BP, struggling to maintain its image while taking responsibility for the worst oil disaster in U.S. history, has hired someone new to head its American public relations operation: Anne Womack-Kolton, the former campaign press secretary for Vice President Dick Cheney.
Womack-Kolton ran Cheney’s press shop during the 2004 campaign, and worked as an assistant press secretary in 2000. She was also an assistant in the White House press office.
She begins today, the BP press office tells TPM.
In the private sector, she’s worked for the Brunswick Group and APCO Worldwide.BP, in announcing the hire to Reuters, only mentioned that she was the director of public affairs for the Department of Energy under President George W. Bush. A 2005 press release from the DOE mentions that she worked for Cheney, and a slew of articles from 2004 cite her as Cheney’s spokeswoman.
Womack-Kolton has also been the director of public affairs for the U.S. Treasury and a senior adviser to an SEC chair, according to the DOE press release, and was the Washington liaison for Sen. John Cornyn when he was the Texas attorney general.
Late update: A BP spokesman tells TPM that Womack-Kolton is “the best person for the job, based on her wealth of experience.”
The spokesman, Toby Odone, brushed off questions about the optics of hiring someone with ties to Cheney.
“It was not a popularity contest for which we chose her. It was based on her merits,” Odone said.