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Deregulatory Task Force Members

President Trump’s federal task forces, started in February 2017 and charged with finding regulations to weaken or eliminate, are a relatively new idea. The Trump administration used an Executive Order — No. 13777 — to create a so-called Regulatory Reform Officer, or RRO, and a Regulatory Reform Task Force at each federal agency to identify “costly, burdensome, outdated or unnecessary regulations for repeal or revision.”

Congressional subcommittees found that the 24 major federal agencies were “accomplishing substantial progress” in their efforts to repeal and change regulations. But several agencies have refused to disclose to the public who is on these task forces, how often they meet or their agendas.

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Rebeckah Adcock

Agriculture (joined: April 24, 2017)

Senior Advisor, Office of the Secretary | $170,000 | Financial Disclosure » | Resume »

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Rebeckah Adcock was a senior director of government affairs at CropLife America, the trade association for pesticide manufacturers, where she lobbied USDA. Before that, she was director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation, a trade group for farmers, where her portfolio included “USDA conservation programs.” — ProPublica

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Brittany Bolen

Environmental Protection Agency (joined: April 15, 2018)

Principal Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy | Senior Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy | $161,900 | Financial Disclosure »

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Brittany Bolen was counsel for the Senate’s Environment and Public Works committee, when it was chaired by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK). — ProPublica

Jason louis botel

Jason Louis Botel departed Oct. 13, 2018

Education (joined: Jan. 20, 2017)

Senior White House Advisor | Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary | $179,700 | Financial Disclosure »

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Jason Botel was the executive director of MarylandCAN, a Maryland education reform group and state branch of 50CAN, which has supported pro-charter school policies. — ProPublica

Bio, via Department of Education via Internet Archive:

Jason first began his service at the Department of Education in the role of Senior White House Advisor for Education. Botel started his career teaching at Booker T. Washington Middle School in West Baltimore as a Teach For America corps member and went on to serve as founding principal and executive director of KIPP Baltimore. Most recently, he was the executive director of MarylandCAN. Botel holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in education administration and supervision from National-Louis University.

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  • 50CAN Executive Director
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Gary Michael Brown

Energy (joined: Jan. 20, 2017)

Executive Advisor | Deputy General Counsel for Compliance | $179,700 | Financial Disclosure »

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Michael Brown was a director for The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a trade group representing electricity, coal and railroad interests. After that, he did market development and government relations work for Chesapeake Energy, the petroleum and gas company. — ProPublica

Bio, via LinkedIn:

G. Michael Brown was the Political Director for Dr. Ben Carson’s campaign for president. In this capacity Michael led the campaign’s 150+ person political team across the country including the early primary/caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Prior to joining the campaign Michael served as Chesapeake Energy Corporation’s manager for Market Development and Government Relations in Texas. In this position he handled state-specific issues, advocated for increased demand for compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, and managed a nation-wide public speaking and advocacy portfolio within the oil and gas sector. Michael’s past political work includes serving as a campaign manager, attorney or operative for numerous candidates, political operations, and ballot initiatives throughout the country. In addition to campaigns, Michael served as a White House Intern and as a press secretary for the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. during the second Bush Administration. Michael earned his law degree from the University of Missouri where he served as the Associate Editor-in-Chief for the school’s environment and energy law journal and studied international law at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. Michael also has a BA in History from Texas Tech University and a Masters of Public Affairs (MPA) from the Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri. Michael is a 6th generation Texan who enjoys traveling, sports and fostering rescue dogs until they find a permanent home.

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Byron R. Brown

Environmental Protection Agency (joined: March 5, 2017)

Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy | AD-00 | Financial Disclosure »

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Byron Brown was senior counsel for the Senate’s Environment and Public Works, when it was chaired by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), and prior to that was an attorney at EPA. His wife is a top lobbyist for Hess Corporation, an oil and gas company. — ProPublica

Bio, via U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works:

Brown comes from the House Committee on Natural Resources where he served as counsel and oversight director since 2011. Prior, Brown worked in the Office of General Counsel at the EPA from 2001-2011, serving as an associate deputy general counsel and assistant general counsel.

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Brian Richard Callanan

Treasury (joined: March 9, 2017)

Deputy General Counsel

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Before taking the post at Treasury, Brian Callanan had just started as a partner at the law firm Cooper and Kirk, where his focus was regulatory litigation and government investigations. He was granted a waiver to work on an issue related to litigation other attorneys at his old firm were working on. He was previously staff director and general counsel of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). — ProPublica

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Scott J. Cameron

Interior (joined: Jan. 20, 2017)

Special Assistant to the Secretary | Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary | $170,000 | Financial Disclosure » | Resume »

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Scott Cameron founded and was president of a non-profit organization called the "Reduce Risks From Invasive Species Coalition," which has received money from Syngenta, a pesticide company that has been lobbying the Interior Department, and other industry groups. He also worked for Dawson and Associates and worked as an advisor to several companies, including an Interior contractor. Before that, he was at Interior himself. — ProPublica

Former Compensation Sources

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James E. Cason

Interior (joined: Jan. 20, 2017)

Special Assistant to the Secretary | Associate Deputy Secretary | $179,700 | Financial Disclosure » | Resume »

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James Cason has worked for the Interior Department under past Republican administrations, but had to withdraw from consideration for a post at the Department of Agriculture amid Democratic concerns about his environmental stances. — ProPublica

Earl comstock

Earl Comstock

Commerce (joined: Jan. 30, 2017)

Director, Office of Policy and Strategic Planning | $179,700 | Financial Disclosure »

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Earl Comstock previously advocated on behalf of telecommunications, marine fishery, and maritime clients. He worked for the law firm Eckert Seamans, was principal of Comstock Consulting and served as president of a trade association representing Internet and telecommunications companies. He directly lobbied Commerce on behalf of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, an association of whale hunters. — ProPublica

Bio, via Practicing Law Institute via Internet Archive:

Earl Comstock focuses his practice on Federal legislative and regulatory matters. He has experience in drafting complex legislation and more than 20 years of experience advising clients who have legislative, regulatory or legal issues related to telecommunications, the Internet, and emerging communications technologies. Earl also has experience with legislative and regulatory issues involving natural resource development. Earl has over a decade of Congressional experience as legislative director for Senator Ted Stevens (RAlaska) and professional staff for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. During that time, he negotiated and drafted more than a dozen major bills that were enacted into law, including the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996. Since leaving Capitol Hill in 1997, Earl has been a partner in another law firm, President and CEO of COMPTEL, a trade organization representing competitive telecommunications and Internet companies, and a consultant. He has testified before Congress and represented clients before Congress, Federal agencies and international organizations. He brings a wealth of practical experience for clients seeking innovative solutions to problems involving the Federal legislative or regulatory process in Washington, DC.

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Stephen John Cox

Justice (joined: March 5, 2017)

Deputy Associate Attorney General | $175,500

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Stephen Cox was corporate counsel for Apache Corporation, a petroleum and natural gas exploration and production company, where, among other things, he gave advice on regulatory challenges and multiple state and federal investigations, according to his Linkedin profile. Before that, he served a stint in the Federal Bureau of Investigation and represented clients, including BP, as an attorney at the law firm WilmerHale, where he counseled multinational companies on compliance issues and investigations relating to anti­corruption laws, trade sanctions, export controls, political lobbying, immigration and hydraulic fracturing. — ProPublica

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Michael R. Downing

General Services Administration (joined: Jan. 20, 2017)

Senior Advisor | White House Liaison | Deputy Chief of Staff | $145,000 | Financial Disclosure »

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Michael Downing worked for the Pennsylvania Republican Party. — ProPublica

Bio, via General Services Administration:

Downing previously held a number of senior political and state government positions in Pennsylvania. Most recently, he served as the Deputy Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Republican Party. He formerly served as the Deputy Director of Public Liaison to the Governor of Pennsylvania, where he managed the executive nominations and appointments made by the Governor to more than 400 boards and commissions. Prior to this, Downing served as political outreach director and deputy political director for the Republican Party of Pennsylvania. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Loyola College in Maryland.

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Samantha dravis

Samantha Dravis departed April 5, 2018

Environmental Protection Agency (joined: Feb. 27, 2017)

Associate Administrator for Policy | Senior Policy Counsel And Associate Administrator For Policy | $179,700 | Financial Disclosure »

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Samantha Dravis was general counsel for the Republican Attorneys General Association, president of its Rule of Law Defense Fund and an attorney at Freedom Partners - an organization of conservative political donors led by billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch, owners of a conglomerate that sells coal, gas and other products. — ProPublica

Bio, via Environmental Protection Agency:

Prior to serving at EPA, Samantha worked as President of the Rule of Law Defense Fund, a 501(c)(4) public policy organization affiliated with the Republican Attorneys General Association. She has also previously served as Associate Director of Political Affairs at the White House during the administration of President George W. Bush, as Legislative Assistant to Congressman Dan Lungren of California, and as a litigation associate at the law firm Taft, Stettinius & Hollister. Samantha is an honors graduate of the University of Kansas and the University of Notre Dame Law School, where she was Executive Solicitation Editor of the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics, and Public Policy. She resides in Arlington, Virginia.

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Elaine Costanzo Duke

Homeland Security (joined: April 4, 2017)

Deputy Secretary | Financial Disclosure »

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Elaine Duke was principal of Elaine Duke & Associates, which provided acquisition and business consulting. Her prior experience, at DHS, was one of the firm's selling points. She had advocated policy reforms at the agency. — ProPublica

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David Thomas Eagles

Housing and Urban Development (joined: May 16, 2017)

Chief Operations Officer | $175,000 | Financial Disclosure »

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David Eagles worked for the Center for Presidential Transition, an organization dedicated to ensuring that future presidential hand-offs are as seamless as possible. Before that, he worked for Waste Management. The agency said he has replaced Maren Kasper. — ProPublica

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Robert Scott Eitel

Education (joined: Feb. 13, 2017)

Special Assistant to the Secretary | Special Counselor to the Secretary | $161,900 | Financial Disclosure »

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Bob Eitel was vice president for regulatory legal services at Bridgepoint Education Inc., an operator of for-profit colleges, during federal investigations into the company. He was also vice president of regulatory operations for another for-profit college operator, Career Education Corporation, and was director of its political action committee. According to the agency, he has recused himself from matters relating to both of those former employers. — ProPublica

Bio, via Republican National Lawyers Association via Internet Archive:

Robert Eitel, a founding member of Talbert & Eitel, PLLC, advises clients on education-related legislation, regulations, guidance, and cases. His clients include institutions of higher education, charter school organizations, accrediting agencies, professional and trade associations, advocacy groups, and non-profit entities. Mr. Eitel’s diverse practice encompasses accreditation, administrative law, admissions, civil rights, financial aid, campus safety, student privacy, compliance, records retention, grants, and elementary and secondary school legislation. He also handles employment disputes, responses to government investigations, and litigation matters. From 2006 to 2009, Mr. Eitel served as Deputy General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Education, where he provided legal advice on important authorities governing the education sector, including the Higher Education Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Mr. Eitel also supervised the Department's bill drafting and legal review of testimony before Congress and counseled senior officials on employment and human resources matters, affirmative action issues, Congressional oversight requests, compliance with records retention and electronic discovery rules, responses to Inspector General investigations, and Departmental governance. He served as Senior Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department from 2005 to 2006. Before coming to the Office of the General Counsel, Mr. Eitel practiced law in New Orleans, Louisiana, where his litigation and counseling practice included employment discrimination matters, complex commercial litigation, bankruptcy proceedings, copyright infringement cases, professional liability claims, and tort suits. An experienced litigator who has tried cases in federal and state court, he has represented clients in proceedings in a variety of jurisdictions. Mr. Eitel is a member of the District of Columbia and Louisiana State Bar Associations, as well as the National Association of College and University Attorneys, the Education Law Association, and the Alliance of Public Charter School Attorneys. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and all federal and bankruptcy courts located in Washington, D.C. and Louisiana. He is a graduate of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy's Trial Skills and Deposition Skills programs.

Former Positions Outside Government

Travis scott fisher

Travis Scott Fisher

Energy (joined: Jan. 20, 2017)

Assistant to the Secretary, Office Of The Secretary | Senior Advisor, Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability | $112,021 | Financial Disclosure »

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Travis Fisher was an economist focusing on the electricity grid for the Institute for Energy Research, a conservative think tank that has opposed efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions and that has received funding from the American Petroleum Institute and the Charles Koch Institute. Prior to that, he was an economist at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. — ProPublica

Bio, via Institute for Energy Research:

Travis Fisher is an IER economist. Fisher comes to IER with seven years of experience as an economist with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In his role, Fisher oversees research and analysis on electricity issues and will help expand IER's research on electricity markets, FERC, and grid reliability issues. Fisher graduated with a B.S. and M.E. in Economics North Carolina State University.

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William p greene

William P. Greene departed May 23, 2017

Energy (joined: Jan. 20, 2017)

Assistant to the Secretary, Office Of The Secretary | $149,337 | Financial Disclosure »

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Bill Greene helped lead government affairs for Safari Club International, the hunter advocacy organization, and consulted for Frontiers of Freedom, a free market group that has published criticism of the Energy Department’s support for renewable power. Prior to that, he was an aide to former House Speaker John Boehner and held posts at the White House and the Energy Department during the George W. Bush administration. — ProPublica

Bio, via Safari Club International:

Safari Club International has added veteran Capitol Hill staffer Bill Greene to its hunter advocacy team based in its Washington, DC office. Greene will serve as Deputy Director of Government Affairs. He most recently served as Director of Outreach for Speaker John Boehner, where he built a network of opinion leaders, coalition partners, and elected officials to help drive messaging and focus grassroots efforts during legislative consideration. Greene began his Congressional service in 1995 as a speechwriter for the House Republican Conference during the initial 100 days of the Contract with America. He later worked as a personal office press secretary and as a communications director at the House Budget Committee. During President George W. Bush’s administration, Greene worked in the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives and at the Department of Energy on the Yucca Mountain Project. At the White House Greene helped assemble a coalition of forestry, conservation, fishing, and hunter advocacy groups that supported passage and enactment of the President’s Healthy Forests Restoration Act in 2003. Greene returned to Capitol Hill in 2007, supporting then-Republican Leader Boehner’s rise to the speakership in 2011 beginning with the roll out of the Pledge to America. Greene finished college at age 30 after enlisted service in the U.S. Army and several years in the blue-collar ranks, mostly as a land surveyor. He holds a BA in political science from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and also attended the Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies at the University of Oxford in England. He claims Spartanburg, South Carolina as home. His wife, Loretta Solon Greene, serves on the Texas State Society Board. They have three children, Julia, Tommy, and Isabella, and reside in the Mount Vernon area of Alexandria, Virginia.

Former Positions Outside Government

Holly ham

Holly Ham

Education (joined: Jan. 20, 2017)

Special Assistant to the Secretary | $131,767 | Financial Disclosure »

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Holly Ham was a data adviser for the Trump campaign, and a sales executive for Hewlett-Packard, which has lobbied the Department of Education and has vied for agency contracts. The agency said that she didn't work on education policy at HP and has also recused herself from working on issues related to the company. — ProPublica

Bio, via White House via Internet Archive:

Ms. Ham has had a long career in private enterprise as a management consultant and sales executive at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. Ms. Ham earned her BBA and MBA, with a focus on finance, from the University of Houston, graduating as a member of Beta Gamma Sigma. Ms. Ham is an APAWLI fellow through The Center for Asian Pacific American Women’s leadership program. Ms. Ham has long been involved in efforts supporting families and students in need, serving on the Board of Directors for Skills for Living, Inc. and advising the Board of Financial Mentors of America.

Former Positions Outside Government

Former Compensation Sources

  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise The Sales Executive has accountability for a set quota for business development with new and recurring sales. This role focused on clients and sales in the Energy sector in North America.
Candice jackson

Candice Jackson

Education (joined: April 6, 2017)

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Strategic Operations and Outreach, Office for Civil Rights | $165,000 | Financial Disclosure »

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Candice Jackson worked for Judicial Watch and ran her own law firm. While at Stanford University, she wrote that she was disappointed that she was ineligible to join a study group because it was only offered to students of color. — ProPublica

Bio, via LinkedIn:

After developing excellent litigation skills with the non-profit legal watchdog organization Judicial Watch, I opened my own private practice in southern California, representing a diverse clientele in transactional and litigation matters ranging from anti-discrimination claims to business start-ups and film production. From March 2008 to August 2009, I worked for a premier West Coast law firm headquartered in Portland, Oregon, Bullivant Houser Bailey PC, where I expanded my practice to include Oregon and Washington clients. I am originally from the Pacific Northwest, so it has been wonderful being back in the Portland-Vancouver community representing clients up and down the West Coast in business, anti-discrimination, entertainment, and litigation matters. I have enjoyed working for a wide range of clients, from restaurants to medical clinics, and from authors and musicians to independent filmmakers and record labels, as well as employees, students, and citizens whose civil rights may have been violated. I also appreciate staying connected to my alma maters, Stanford University and Pepperdine University School of Law. I believe in being part of a team to help any person, business, or creative endeavor succeed, achieve dreams, correct injustices, and make the world a better place.

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Ryan jackson

Ryan Jackson

Environmental Protection Agency (joined: Feb. 22, 2017)

Chief of Staff | $179,700 | Financial Disclosure »

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Ryan Jackson was a longtime aide to Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), and most recently his chief of staff. — ProPublica

Bio, via Environmental Protection Agency:

Mr. Jackson joined EPA after nearly 20 years working in the U.S. Senate, first as counsel to the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and later as chief of staff to U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma). As the staff director of the Committee, he coordinated a legislative and oversight plan for Chairman Inhofe that resulted in: the first long-term reauthorization of the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure in 10 years, the enactment of the Frank R Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act for the 21st Century (the first major federal environmental statute rewrite in 20 years), and a new Water Resources Development Act that prioritized funding for national ports and water infrastructure. In all, his leadership contributed to the enactment of over 60 statutes. While working in Congress, Mr. Jackson also worked closely with EPA on new state permitting for coal ash disposal and regulation, and on the reauthorization of the Brownfields program to promote beneficial use and new economic development for these areas. Previously, Mr. Jackson was an assistant district attorney in Oklahoma's 14th Judicial District, which covers Tulsa and Pawnee counties. A native of Oklahoma City, Mr. Jackson received his B.A. in public administration and political science from the University of Oklahoma, and his law degree from Oklahoma City University.

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Virginia H. Johnson departed July 17, 2017

Interior (joined: Jan. 20, 2017)

Special Assistant to the Secretary | Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary For Fish and Wildlife and Parks | $161,900 | Financial disclosure not required to be publicly released for this position | Resume »

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Virginia Johnson was director of federal relations for North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, a staffer in the House, a legislative affairs advisor for the Department of Defense and a lobbyist for Red Cross. — ProPublica

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Daniel Jorjani

Interior (joined: Jan. 20, 2017)

Special Assistant to the Secretary | Principal Deputy Solicitor | $170,000 | Financial Disclosure » | Resume »

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Daniel Jorjani previously worked for groups connected to the billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch, owners of a conglomerate that sells coal, gasoline and other products. The groups include the Charles Koch Institute, the Charles Koch Foundation and Freedom Partners, an organization of conservative political donors led by the Koch brothers. — ProPublica

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Maren M. Kasper

Housing and Urban Development (joined: Jan. 20, 2017)

Senior White House Advisor | Executive Vice President (Policy), Government National Mortgage Association | $175,000 | Financial Disclosure »

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Maren Kasper was previously a director at Roofstock, an Oakland-based online marketplace for investors in single-family rental properties, and continues to own up to a $50,000 stake in the company. Before that, she was an investment associate at Dwell Finance, a financing company for investors of single-family homes. The agency said that she moved in June from the task force to a new position, and formally recused herself from dealing with issues that would affect Roofstock. — ProPublica

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Benjamin Nikowa Keel

Agriculture (joined: Nov. 26, 2017)

Director, Tribal Relations | Financial Disclosure » | Resume »

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Ben Keel was previously a senior field director for North Dakotans for Common Sense Conservation, a political organization funded by agriculture and energy industry groups that successfully defeated a measure to use oil tax revenue on environmental programs. — ProPublica

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Benjamin Nikowa KeelTransferred to Agriculture

White House Office

| $94,796 | Financial Disclosure »

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Ben Keel was previously a senior field director for North Dakotans for Common Sense Conservation, a political organization funded by agriculture and energy industry groups that successfully defeated a measure to use oil tax revenue on environmental programs. — ProPublica

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