This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."
Spencer Abraham was US Senator for Michigan from 1995 to 2001, where he received thousands of pounds from nuclear interests.
He sworn in as the tenth Secretary of the Department of Energy on January 20, 2001, following his confirmation by the U.S. Senate. He held the position until 2005. He was a member of Bush's National Energy Policy Development Group, known as Cheney's Energy Task Force, that heavily recommended development of nuclear power.
After leaving office, Abraham opened The Abraham Group, "strategic consulting" firm based in Washington. In 2006, he was named non-Executive Chairman of Areva Inc, the US subsidiary of global giant Areva.
A Conflict of Interest?
In January 2007, Abraham was asked by MSNBC about any conflict of interest from moving from the US government (where he promoted nuclear power) to the Chairmanship of a huge nuclear company, looking to build plants in the US."Abraham is not troubled by possible appearances of conflict over having helped formulate policies that could benefit a firm for which he now works", wrote MSNBC. Abraham told them "The federal government has strict guidelines regarding post-employment restrictions for Cabinet members. I have followed those guidelines to the letter of the law".
According to his Department biography,  "Prior to becoming Energy Secretary, Abraham represented Michigan in the United States Senate from 1995 to 2001.
"Elected in 1994, he served on the Budget, Commerce, Science and Transportation, Judiciary, and Small Business Committees. He also chaired two-important subcommittees: Manufacturing and Competitiveness, and Immigration.
"A forceful voice for the business community and free enterprise, Abraham endorsed policies and practices that promote and enhance America's competitiveness and global leadership. Among other things, Abraham was a leader in the Senate on support of free trade, legal and regulatory reform, and tax reform.
"Representing Michigan in the Senate made Abraham keenly aware of the many issues impacting manufacturers, businesses, and consumers.
"In addition, Abraham was widely viewed by his colleagues and most observers as the Senator with the best understanding of high-tech policy and issues and the contributions this important economic sector makes to America's economy and global success.
"Among other accomplishments, Abraham authored the Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act, establishing a federal framework for on-line contracts and signatures; the Government Paperwork Elimination Act, and the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, which protects Internet domain names for businesses and persons against copyright and trademark infringements.
"Maintaining affable relationships with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, Abraham authored twenty-two pieces of legislation that have been signed into law, an unprecedented accomplishment for a freshman Senator.
"Before his election to the Senate, Abraham served as co-chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) from 1991 to 1993.
"Prior to his tenure at the NRCC and following a successful term as the Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, Abraham was tapped to serve as Deputy Chief of Staff to Vice President Dan Quayle from 1990 to 1991. In this senior position, he worked closely with the Vice President and senior administration officials, managing the daily operations of the Vice President's office, budget, and staff. Abraham was also active in the affairs of the Vice President's Competitiveness Council, the Vice President's operation designed to provide administrative leadership on issues pertaining to U.S. business competitiveness.
"At 30, Abraham was elected to serve as chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, a position he held from 1983 to 1990. Abraham took over a party deeply in debt and not holding any major positions in the state government, but quickly began to reestablish the party as one of the strongest state political operations in the country.
Spencer Abraham resides in Michigan and Virginia. "He holds a law degree from Harvard University and is a native of East Lansing, Michigan."
"Former Michigan Senator Spencer Abraham was a top aide to former Vice President Dan Quayle, and helped found the Federalist Society while in law school. The right-wing Christianity Today magazine described Abraham's unsuccessful reelection bid in 2000 as a key loss for Religious Right forces." 
- Mike Stuckey, "Nuclear Energy's French Connection: Ambitious Areva is Second to None at American-Style Power Politics", MSNBC, January 25, 2007.
- Report of the National Energy Policy Development Group
- Directors, Occidental Petroleum, accessed May 13, 2010.