CHRIS NEWKUMET, Platts.com, March 9, 2009
Kelliher was chairman of FERC from July 9, 2005, until January 22, 2009, and has served at the commission since November 20, 2003.
Just before the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Kelliher announced he would surrender the gavel to a chairman of Obama’s choice, which turned out to be Jon Wellinghoff, who is serving on an acting basis.
With a change in political party in the White House, the FERC chairman typically leaves the commission within weeks of the inauguration, regardless of how much time is left on his term.
Although Kelliher’s term as a commissioner does not end until June 2012, he stopped participating in all official commission business when he stepped down as chairman.
Under the commission’s ethics rules, sitting commissioners are required to recuse themselves from cases that may impact a potential employer with whom the commissioner is discussing future employment.
On the five-member commission, administrative rules allow for a three-member majority reflecting the president’s party, including the chairmanship. While all commissioners must be confirmed by the Senate, the chairman is simply designated by the White House in a letter setting out the president’s choice.