Crossing a lot of our desks at NEI today is a profile of one of our newest employees, Alex Flint, who joined NEI as Vice President of Government Affairs earlier this year.
It's your typical revolving door ethics story, one where activist groups who try to conceal their own conflicts of interest try to slime a former public servant in the absence of any evidence.
Nobody alleges that Flint did anything illegal. Neither the law nor Senate rules prohibited Flint from leaving the Energy Committee post after three years in which he helped develop policy and shepherd legislation on nuclear issues and going directly to work as NEI’s senior vice president for governmental affairs.What the original story didn't disclose was the long and well documented history of both U.S. PIRG and Public Citizen as part of the vanguard of anti-nuclear activism (click here and here for just two examples). As we've seen before, while organizations like Public Citizen and U.S. PIRG demand transparency from their political enemies, they can't seem to live up to the same standards.
And one Washington watchdog says Flint's career path is hardly surprising in today's environment, where congressional staff jobs are viewed by many as a "stepping stone to riches."
Critics like Gary Kalman of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group say Flint's case is especially troubling in light of the fact that the Senate panel had recently finished work on legislation that included billions of dollars in research, construction and operating subsidies, and billions more in tax breaks for the well-heeled nuclear energy industry.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 was a key focus of the committee’s work in Flint’s tenure as staff director. Its provisions, which became law when signed by President Bush last August, were labeled "The Best Energy Bill Corporations Could Buy" by Public Citizen and delighted the nuclear industry.
In any case, this story has something of a happy ending. My colleague Steve Kerekes just told me that MSNBC reporter Mike Stuckey has agreed to update the story to reflect the fact that both U.S. PIRG and Public Citizen have a significant axe to grind with our industry.
Just another thing to keep in mind when you scan the headlines.
Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Power, Energy, Electricity, Congress, Ethics