Former U.S. Energy Secretary & DOE Chief of Staff Join Blank Rome Government Relations

May 9, 2016

Press Release

Additions Strengthen Firm’s Energy Practice 

Blank Rome Government Relations LLC is pleased to announce that the Honorable Spencer Abraham, former U.S. Secretary of Energy and former U.S. Senator from Michigan, and Joseph P. McMonigle, former Vice-Chairman of the International Energy Agency and former Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Energy, have joined Blank Rome Government Relations as Principals in the Washington, D.C., office.

“We are thrilled to welcome Spence and Joe to Blank Rome,” said Alan J. Hoffman, Blank Rome’s Chairman and Managing Partner. “As highly regarded advisers in the energy sector and in Washington, we are confident that Spence and Joe will further strengthen our energy, government relations, and policy and political law practices, offering our clients strategic counsel on complex issues, from transactions that require government approvals to strategies and market analysis for international expansion.”

“Blank Rome is a high-caliber firm, with leading professionals in key energy markets such as D.C., Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Houston,” Secretary Abraham said. “That talent, combined with the recent additions from Dickstein Shapiro and our own policy experience, will contribute to a comprehensive service offering aimed at helping our clients see around the curve, identify problem spots, uncover solutions, and implement long-term strategies.”

As principals at Blank Rome, Secretary Abraham and Mr. McMonigle will offer clients a variety of services to assist with new business challenges and opportunities, including the following areas of emphasis:

  • Blank Rome Government Relations and Policy and Political Law: Blank Rome professionals develop and implement strategies for clients who want to impact the legislative or regulatory process, access public funding, or require experienced guidance on a political law matter. The Firm’s Policy and Political Law group is led by Scott Thomas, a former Federal Election Commission Chairman. Firm clients seeking assistance in government and regulatory affairs and political law will receive an even broader base of support with Secretary Abraham and Mr. McMonigle at Blank Rome.
  • Energy: During his tenure as Secretary of Energy, Secretary Abraham developed close working relationships with several leaders of energy and energy-intensive companies. He also launched a number of important energy studies involving CEOs and other top private sector leaders on many energy issues, including clean energy, nuclear, oil and natural gas, coal, hydrogen, and energy efficiency technologies. Secretary Abraham and Mr. McMonigle will bring these relationships and knowledge to Blank Rome’s energy clients and help expand the Firm’s Energy Industry Team, led by Michael Krancer, former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and including partner Frederick Lowther, who focuses his practice on the development of large energy and natural resource projects in the United States and abroad.
  • Energy Financial Services: Blank Rome’s attorneys represent clients at all stages of asset transfers and financing transactions. They routinely advise on structuring acquisitions and dispositions, assist in negotiations, and document the transactions. Secretary Abraham and Mr. McMonigle will complement Blank Rome’s transactional teams with strategic advice, market analysis, government regulatory assistance, and deal flow, as well as advocate to finalize the transaction.
  • Maritime Practice: Blank Rome has one of the largest maritime practices in the United States, with a unique combination of regulatory, legislative, defense, and commercial advice and assistance. Tremendous synergies exist between the maritime and energy sectors, and Secretary Abraham and Mr. McMonigle’s experience will bolster Blank Rome’s maritime practice.
  • International Affairs: Blank Rome’s international experience includes international business transactions, joint ventures, licensing agreements, international trade, patent litigation, CIFIUS approvals, and export compliance. Secretary Abraham and Mr. McMonigle’s international experience and relationships with top officials in foreign governments and ministries from the Middle East, South America, and Asia will be extraordinarily helpful to U.S. companies seeking to operate in international markets. 

In addition to joining Blank Rome Government Relations, Secretary Abraham and Mr. McMonigle will continue to operate their existing business consulting practice, The Abraham Group LLC, which is also based in Washington, D.C.

C.J. Zane, Managing Principal of Blank Rome Government Relations, added, “Spence and Joe have an existing client base that, in addition to business consulting, regularly requires public policy and legal counsel. With them on the team, we now have the excellent combination of government relations experience, coupled with the transactional and regulatory acumen needed to serve any type of energy organization.”

“As a Pennsylvania native, I’m particularly excited to join Blank Rome, whose headquarters in Philadelphia allows for intensive support of the state’s pivotal energy sector,” Mr. McMonigle said. “Blank Rome offers extraordinary value to clients. In particular, we look forward to helping the Firm grow its energy practice and to counseling clients on government regulatory and international matters.”

About Secretary Spencer Abraham

Secretary Abraham served as the tenth Secretary of Energy in United States history from 2001-2005. He helped President Bush devise America's first national energy plan in over a decade and oversaw its implementation. Prior to being named a cabinet member, Secretary Abraham served as an effective and highly productive U.S. Senator from Michigan for six years, where he was the author of 22 pieces of legislation signed into law. He served on the Judiciary, Budget, and Commerce Committees. In addition, he was chairman of two subcommittees: Manufacturing and Competitiveness, and Immigration.

He is a member of the Board of Directors of Occidental Petroleum, NRG Energy, PBF Energy, and Two Harbors Investment Corporation. He attended Michigan State University and Harvard Law School, where he co-founded the Federalist Society.

About Joseph McMonigle

Mr. McMonigle is the former vice-chairman of the Paris-based International Energy Agency, an international organization of oil-consuming countries, whose core mission is to work for stable energy markets and respond with joint measures to meet oil supply emergencies. He also served as chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Energy, a cabinet department with a $23 billion budget and over 100,000 federal and contractor employees (2001-2005). Mr. McMonigle also served as the American co-chair of the U.S.-China Energy Cooperation Working Group and led DOE’s bilateral activities and engagement with China. Before joining the Bush Administration, Mr. McMonigle was the administrative assistant and general counsel to a U.S. Senator. He is also an attorney and member of the Energy Bar Association as well as the Pennsylvania and District of Columbia bars.