White House energy aide lands on K Street

By Robin Bravender | 11/29/2018 08:30 AM EST

A veteran White House energy and environment official has left the administration for a lobbying gig.

A veteran White House energy and environment official has left the administration for a lobbying gig.

Aaron Szabo, who worked on climate and energy policies in the Trump and Obama administrations, started this week at CGCN Group.

He’ll be lobbying primarily on energy issues, according to CGCN spokesman Ken Spain. The group’s clients include the American Petroleum Institute, Duke Energy Corp., TransCanada Corp., the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, Devon Energy Corp., and NextEra Energy Inc.

Aaron Szabo. Photo credit: CGCN Group
Former White House aide Aaron Szabo. | CGCN Group

"Aaron is one of the most experienced energy policy experts in D.C.," said Steve Clark, founder of CGCN. "We are proud to welcome him to the team after a decade of working on some of the biggest energy and environmental issues for both the Obama and Trump administrations."

Szabo was a career staffer in the White House from 2014 until he stepped down last week, according to his LinkedIn profile. He worked in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from 2014 until 2017, when he became an attorney at the Council on Environmental Quality.

His exit is "a big loss for the administration," said George David Banks, a former Trump White House official who focused on international energy policy. "He’s an A player and he did a phenomenal job in helping promote the president’s regulatory rollback policies."

Szabo worked closely in the White House with Mike Catanzaro, Trump’s top domestic energy official who returned to CGCN in April, according to Banks.

"I tried to poach him and move him over to international because he’s that good, and Mike put an end to that," joked Banks, who left the White House in February.

Szabo worked on the Obama administration’s climate rules before he helped to overhaul them under Trump.

For example, he worked on Obama’s Clean Power Plan before he assisted with the Trump team’s proposed replacement, named the Affordable Clean Energy rule. He also worked on methane regulations for both administrations.

Prior to his time at the White House, Szabo spent nearly seven years as an analyst at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

CGCN’s energy team includes Jay Cranford, a former policy adviser to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and Mike Freeman, a former lawyer for the House Natural Resources Committee. Rosemarie Calabro Tully, former spokeswoman for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s top Democrat, Maria Cantwell of Washington, joined CGCN earlier this year.