White House records from early 2009 through Aug. 31, 2011, show that Gerard visited twice, on Dec. 13, 2010, to see Kristin J. Sheehy, special assistant to the deputy chief of staff, and on Aug. 16, 2011, to see Cass Sunstein, head of the office of information and regulatory affairs at the Office of Management and Budget.
Oil company executives typically visit more often and see more senior officials. Exxon Mobil chief Rex W. Tillerson, for instance, has met with Obama, former Council of Economic Advisers head Austan Goolsbee, former OMB director Peter Orszag, economic coordinator Lawrence H. Summers and former energy and climate czar Carol Browner.
It’s not always clear whether Gerard is promoting API or himself. In January, he delivered his second “State of American Energy” speech at the Newseum, inviting notable guests; the news release promoted it as a “major address.”
But 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.