White House adviser tapped for FERC chief of staff

Source: Sam Mintz, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A White House senior adviser and former Pennsylvania state lobbyist will become Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chief of staff, an agency spokesman confirmed yesterday.

Anthony Pugliese has been a senior White House adviser since January, according to his LinkedIn profile. He previously worked for Pugliese Associates, a Harrisburg-based lobbying firm started by his father, Rocco Pugliese, that focuses on regulatory and legislative consulting.

He worked for then-state Attorney General Tom Corbett and then for the Republican’s successful 2010 gubernatorial campaign and transition team.

The 2009 graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania also has political ambitions of his own. He’s run twice for a seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, losing in the Republican primaries.

Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, who’s serving as FERC chairman until Jones Day lawyer Kevin McIntyre is confirmed, picked Pugliese as chief of staff. Agency spokesman Craig Cano said the chief of staff serves at the pleasure of the chairman, “so I can’t speculate on what might happen with a new chairman.”

Along with Pugliese, the newly confirmed Chatterjee has also brought on policy adviser Andrea Spring, legal adviser Mindi Sauter and technical adviser Eric Vandenberg, all of whom have held previous positions at FERC. Sauter was a legal and policy adviser to former Commissioner Tony Clark, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Rounding out Chatterjee’s staff are confidential assistant Tracy Adamsky and executive assistant Michelle Brown.

Also staffing up is another new FERC commissioner, Robert Powelson. The former commissioner on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission pulled staffers both from FERC and from his old job. April Ballou, one of his two legal advisers, was Powelson’s counsel and later chief of staff on the PUC.

But FERC is also not new territory to Ballou, who was formerly an attorney in the Office of the General Counsel working on energy market issues from October 2016.

Powelson’s other legal adviser is Brett Rendina, most recently an associate with the law firm McGuireWoods. From August 2013 to September 2015, he was counsel to Powelson at the PUC.

Powelson has also named Meghan Estenson, a FERC program analyst, as his confidential assistant.

The agency is back to a quorum after being unable to approve major decisions for more than six months after the February resignation of Chairman Norman Bay. Along with McIntyre, one other nominee awaiting for Senate confirmation to return the agency to full strength is Democratic Senate aide Richard Glick.

Reporter Rod Kuckro contributed.