Former Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman was named president of the nuclear fuel company Centrus Energy in March, after approving or advocating giving hundreds of millions in contracts and other assistance to the company during his five-and-a-half-years at the Energy Department.
The director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a DOE contractor-run lab, said he spoke with Poneman in late March — after he started at the company — about its uranium enrichment centrifuges, which are being developed with DOE funding.
At a White House budget meeting on March 31, 2014 — four weeks after the company declared bankruptcy — Poneman argued that the “USEC situation is acute” and that the company needed federal money promptly, according to notes taken by someone at the meeting.
USEC-Centrus spent a total of $11 million to lobby the federal government during Poneman’s tenure at DOE, despite being in precarious financial shape. Fifty-nine lobbyists pressed the company’s arguments on Capitol Hill, at the White House, DOE, and other federal organizations.
Poneman is not barred under federal ethics rules from giving his new employer strategic advice or telling the company’s lobbyists whom to contact at DOE and which levers the firm needs to pull to get its way in dealings with DOE. His salary is now 700 percent higher than it was at DOE.