Mike Sommers

Mike Sommers

Credentials

  • BA, Political Science and Government, Miami University (1997). [1]

Background

Mike Sommers has been the president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API) since May 2018, taking over from Jack Gerard. Before API, Sommers was president and CEO of the American Investment Council (AIC), previously known as the Private Equity Growth Capital Council (PEGCC), which he led since February 2016. [5], [15]

Sommers has been a top aide to former House Speaker John Boehner. He previously worked as Boehner’s deputy chief of staff, policy director, legislative director, and press secretary. In 2005, Sommers left the Hill to work as a special assistant to President George W. Bush at the National Economic Council where he advised Bush on agriculture and trade policy. He returned to work for Boehner at Capitol Hill in early 2006. [2], [3]

According to his profile at AIC, “Sommers has been at the center of every major policy dispute in the last decade and successfully negotiated bipartisan compromises on landmark legislation, including the Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP) in 2008, the resolution of the fiscal cliff in 2013, the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015 and trade promotion authority in 2015.” [2]

Bloomberg reported Sommers played a large role in fighting for the carried interest tax rule that worked to benefit large hedge fund managers. While working as chief strategist for Boehner, Sommers was also involved in congressional fights with the Obama administration over spending. [4]

Sommers is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ”Association Committee of 100 (C100),” a group of CEOs that “enhance Chamber lobbying and coalition work, recommend programming, and strengthen outreach to the business and association communities.” [6]

His wife, Jill Sommers, is a former Commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). [2]

Stance on Climate Change

The American Petroleum Institute has historically spread doubt about the science surrounding climate change, and has promoted natural gas use as the best way to reduce CO2 emissions. [7], [8]

January 2020

API, while Sommers was heading the group, started changing its terminology. E&E News reported: [16]

“’Oil and gas,’ the long-standing terminology used by industry, finance, government and others, is out. Instead, the American Petroleum Institute has largely switched to ‘natural gas and oil,’ putting the low-carbon fuel front and center.” [16]

“The global benefits of American natural gas and oil on the international stage are compelling,” Mike Sommers said in a speech at API‘s State of American Energy event. [16]

June 27, 2019

In an API article titled “Addressing the Risks of Climate Change,” Sommers claimed more natural gas production was the key to reducing CO2 emissions: [17]

“No discussion about the need to reduce carbon emissions is complete without acknowledging the key role that natural gas has played and will continue to play going forward. America is leading the world in reducing carbon emissions largely because of clean natural gas. In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that natural gas is responsible for more CO2 emissions reductions in electricity generation than renewables.”

Key Quotes

January 30, 2018

On the Trump Presidency, Sommers told Politico: [9]

This administration has been defined so far by historic legislative, regulatory and foreign policy accomplishments interrupted by unfortunate distractions.”

September 30, 2016

“One of the great parts of serving for speaker Boehner was that I really was at the intersection of public policy and politics. […] One of the things that attracted me to the American Investment Council and the private equity industry is that I believe that this job, and this association, really stands at a different intersection but a very similar intersection. It stands at the intersection of public policy and the free enterprise system,” Sommers said in an interview with Pensions & Investments. [10]

May 17, 2016

“It would be discriminatory and ill-advised to recharacterize carried interest from a long-held capital asset as anything other than a long-term capital gain for private-equity fund managers. Lawmakers are smart to avoid doing so,” Somers wrote in an Op-Ed at The Washington Post. [11]

March 9, 2016

Regarding his work in the private equity industry, Sommers told The Hill: [12]

It’s no secret that most of the support that the PEGCC and the private equity industry gets is on the Republican side, but we have a lot of Democrats in this industry,” said Sommers. “We are an organization that’s focused on policy, not on politics.”

Undated

While working with House Speaker John Boehner, Sommers was among several minority staffers who were in charge of motions to recommitPolitico reported their goal was to “highlight divisions among the Democrats or lure some vulnerable lawmakers into casting a bad vote.” [3]

It’s like cooking a frog,” Sommers said. “First, you put him in the water, and then you turn the heat up.” 

Key Deeds

August 23, 2019

Mike Sommers appeared on the radio program Politics Inside Out with Chris Frates. On the show he responded to a question of “Why should the oil and gas industry be trusted with what it says it’s doing to help the environment?” [18]

May 3, 2018

Sommers became the president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, a group representing fossil fuel interests that has worked to promote “uncertainty” around climate change in the past. Sources first reported the American Petroleum Institute (API) planned to name Sommers as its next president and CEO in April 2018, Axios reported. [5][15]

January 2017

Sommers’ American Investment Council became a client of the all-Republican lobbying firm CGCNPolitico reported. CGCN Group, LLC (Formerly Clark Geduldig Cranford & Nielsen, LLC) would lobby on tax treatment of partnerships and tax reform. CCGN also added power company Nextra Energy to its list of clients at the time. [14]

May 17, 2016

Sommers defended the carried interest loophole, a rule that would benefit rich Hedge Fund Managers, in a Washington Post Op-Ed. Sommers’ American Investment Council has been at the forefront of fighting for the rule, which some have said is “crafted for the…super wealthy.” [11], [13]

Affiliations

Social Media

Publications

Resources

  1. Mike Sommers,” LinkedIn. Accessed May 1, 2018.
  2. Mike Sommers,” American Investment Council. Archived May 1, 2018.
  3. Dapper duo commits to recommit strategy – and to peace within the Republican ranks,” Politico. Archived May 1, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/ZrLfC
  4. Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Ari Natter. “Former Boehner Aide Eyed for Oil Trade Group CEO,” Bloomberg, April 30, 2018. Archived May 1, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/ffVGK
  5. Oil lobby expected to tap Beltway veteran for top role,” Axios, April 30, 2018. Archived May 1, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/fvtmL
  6. U.S. Chamber’s Association Committee of 100 Welcomes Six New Members,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce, November 15, 2016. Archived May 1, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/eAWBQ
  7. Denial and Deception: A Chronicle of ExxonMobil’s Efforts to Corrupt the Debate on Global Warming” (PDF) Greenpeace, May, 2007. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
  8. Climate and Energy,” API, May 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  9. BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Mike Sommers, president and CEO of the American Investment Council and former Boehner COS,” Politico, January 30, 2018. Archived May 1, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/sKElI
  10. Face to Face with the American Investment Council’s Mike Sommers,” Pensions and Investments. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  11. Carried interest is a launchpad for entrepreneurial risk-taking,” The Washington Post, May 17, 2016. Archived May 1, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/kT54l
  12. Ex-Boehnerland chief lands in private equity,” The Hill, March 9, 2016. Archived May 1, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/If5Iu
  13. Erica Payne. “Boehner Right-Hand Man Mike Sommers Carries (Industry) Interest on Carried Interest,” Patriotic Millionaires, February 3, 2016. Archived May 1, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/ykdpJ
  14. Isaac Arnsdorf. “Jim Murphy to BakerHostetler,” Politico, January 6, 2017. Archived May 1, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/0lkG7
  15. MIKE SOMMERS NAMED NEW API PRESIDENT AND CEO,” API. May 2, 2018. Archived January 13, 2020. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.ph/TUNg4
  16. Timothy Cama. “An end to ‘oil and gas’? Industry rebrands in climate push,” E&E News, January 8, 2020. Archived January 13, 2020. Archive.ph URL: https://archive.ph/wip/paR8M
  17. Addressing the Risks of Climate Change,” API, June 27, 2019. Archived January 13, 2020. Archive.ph URL: https://archive.ph/wip/Zsfj8
  18. Why should the oil and gas industry be trusted with what it says its doing to help the environment? Politics Inside Out on SiriusXM, August 23, 2019. Archived mp3 on file at DeSmog.

Other Resources

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