- Months after announcing his resignation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Jon Wellinghoff stepped down on Sunday.
- FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur becomes acting head of the federal agency.
- Wellinghoff is joining the law firm of Stoel Rives, a move announced in October.
Wellinghoff submitted his resignation in May, but was staying on until a replacement was named. That hasn't happened yet. President Obama selected Ron Binz to be FERC chairman, but his nomination ran into opposition and in early October Binz withdrew his nomination.
Last month, Wellinghoff said he would take a job with Stoel Rives after he left FERC. Some senators believed it was a conflict of interest for Wellinghoff to remain at FERC, which could affect Stoel Rives clients.
U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) is happy Wellinghoff set a date for retiring. “This was the right decision,” Barrasso said Thursday. “Chairman Wellinghoff should have left FERC as soon as he accepted his new job. It was completely inappropriate for him to continue to work at the FERC while continuing to influence decisions that affect his new employer. His resignation will help restore the public’s confidence in the integrity of the Commission’s decisions and lift the cloud over the agency as a whole.”
The guessing game has begun on who Obama will name to fill the empty FERC seat.