Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today announced two departures and one promotion to the committee staff. Upton announced that Todd Harrison, Chief Counsel for the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and Michael Gruber, Senior Policy Adviser, will be departing the committee at the end of the month. Harrison, a former state and federal prosecutor, will return to private practice in New York, a career he put on hold in order to establish the committee's oversight operations in January 2011. Longtime Capitol Hill veteran Gruber is leaving the committee to pursue an opportunity in the private sector after 15 years of service in the House of Representatives focused on federal budgetary and spending matters.
Harrison was an early hire for the committee as Upton established a strong team for the 112th Congress. His unique background outside of politics reflected the committee's commitment to non-partisan, fact-based investigations. Upton praised Harrison's work, saying, "As a former prosecutor, Todd brought a dogged, no-nonsense approach to oversight. His keen investigative intuition and relentless examination skills helped to restore and fulfill this committee's proud reputation for serious congressional oversight. Todd led a number of important, high-profile investigations, including Solyndra. I especially want to acknowledge the sacrifices made by Todd's wife Kari and daughters Bella and Mia as Todd commuted back and forth from New York each week to establish an oversight and investigations operation that pursues facts wherever they may lead and prioritizes the interests of taxpayers. His imprint will remain on the committee even as he returns to private practice and his family."
Upton also praised Gruber's distinguished service to the committee, stating, "Michael Gruber has been a trusted adviser on budget and spending issues in the 112th Congress, bringing his experience on the appropriations side of the ledger to help us take a fresh look at the committee's work as authorizers of key federal agencies and programs. As we work to cut the nation's $16 trillion debt, Mike has been instrumental in helping identify tens of billions of dollars in savings to put the nation on a better course to help preserve the futures of his own kids, as well as future generations."
Upton named Oversight and Investigations Deputy Chief Counsel Karen Christian as the subcommittee's Chief Counsel. Christian is a six-year veteran of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, and spearheaded the committee's 18-month investigation into Solyndra. Christian joined the Energy and Commerce Committee in 2006 after a stint as Counsel to the Committee on House Administration. Christian clerked for U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon and served as an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
"Karen Christian brings a distinguished record of accomplishment to the Oversight and Investigations Chief Counsel role," said Upton. "Her oversight work for the committee has been wide-ranging, with investigations into key health care, consumer product, energy, and federal spending issues over the last several years. And in this Congress, she made her mark by recognizing the risk posed to taxpayers by Solyndra long before it became a household name and leading that investigation to uncover stunning failures to protect the taxpayers' interests. Our work to identify the Solyndra failure so we can ensure it never happens again is a great testament to Karen's investigative skill, work ethic, and dedication to the facts. Oversight has been a top priority for me, and Karen will bolster the committee's rich tradition of excellence in putting taxpayers first. Karen has earned the respect of members and colleagues alike, and we are thrilled that she will continue to serve American taxpayers as the Chief Counsel of the subcommittee."