Ex-Pence chief of staff signs up for biofuels group

Source: Kevin Bogardus, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, May 19, 2017

Biofuels advocacy group Fuels America has bolstered its K Street team in bringing on a former senior aide to Vice President Mike Pence.

Lobbying disclosure records released by the Senate last week show the group has hired Bill Smith, who has served in several positions for Pence in recent years, including campaign manager and chief of staff in Pence’s congressional and Indiana governor’s offices.

Records show Smith, now president and CEO of government relations firm Sextons Creek, has been lobbying for Fuels America since April 1.

Smith founded the firm in 2014 after leaving the Indiana governor’s office. He signed up his first federal lobbying clients earlier this year, including Verizon Communications Inc. and several subcontracts for AT&T Inc., General Dynamics Corp. and Microsoft Corp. via another firm, Fidelis Government Relations.

Fuels America’s hire of Smith could help the biofuels industry make its case to the Trump administration on the renewable fuel standard.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, also an adviser to President Trump, has proposed shifting the RFS’s so-called point of obligation for blending ethanol into gasoline, which the biofuels group opposes.

Fuels America has several firms working on its behalf already, such as Cassidy & Associates Inc. and the Glover Park Group LLC. It has spent $370,000 on lobbying so far this year, according to records.