Vincent DeVito

Profile image screenshot of vincent DeVito’s speech at the America First Energy Conference, via YouTube.

Vincent DeVito



Vincent DeVito is former Counselor to the Secretary for Energy Policy in the Department of Interior in the Trump administration. He was appointed to the position by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on May 1, 2017. DeVito left DOI to return to private practice, E&E News first reported in August 2018. Cox Oil Offshore LLC announced on September 4, 2018, that DeVito had joined the group as executive vice president and general counsel.4 Juliet Eilperin. “Top interior staffer who backed shrinking national monuments to join BP,” The Washington Post, August 27, 2018. Archived August 28, 2018. URL: 5 Michael Doyle. “Zinke’s energy policy adviser departing,” E&E News, August 23, 2018. 6 Miranda Green. “Zinke’s former energy counselor at Interior takes job with offshore oil company,” The Hill, September 4, 2018. Archived September 5, 2018. URL:

As E&E News reported, DeVito formerly served as treasurer of Zinke’s political action committee, and has prior work experience at the Energy Department under the George W. Bush administration.7 Press Release. “Interior Secretary Announces Vincent DeVito As Counselor for Energy Policy,” US. Department of the Interior, May 1, 2017. Archived January 9, 2018. URL: 8 Corbin Hiar. “Zinke creates energy policy post for former PAC treasurer,” E&E News, May 1, 2017.

DeVito has a history of legal work for the oil and gas extraction industries. Most recently, he was capital partner at Bowditch & Dewey, LLP, a large law firm where he represented “corporations, investors, and entrepreneurs in the energy and technology sectors,” according to his archived profile at the firm.9Meet Bowditch,” Bowditch & Dewey. Archived June 15, 2017. URL: 10Attorneys: Vincent DeVito,” Bowditch & Dewey. Archived February 7, 2017. URL:

He formerly served as general counsel to the start-up HydroConfidence, a tech company founded by Dan Hussain that serves the hydrualic fracturing gas industry in identifying leaks, running more efficiently, and avoiding liability. He also serves as general counsel on the management team of the venture capital firm American Pioneer Ventures, another firm founded by Hussain.11B&D,” Bowditch & Dewey. Archived October 8, 2015. URL: 12Press Release: CMU Graduate Student, Dan Hussain, Tackles Shale Gas and Watershed Issues With New Entrepreneurial Tech Startup,” Carnegie Mellon University, December 12, 2011. Archived January 9, 2018. URL: 13Management Team,” American Pioneer Ventures. Archived January 9, 2018. URL:

Vincent DeVito has worked for several other law firms focused on serving the oil and energy industries including Pepper Hamilton LLP, a legal practice where he served a “consortium of major oil companies” on issues such as the Marcellus shale region, pipeline sales, and international oil and gas rights. Devito is listed as president of International Energy Strategies, an energy law and consulting practice “representing corporate energy interests” with issues such as development, regulation, financing, business expansion, government regulations, and market integration.

According to his profile, while working as an energy lawyer in Massachusetts, DeVito pursued “the development and implementation of the state’s electric utility deregulation plan at legislative, regulatory and policy levels.”14 Christine Caulfield. “Pepper Hamilton,” Law360, March 16, 2007. 15Vincent DeVito: President,” International Energy Strategies. Archived January 9, 2018. URL:

DeVito previously worked at the U.S. Department of Energy under the George W. Bush administration, serving as Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs from 2001 to 2005. In his prior government position, Devito worked as U.S. manager of the North American Energy Working Group. He also implemented a National Energy Plan, oversaw the Climate Change Technology Program, and worked with Ambassador Cellucci on the U.S.-Canada Power Outage Task Force.16Vincent DeVito,” LinkedIn. Accessed January 9, 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 17Vincent DeVito: President,” International Energy Strategies. Archived January 9, 2018. URL:

According to his profile at Venture Enterprises, DeVito has “significant experience representing Super PACs.” Politico noted that, among the many PACs he has worked with, DeVito was the lawyer for Patriots for America, a super PAC that Politico wrote may have violated campaign finance law by spending “money on a state-level race without filing reports with Missouri’s campaign finance authorities, which requires faster disclosure for some activities, according to multiple attorneys.”18Team,” Venture Enterprises. Archived January 10, 2018. 19 Theodoric Meyer. “Hank Greenberg’s firm lobbying on financial reform,” Politico, May 2, 2017. Archived January 10, 2018. URL:

FEC Contributions

According to a search of data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC):20Transaction Query By Individual Contributor,” Federal Election Commission. Search performed January 10, 2018.

Committee2000200420082012201420162018Grand Total
BUSH-CHENEY ’04 INC $2,000 $2,000
ROMNEY FOR PRESIDENT INC. $750$1,110 $1,860
Grand Total$1,000$2,250$750$2,760$2,703$2,602$500$12,565

Stance on Climate Change

December 2, 2017

DeVito closed his speech to the Heartland Institute‘s America First Energy conference by repeating what he described was his “favorite quote” from Donald Trump, one which Trump used to justify his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change Agreement.21VIDEOS – VINCENT DEVITO, DINNER KEYNOTE, AFEC”, The Heartland Institute, December 3, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

“One of my favorite quotes from the President is that, he said, ‘I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris’,” DeVito said.

Key Quotes

July 24, 2017

In an interview with Politico’s Esther Whieldon, DeVito said:22 Anthony Adragna. “Energy companies get something in Russian sanctions deal,” Politico, July 24, 2017. Archived March 5, 2018.

“[E]very agency office and bureau has designated one or two people throughout the department to dotted-line report to me […]” He added, “This is how I prioritize things: enhanced production, enhanced revenue, create jobs, environmental stewardship […]”

March 30, 2010

While interim executive director at the Institute for Energy and Sustainability, DeVito described efforts by the Institute to attract clean and renewable energy businesses to Worcester:23 Marin Luttrell. “Selling green; Leaders meet to boost area energy industries,” Telegram & Gazette, March 30, 2010. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. URL:

“Today’s biggest accomplishment is to brand this city a green business zone,” DeVito said. “That’s really what it is, but there hasn’t been a big marketing effort. One of the things we want to do today is get that message out so companies who want to get into this business start locating here.”

February 25, 2016

In a 2016 interview, DeVito opposed a natural gas pipeline in Massachusetts:24Gas Export Decision Stirs Debate Over Mass. Pipeline Need,” WBUR Morning Edition, February 25, 2016. Archived January 11, 2018. URL:

“This particular pipeline is only being built to satisfy profiteers who want to export to Europe,” Vincent DeVito told WBUR.

December 19, 2007

DeVito was optimistic about Cap and Trade, according to an interview with Carnegie Council‘s magazine Policy Innovations:25Cap and Trade vs. Carbon Tax,” Carnegie Council, December 19, 2007. Archived January 9, 2018. URL:

“When you impose emissions-reduction caps and allow trading, you stimulate private sector investment in new technologies,” DeVito said. “Where else can you be a part of a new market? New ideas in old markets are rare. New ideas in new markets are extremely rare. The modern energy economy requires entrepreneurship and a cap-and-trade system will help the innovators innovate.”

February 8, 2007

“What I’ve said is that we need a Manhattan Project or an Apollo Program with regard to the energy problem,” DeVito said in an interview with the New York Post. View the interchange below:26 John Crudele. “WE NEED A MANHATTAN PROJECT FOR ENERGY: EX-OFFICIAL,” New York Post, February 8, 2007. Archived January 9, 2018. URL:

Interviewer: “And where should we be drilling?”

DeVito: “Some of the states want to drill off the shores, even on the Eastern seaboard.”

Interviewer: “Should they be allowed to do it?”

DeVito: “They should in an environmentally sound manner, but of course it strongly resonates as a local issue. The question is, is it worth it? The Gulf of Mexico? Yes, everybody says it’s worth it.”

Interviewer: “So we should be drilling there.”

DeVito: “We have been drilling there. The fact of the matter is, if you look at Texas and Louisiana, the folks are used to it. So they are not too averse to having platforms off shore.”

Interviewer: “So the supply should be increased by hook or crook. The supply should be increased here and overseas. So we need to work on the demand. Assuming that Americans are still going to want to drive their cars, alternate forms of engines will be necessary. Correct?”

DeVito: “Right, diversity of supply should be increased.”

Interviewer: “Should the government subsidize?”

DeVito: “The government should subsidize, right now, and mandate all sorts of alternative fuel supplies.”

Key Deeds

February 20, 2019

Vincent DeVito, among others, was highlighted in an ethics complaint filed by the Campaign Legal Center outlining a “a disturbing pattern of misconduct” in the Interior Department, The Intercept reported.27 Campaign Legal Center Letter to Interior Department Inspector General on Ethical Violations, February 20, 2019. Retrieved from DocumentCloud. 28 Jesse Coleman and Jimmy Tobias. “INTERIOR DEPARTMENT IS FILLED WITH EX-LOBBYISTS WHO ARE COZY WITH THEIR FORMER EMPLOYERS, NEW ETHICS COMPLAINT SHOWS,” The Intercept, February 20, 2019. Archived February 22, 2019. URL:

The ethics complaint alleges that “during his tenure at Interior, DeVito participated in particular matters related to Eversource Energy, despite the ethics pledge prohibiting this conduct.” DeVito had signed an ethics agreement prohibiting meeting with former clients, like Eversource Energy, for a period of two years after being nominated. According to DeVito’s official calendar, he participated in a meeting with a number of high-ranking Eversource Energy executives as well as DONG Energy representatives on August 23, 2017.29 Campaign Legal Center Letter to Interior Department Inspector General on Ethical Violations, February 20, 2019. Retrieved from DocumentCloud.

“Consequently, DeVito violated the ethics pledge when he participated in a meeting with his former client Eversource Energy, inside of the Department of the Interior building and in his official capacity, to discuss a particular Eversource Energy wind energy project, and potentially to discuss limiting regulations to support offshore wind farms,” the complaint reads.30 Campaign Legal Center Letter to Interior Department Inspector General on Ethical Violations, February 20, 2019. Retrieved from DocumentCloud.

May 2018

DeSmog reviewed Vincent DeVito’s calendar and travel documents, which were released as the result of an open records request, and found he had attended a wide range of energy industry events hosted by groups including the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). The documents revealed DeVito was invited to a meeting in Boston of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), as well as an August 2017 invitation to speak at the Richmond, Virginia meeting of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP).31 Itai Vardi. “Koch-Backed and Anti-Renewable Energy Groups Wooing Interior Department Official,” DeSmog, May 23, 2018.

According to the documents, in June 2017 EEI invited DeVito to attend a meeting in Boston. The invitation was signed by EEI President Thomus Kuhn and sent by Michael Whatley, a lobbyist for HBW Resources, which runs the fossil fuel-backed front group Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), of which EEI is a also a member.32Dear Mr. Secretary,” Edison Electric Institute, May 10, 2017. Retrieved from DocumentCloud. 33Members,” Consumer Energy Alliance. Archived May 23, 2018. URL:

According to the invitation, EEI was looking for insights about “easing barriers” to siting energy infrastructure such as transmission lines and gas pipelines. “[W]e also would appreciate your thoughts on ongoing regulatory reform efforts generally, including potential changes to species and avian regulatory frameworks in particular,” the letter added. as well as on “regulatory reform.” In a follow-up email, an EEI staff member asked DeVito to attend EEI’s closed-to-the-public natural resources subcommittee meeting, which would discuss “ways to streamline federal permitting processes on public lands.”34Re: EEI Annual Conference Invitation,” June 7, 2017. Retrieved from DocumentCloud.

Lobbying records indicate Michael Whatley was registered to lobby the Department of the Interior (DOI) on behalf of the CEA at the time he sent the invitation to DeVito. According to Dave Anderson, policy and communications manager at the watchdog group Energy and Policy Institute, this was potentially the first evidence of HBW Resources and CEA working directly for EEI:35 Itai Vardi. “Koch-Backed and Anti-Renewable Energy Groups Wooing Interior Department Official,” DeSmog, May 23, 2018. 36 Lobbing Report for HBW Resources, Q1 2017. Retrieved from the United States Senate Lobbying Disclosure database.

“The documents show Whatley using his insider status within the Trump administration to communicate on behalf of his client, a powerful electric utility industry association,” said Anderson. “So to connect the dots: here you have Whatley sharing a personal invite from Tom Kuhn, the president of EEI, for Trump’s Interior Department to discuss deregulation at the utility industry’s largest annual events. All the while, EEI is also working with the oil and gas industry on such campaigns as countering public concerns about pipelines and fracking.”

The August 2017 Americans for Prosperity invitation was forwarded to DeVito by Jason Funes, a special assistant at the Interior Department’s Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs. DeVito was invited to speak on a panel titled “Give Me Liberty in Energy” focusing on “deregulation in the energy sector.” The panel also featured former AFP vice president for external affairs Chrissy Harbin, who had joined the Department of Energy. Another speaker, Grant Kidwell, was a former AFP policy analyst who went on to work at the American Legislative Exchange Council. DeVito accepted the invitation.37 Itai Vardi. “Koch-Backed and Anti-Renewable Energy Groups Wooing Interior Department Official,” DeSmog, May 23, 2018.

The documents revealed DeVito had also gone to a number of other fossil fuel industry events. In September 2017, he spoke at the Kentucky Coal Association’s annual meeting. In an email, the Associatoin’s president noted that the meeting would be closed to the public and the press, and “it will be a friendly crowd.”

DeVito also accepted an invitation sent by the North Dakota Petroleum Council to attend its meeting in Grand Forks. He also attended the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s energy and sustainability conference, an event sponsored by fossil fuel companies such as Dominion, EQT Corporation, and Mountain Valley Pipeline; the Energy Exposition in Colorado, an oil and gas industry event; and the oil and gas industry-funded Western Energy Alliance’s annual meeting in August 2017.38 Itai Vardi. “Koch-Backed and Anti-Renewable Energy Groups Wooing Interior Department Official,” DeSmog, May 23, 2018.

April 20, 2018

Public records obtained by The Guardian and Pacific Standard, as well as watchdog groups Documented and the Western Values Project, appear to show DeVito taking credit for delaying federal protections of a species at the request of fossil fuel groups.39Exclusive: US official appeared to delay protections for endangered species at behest of oil group,” The Guardian, April 20, 2018. Archived April 20, 2018. URL:

In June 2017, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), an industry trade group representing oil producers, met with officials from the interior department. The meeting discussed the case of the Texas Hornshell, an endangered mussel whose habitat overlaps with oil and gas deposits in the region.40Exclusive: US official appeared to delay protections for endangered species at behest of oil group,” The Guardian, April 20, 2018. Archived April 20, 2018. URL:

Following that meeting, IPAA staff member Samantha McDonald emailed DeVito: “We’re really hoping that you can intervene before this species gets listed [as endangered] next month.”41Exclusive: US official appeared to delay protections for endangered species at behest of oil group,” The Guardian, April 20, 2018. Archived April 20, 2018. URL:

IPAA to DeVito

In August, less than a month later, the US Fish and Wildlife Service granted the delay. McDonald wrote a follow-up email to DeVito and to the director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service:42Exclusive: US official appeared to delay protections for endangered species at behest of oil group,” The Guardian, April 20, 2018. Archived April 20, 2018. URL:

“On behalf of my members, I wanted to thank you for the 6-month delay on the Texas Hornshell,” she wrote, adding that it was “a good call”.

DeVito responded, “No Problem.”

Thank You Letter DeVito

In a statement, the interior department press secretary Heather Swift maintained that DeVito had no direct involvement.43Exclusive: US official appeared to delay protections for endangered species at behest of oil group,” The Guardian, April 20, 2018. Archived April 20, 2018. URL:

Swift said DeVito “disagrees with [The Guardian’s] analysis of the emails” and that he “maintains that he simply responded with an acknowledgement of receipt on the mussel email and maintains he had no role whatsoever in the listing.”44Exclusive: US official appeared to delay protections for endangered species at behest of oil group,” The Guardian, April 20, 2018. Archived April 20, 2018. URL:

Despite the delay, the mussel was eventually granted protections in February 2018. Former DOI officials still noted that DeVito’s apparent involvement raises legal and ethical questions:45Exclusive: US official appeared to delay protections for endangered species at behest of oil group,” The Guardian, April 20, 2018. Archived April 20, 2018. URL:

“Listing decisions under the Endangered Species Act are meant to be entirely science-based decisions that result from – in some cases – years of review by experts in the field, not political appointees,” said Elizabeth Klein, a former associate deputy secretary at DOI.

“A delay in and of itself might not be the end of the world – but then again it very well could be for an imperiled species.”

December 2, 2017

DeVito was one of several representatives of the Trump administration who spoke at the Heartland Institute‘s America First Energy Conference. Video and notable quotes below.46VIDEOS – VINCENT DEVITO, DINNER KEYNOTE, AFEC”, The Heartland Institute, December 3, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

“President Trump is the exact kind of leader we need now to restore American greatness in the energy sector. And that’s basically why we are here today. Because under President Trump and Secretary Zinke, there’s no doubt about it. I don’t even have to say it anymore. But the war on American energy is completely over.” [7:42]

“It’s important for everyone to know America First energy policy means prioritizing our country’s interests. That means we are removing unnecessary and burdensome regulations, punitive regulations, that have made energy less competitive on the world stage.” [9:05]

“If we’re going to make America great again, we must […] return to police that allow the industrial spirit to drive our country forward. Not the agenda of a regulator to hold our country back or to simply do nothing.” [13:03]

“The government is too big.” [13:29]

“Unlike the previous administration, we are not going to favor one type of energy over another. We are letting the market decide, as it should.” [16:50]

“We recently rescinded a hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands rule. We issued a rule to temporarily suspend certain requirements on venting and flaring. […] these rules do not have any benefit.” [17:47]

“Energy produced in the United States is more environmentally friendly than energy produced anywhere else in the world. Nobody beats us.” [18:35]

“Nobody owns the labels environmentalist or conservationist. We all are environmentalists. We all are conservationists.” [22:45]

“We are also looking for ways to expedite the permitting process. Secretary Zinke, just a couple weeks ago, established an executive committee to expedite permitting which I am also proud to chair.” [25:17]

“I firmly believe myself, sometimes the best thing the government can do is. The best thing, well, since I’m a fed now, the best thing the federal government can do, believe me, is to get the heck out of the way.”[27:48]

“The previous President’s interior department banned coal leasing on federal lands. We overturned that coal moratorium right after Secretary Zinke was sworn in. It’s made a difference. With the help of Congress, President Trump was able to sign a disapproval of the stream protection rule through the Congressional Review Act.” [31:27]

The Houston Chronicle reported that speakers also included Richard W. Westerdale II of the State Department. David Bernhardt, deputy secretary of the Interior Department, was also formerly listed as a Heartland conference speaker, but apparently withdrew.47 James Osborne. “Trump officials to appear at Houston event hosted by climate skeptics,” Houston Chronicle, November 2, 2017. Archived November 20, 2017. URL:

April 15, 2010

DeVito spoke at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) Earthfest Celebration on “The Green Market: A National, Regional, and Local Perspective of the Modern Energy Economy.” According to the event description, DeVito spoke “about green jobs from the national to the local level” and “How can our students prepare for jobs in the energy or sustainability sector in the current economy?”48Earth Day Guest Speaker,” Worcester Polytecnic Institute. Archived February 14, 2013. URL: 49U.S. News & World Report Spotlights WPI’s Earthfest Events,” Worcester Polytechnic Institute, April 20, 2010. Archived January 11, 2018. URL:


Vincent DeVito’s profile at International Energy Strategies highlights a photo of him signing a Three-Year Cooperative Agreement with American Association of Blacks in Energy President Bob Hill while DeVito was Secretary for Policy & International Affairs.50Vincent DeVito: President,” International Energy Strategies. Archived January 9, 2018. URL:




Political Groups & PACs

Social Media


According to his archived profile at Bowditch & Dewey, Vincent DeVito is a frequent television commentator, speaker and author, focusing on energy and technology. He has delivered policy and/or regulatory addresses to organizations including:98Attorneys: Vincent DeVito,” Bowditch & Dewey. Archived February 7, 2017. URL:

  • The World Energy Council
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency
  • The International Energy Agency
  • The Western Hemispheric Energy Ministerial
  • The Asian Pacific Economic Council
  • The Chatham House of London
  • The Center for Strategic International Studies
  • The International Energy Forum
  • The Council for Environmental Cooperation

DeVito’s profile at International Energy Strategies lists some examples of his appearances and publications:

  • CNBC: Expert Energy Analysis – The Sherman Act and OPEC’s Anti-Competitive
  • CNBC: Expert Energy Analysis – Renewable Energy Alternatives and Oil Prices
  • CNBC: Expert Energy Analysis – Geopolitics and U.S. Energy Security Policy
  • CNBC: Expert Energy Analysis – Is OPEC responsible for the price of OIL?
  • CNBC: Expert Energy Analysis – Energy Prices and Consumer Driving Habits
  • NY Post: Interview – We Need a Manhattan Project for Energy
  • The Washington Times: Interview – Gas Prices
  • United Press International: Interview – The Energy Bill
  • United Press International: Interview – Venezuela to Diversify Energy Markets
  • United Press International: Interview – The Strategic Petroleum Reserves
  • Energy Law 360: Interview – Energy Practice Profile
  • Energy Law 360: Expert Comments – Ethanol Keeping Lawyers Busy
  • Restructuring Today: You Know His Work, Now Meet Vincent DeVito
  • Pace University: North America Energy Trade – A Case Study
  • Reed Logic Video Seminars: U.S. Energy: The Market, Legalities, Regulatory Practices

Other Resources


Related Profiles

APCO Worldwide Background APCO has been described as “one of the world's most powerful PR firms.”“Public Relations Firms Database: APCO Worldwide,” O'Dwyers. URL: https://arc...
Hugh W. Ellsaesser Credentials Ph.D., Meteorology.“Re: Global warming: It's happening,” Letter to NaturalSCIENCE, January 29, 1998. Archived July 28, 2011. URL: https://arch...
Alfred (Al) Pekarek Credentials Ph.D., University of Wyoming (1974).“Faculty/Staff,” St. Cloud State University. Archived May 28, 2010. URL: ...
Benny Josef Peiser Credentials Ph.D. , University of Frankfurt (1993). Peiser studied political science, English, and sports science. “Benny Peiser,” Wikipedia (German)Entry. Peiser, ...