Source: | Hannah Northey | March 17, 2017

Brian McCormack

Brian McCormack, a well-connected political consultant formerly with the Edison Electric Institute, is now serving as chief of staff at the Energy Department under Secretary Rick Perry. Photo by the Southern States Energy Board, courtesy of Flickr.

A well-connected political consultant for electric utilities and former George W. Bush administration official is Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s chief of staff.

Brian McCormack — a former White House aide, a strategist at the Edison Electric Institute and a familiar face on Capitol Hill — is working for Perry, a Department of Energy spokesman confirmed. DOE hasn’t made a formal announcement.

McCormack’s last day with EEI was March 2, the same day the Senate confirmed Perry, according to Brian Reil, a spokesman for the industry group.

As chief of staff, McCormack is helping manage DOE’s $30 billion budget, 13,500 employees and 104,000 contractors. Past chiefs of staff have also helped implement the secretary’s policy initiatives.

A DOE career employee who’s not authorized to speak to the press and asked to remain anonymous said McCormack’s presence is reassuring given his energy experience and EEI’s acknowledgement of climate change.

EEI has described climate change as “one of the biggest energy and environmental policy challenges this country has ever faced” and has backed cap-and-trade legislation in the past. Several high-ranking Trump administration officials — notably, U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt — have questioned the notion of human-induced climate change despite scientific consensus on the issue.

Prior to EEI, McCormack held several posts in the Bush administration, including deputy assistant to the president for strategic initiatives and external affairs from October 2007 to January 2009.

He also served as a special assistant in the Department of Defense to Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, presidential envoy to Iraq, and later to Ken Krieg in the Office of Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.