Oil industry taps NRA lobbyist for state outreach

You could say Christopher Rager is jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.

After representing the National Rifle Association in heated fights over gun control — including some policy debates inspired by the school shooting in Newton, Conn. — Rager now is moving to the American Petroleum Institute.

Rager is set to take over as the director of state relations for the oil industry’s leading trading group, a position that will put him on the front lines of other policy debates, including fights over regulations and limits on drilling.

The move comes as the oil industry continues to buttress its representation in nationwide disputes over the hydraulic fracturing technology key to unlocking natural gas and crude from dense rock formations across the U.S. API’s senior director of state government relations, Rolf Hanson, signaled the group would be tapping Rager’s lobbying background.

API economist: Mishaps shouldn’t impede energy expansion

“Rager has a strong background in creating and running legislative, political, grassroots and PAC campaigns. His federal and state legislative experience will go a long way to effectively advocating our industry’s interests,” Hanson said in a statement. “He understands that the oil and natural gas industry is a critical component for economic development in the United States.”

Before lobbying for the NRA, Rager served under President George W. Bush as director of legislative affairs with the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service and as deputy associate director for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.