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Fox News lobbyist who worked for Biden is leaving the network

By Ben Marquis
|
March 7, 2023

The top lobbyist in Washington D.C. for Fox Corp., the parent company of Fox News, who also happens to be a prominent Democrat, will soon be leaving the company.

Danny O'Brien, who previously worked for President Joe Biden during his Senate days, will become the top U.S.-based executive for a South Korean solar panel manufacturer known as Qcells, Politico reported.

He joined Fox Corp. in 2018 and led the company's D.C. office with regard to government relations and its legislative, policy, and regulatory agenda.

O'Brien's departure from Fox Corp. confirmed

Journalist Dylan Byers of Puck News was the first to break the story about O'Brien moving on from his prominent lobbying role behind the scenes at Fox Corp.

In a tweet on Friday, Byers wrote, "Fox Corp. is searching for a new government affairs chief to replace Danny O’Brien, who is leaving the company for a new role elsewhere. This person will handle all legislative, regulatory and strategic policy matters for Fox."

Politico confirmed that scoop Monday with a statement from Fox Corp. spokesman Brian Nick, who said, "FOX is currently interviewing for our Head of Government Relations role and speaking with internal and external candidates."

Nick added, "We would like to thank Danny for his years of outstanding service to our Company and wish him the best of luck on his next endeavor."

Qcells confirms hiring of O'Brien

Just one day prior to Politico's confirmation of the news about O'Brien, however, his impending move to Qcells to serve as that company's executive vice president and head of U.S. corporate affairs had been reported by the North American Clean Energy site.

The site noted that O'Brien would "lead the Qcells’ policy, communications, and sustainability teams as the company expands across the clean energy value chain in the United States."

"We are thrilled to welcome Danny to Qcells," company CEO Justin Lee said in a statement. "Danny is an exceptionally respected professional with decades of geopolitical and public policy experience. We look forward to benefitting from his leadership as we help lead the global energy transition."

O'Brien himself was quoted as saying, "There is no industry more exciting or more important right now than clean energy, and Qcells is a leading player with a proven commitment to renewable energy in the U.S."

"I am honored to join this company at a time when it is creating jobs and building a domestic supply chain that delivers clean energy solutions to communities across the country," he added.

Prominent Democrat in top role at Fox Corp.

Politico reported that O'Brien is leaving Fox Corp. just as its battle against a $1.6 billion lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems heats up with the exposure of damning internal discussions among top Fox executives about the 2020 election fraud claims some of the news network's hosts and guests were making at that time.

It also comes as Democrats on Capitol Hill are increasingly talking about taking some sort of punitive regulatory action against Fox News or, at the very least, cutting off and "icing out" the network in terms of granted interviews.

The outraged pushback from Democratic lawmakers against Fox Corp. is interesting, however, in that O'Brien is a prominent Democrat who previously worked for Democratic Sens. Robert Torricelli (NJ), Joe Biden (DE), and Robert Menendez (NJ), was the Democratic staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a time, and even served as policy director for Biden's failed 2008 presidential run.

O'Brien also built a predominantly Democratic "in-house lobbying shop" at Fox, including hiring at least one staffer directly from Biden's White House, and the Fox Corp. PAC, despite the assertions that it heavily favors Republicans, and made almost equal donations to both major political parties during the 2022 midterms.

It remains unknown at this time when, exactly, O'Brien will officially leave Fox Corp. and begin in his new role at Qcells.