Jack Gerard has served as President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute since November, 2008. Gerard was born and raised in Idaho, moving to George Washington University to obtain a B.A. in Political Science and a subsequent law degree.
Prior to assuming his current position at API, Jack Gerard worked as the President of the American Chemistry Council from 2005-2008 and before that as the President of the National Mining Association from 2001-2005. Gerard obtained his initial political foothold throughout the 1980s while working for Representative George Hansen (R-ID) and Senator James McClure (R-ID), chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
According to Fortune, Gerard's position as Big Oil's top lobbyist gives him "unprecedented direct and regular access to the CEOs of his most important member companies, including ExxonMobil's former CEO Rex Tillerson and ConocoPhillips' James Mulva."
Gerard's salary was $6.4 million in 2010, among the very top compensation figures among nonprofit executives as well as among DC professionals. The Washington Post quoted API employees referring to Jack Gerard as "a political animal," a "hard-nosed guy," and "Voldemort." Upon taking over API's top leadership position, Gerard quickly cut expenditures by firing employees. The Post also wrote, "some lobbyists say Gerard is doing exactly what Big Oil expects of him, taking flak on controversial issues while corporate executives end up looking reasonable and moderate by comparison."
"When industries are confronted by challenges, they tend to get shellshocked and step back into the foxhole. [...] My philosophy is the opposite. Industries need someone to step forward and make the case when people don't understand them. [...] Because there's a lot of anxiety in the Congress about the industry, we have to step forward and be compelling in our advocacy. It's not a time to be bashful. The more transparent the discussion, the better off we'll be."
-Washington Post, June 17, 2008
“To be clear, API will provide the up-front resources [for its Energy Citizens rallies] to ensure logistical issues do not become a problem.”
“[W]e don’t want critics to know our game plan.”
-Leaked memo from Gerard to API affiliates, August 12, 2009
“What we’ve learned is that the public probably doesn’t understand or appreciate us as much as we’d like them to.”
-Politico, July 21, 2009
“[EPA Endangerment Finding] action poses a threat to every American family and business if it leads to regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Such regulation would be intrusive, inefficient, and excessively costly."
-Reuters, December 7, 2009
“We have always encouraged our employees to engage in political activities.”
-Greenwire, August 17, 2010
As the premier lobbying organization for the oil and gas industry, Jack Gerard has overseen $30 million in federal lobbying expenditures over the from 2007 to 2011 (quarter 3). While Jack Gerard says "energy is not about Republicans, not about Democrats," 70% of API's political donations go to Republicans.
In the summer of 2010, after Gerard took a weeklong international trip (focused on adoption) with Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), the Senator blocked an appointment by the Obama administration in order to hasten the lift of an offshore drilling moratorium put in place following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil gusher.
Gerard is close to 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (R-MA), a fellow Mormon. Gerard's family has donated over $7,000 to the Romney 2012 campaign, noting that the Romney's "have asked us to support them, and we have."
Jack Gerard has lobbied at the White House at least twice since President Obama took office, including againist Ozone (smog) regulations alongside high-ranking members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the NPRA (now AFPM--American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers), the National Association of Manufacturers, and the American Chemistry Council, speaking directly to top administration officials, such as Cass Sunstein at OMB's information and regulatory affairs division and EPA's Gina McCarthy. The White House ordered EPA not to enforce the Ozone rule less than a month after the meeting.
In March 2010, after President Obama urged Congress to end billions in annual taxpayer handouts to the oil industry, Gerard claimed that the President was trying to "punish the oil and natural gas industry through tax policy." The top five oil and gas companies operating in the U.S., which are all API members, have made profits of over one trillion dollars in the last ten years.
'Energy Citizens' Leaked Memo:
A leaked memo written by Jack Gerard in August, 2009 revealed that API, in cooperation with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers was coordinating “Energy Citizens” rallies as a way to increase political pressure against climate and energy legislation. This effort to create an apparent network of anti-climate legislation grassroots activists was funded directly by the oil and gas industry, and industry workers were actually bused to rallies by employers such as Chevron. The majority of these rallies were organized by oil industry lobbyists.
Vote 4 Energy advertising campaign:
API's new 2012 Vote 4 Energy is a continuation of the Energy Citizens astroturf campaign. Vote 4 Energy was launched to make it appear that there is widespread support for the oil industry's priorities, namely approval of the tar sands Keystone XL pipeline, offshore Arctic drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking). When Jack Gerard publicly launched Vote 4 Energy with his 2012 "State of American Energy" speech. At the event, Gerard claimed the campaign was nonpartisan, (despite overwhelming support for Republicans from oil companies) and avoided answering questions about the US recently becoming a net oil and gas exporter. Gerard also continued to exaggerate job creation figures from the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and continues to blame the Obama administration for offshore drilling restrictions, ignoring a continuing rise in development of offshore wells and again making inaccurate claims on job impacts. The five largest members of the American Petroleum Institute (ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell and ConocoPhillips) get $2 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies and profited over $100 billion in the first three quarters of 2011.
Gas Prices and the President
Despite repeated statements from industry analysts dismissing oil industry claims that the president is responsible for high gas prices, Jack Gerard has repeatedly encouraged the rumor in public statements and Congressional testimony.
Exaggerating Job Creation Statistics
API and CEO Jack Gerard have repeatedly circulated a false job creation figure of 20,000 workers for the proposed Keystone, as opposed to estimates of 6,000 or less by the U.S. State Department and Cornell University, as well as a Greenpeace discovery that US job estimates on the were 67% higher per mile of US pipeline as opposed to numbers provided to the Canadian government. While one of API's main publicity claims is the oil industry's support for 9.2 million jobs, this inflated figure "includes not only legitimate direct and indirect jobs but more remote 'induced' jobs that the API has listed as including everything from day-care workers to valets to rocket scientists."