This reads like something from The Onion.
Rep. Heath Shuler will go to work for Duke Energy, heading its federal affairs team in Washington once his term ends in January.Now, even though Shuler has to wait a year to formally register it doesn't take great detective skills to piece this one together.
Duke said Shuler, a three-term Democrat who represents North Carolina’s 15 westernmost counties, will become senior vice president of federal affairs on Jan. 4. Shuler had announced in February he wouldn’t run for another term.
The fiscally conservative “Blue Dog” Democrat serves on the House Budget and Transportation and Infrastructure committees. He’s supported legislation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, promote green energy and energy efficiency.
“Heath is well known in Washington for working with leaders from both political parties and for bringing people together in his district,” Keith Trent, Duke’s executive vice president for regulated utilities, said in a statement. Shuler couldn’t be reached Monday.
Shuler will replace vice president Beverly Marshall, who had led the federal affairs team. By law, he won’t be able to directly lobby Congress for a year after his term expires.
Duke’s top federal priorities next year will include tax policies on corporate dividends, a key attraction for its investors, said spokesman Tom Williams.
Here is what Shuler said earlier last summer:
FANG: [There are press reports that] you’re already negotiating for a lobby job…Interestingly, Duke Energy is already pretty good at avoiding taxes. They paid a negative (-3.8%) rate between 2008-2010 but now want an even sweeter deal for their shareholders.
SHULER: (laughs) No. I’m going home with my wife.
FANG: You’re not negotiating with the Majority Group or any of these other lobbying firms on K Street?
SHULER: No, you read it wrong buddy. [...]
FANG: Are you planning on becoming a lobbyist?
SHULER: No! [...]
JILANI: What do you plan to do after you retire?
SHULER: Have a better job than you have, that’s for sure.
As Bold Progressives note,
As a leader in the conservative Blue Dog Democrats, Shuler has been positioning himself for months to push for a debt deal that includes cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits and a lowering of the corporate tax rate that big corporations are seeking. Recall that Duke Energy paid a negative 3.8 percent tax rate between 2008 and 2010 — with Shuler already accepting this new position before even leaving Congress, he can continue to work on the company’s behalf to make sure it dodges federal taxes.And all perfectly legal.