken in millions from Chevron, ExxonMobil, and the “family foundations of the oil billionaire Koch brothers.”

Heritage’s board and trustee members include private equity and venture capital financiers, a managing director of Morgan Stanley, and the President & CEO of Forbes.

From 2011 to 2017, Ryan Nichols served “as an associate director for the Republican Party-allied think-tank, the Heritage Foundation, which has a federal budget blueprint already borrowed by the Trump administration and another plan recently released for Sec. Perry and the Department of Energy.”

[Steve Horn, “Former Koch Agents, Fossil Fuel Industry Hired Guns Now Staffing Trump’s Federal Agencies,” Desmog Blog, 03/10/17]

Heritage Foundation donors “include major companies like Boeing and Chevron and conservative foundations such as the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.”

[Ken Silverstein, “The Great Think- Tank Bubble,” New Republic, 02/19/13]

“The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank that has received almost $800,000 from ExxonMobil and millions from the family foundations of the oil billionaire Koch brothers. Heritage claims that the impacts of man-made climate change are a matter of ‘personal opinions’ and the Clean Power Plan poses serious ‘threats.'”

[Andrew Seifter and Denise Robbins, “Media Disclosure Guide: Here Are The Industry-Funded Groups Attacking The EPA’s Climate Plan,” Media Matters, 07/31/15]

Thomas Saunders, the Chairman of the Heritage Foundation founded “Saunders Karp & Megrue, a private equity firm, in 1990.” He previously “served as a managing director of Morgan Stanley & Co. from 1974 to 1989.”

[“Thomas A. Saunders III,” Heritage Foundation, accessed 04/24/17]

Steven Forbes, President and CEO of Forbes, is a trustee of the Heritage Foundation.

[Board of Trustees, Heritage Foundation, accessed 04/24/17]

William Walton, founder and chairman of private equity firm, Rappahannock Ventures, is a trustee of the Heritage Foundation.

[Board of Trustees, Heritage Foundation, accessed 04/24/17 and “William L. Walton,” Heritage Foundation, accessed 04/24/17]

Mark Kolokotrones, founder of a financial services firm, Castle Knoll Investments, and venture capital firm, Knight and Bishop, is a trustee of the Heritage Foundation.

[Board of Trustees, Heritage Foundation, accessed 4/24/17 and “Mark A. Kolokotrones,” Heritage Foundation, accessed 04/24/17]

At the Heritage Foundation, Ryan Nichols organized “Western lands management” events with Federalism in Action (FIA) and an “Energy & Climate Policy Summit” with the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF).

FIA is affiliated with “organizations funded by the Koch brothers and other donors pushing right-wing causes” and TPPF is a right-wing think tank bankrolled by big oil.

While at the Heritage Foundation, Ryan Nichols “co-organized with Federalism in Action a nationally televised event and a coalition strategy meeting on the issue of Western lands management with the Utah Speaker and 26 other influential leaders” with Federalism in Action, “co-hosted the 2016 Crossroads Energy & Climate Policy Summit” with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and helped organize “annual environmental symposiums.”

[Department of the Interior, FOIA Response, 06/07/17]

Federalism in Action is a “South Carolina-based group affiliated with organizations funded by the Koch brothers and other donors pushing right-wing causes” and has fought for the transfer of federal lands to the states.

[Brian Maffly, “Utah’s Ken Ivory recruiting ‘leaders’ to launch grass-roots lands-transfer movement,” Salt Lake Tribune, 02/03/16]

The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) is a right-wing think tank bankrolled by oil interests throughout the industry, including the Koch brothers, TXU Energy, Oncor, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Devon Energy, ConocoPhillips, Associated Electric Companies of Texas, and NRG Energy. TPPF “has a board of directors stacked with oil industry executives and GOP activists.”

[“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]

Financials

Nichols, Ryan – 278e 2017 Annual Report (certified 7.13.2018)

Source: Office of Government Ethics

Department of the Interior salary: $94,796

[Ryan Nichols, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/15/18]