Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, a senior member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today pressed U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette on Secretary Rick Perry’s role in pressuring the Ukrainian government to make changes to the advisory board of state-owned natural gas company Naftogaz.
Wyden’s questions follow recent testimony by Brouillette about the issue before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources as part of his nomination to succeed Perry as Secretary of the Department of Energy.
Wyden voted against the nomination of Brouillette in Committee earlier this week, citing concerns that Brouillette is witholding information about Perry’s role. Under questioning by Wyden at last week’s confirmation hearing, Brouillette acknowledged Perry held meetings related to restructuring Naftogaz, stating, “I am aware that the Secretary met on occasion with individuals who were asking for assistance with the restructuring, if you will, or reorganization of the state-owned enterprise.” In follow-up written questions, Senator Wyden asked Brouillette to identify who had met with Secretary Perry, but Brouillette declined to do so.
“Anticorruption reforms to the Ukrainian energy sector are of clear American foreign policy interest. It is critical that American taxpayers have confidence that their federal officials are acting for the American people rather than for the President’s private political interests,” Wyden wrote in a letter to Brouillette.
Wyden requested that Brouillette provide answers to the following questions by December 11, 2019:
1. To whom were you referring when you admitted you had knowledge of Secretary Perry’s meetings with individuals seeking changes to Naftogaz?
2. When and where did these meetings take place?
3. Who else from the Department of Energy, if anyone, joined Secretary Perry for these meetings?
4. In addition to these meetings involving Secretary Perry, did the Secretary have any other direct communication, such phone calls, with individuals seeking reorganization of Naftogaz? If so, please identify those communications, the dates they occurred, the individuals involved, and describe the substance of those communications.
5. Have department staff participated in or prepared the Secretary for any meetings in which making changes to the Naftogaz Board was a subject of discussion? If so, please identify those staff and meetings and provide any materials produced by them.
A copy of the letter can be found here.
A web version of this release is here.