Energy Secretary Rick Perry recommended Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's administration talk with Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize winning energy historian and vice chairman of IHS Markit, and Carlos Pascual, a former ambassador to Ukraine, on energy reforms, aU.S. Energy Department official said on Oct. 7.
Perry also recommended Zelenskiy's administration talk to industry experts including Texas businessmen Michael Bleyzer, a Ukrainian-American, and Robert Bensh, a frequent visitor to Ukraine, as well as unnamed Energy Department experts on a visit in May for the inauguration the Ukraine president, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Perry attended Zelenskiy's inauguration as a last minute replacement for U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
The visit has drawn scrutiny as Democrats in the U.S. House have requested documents related to Perry's activities in Ukraine as part of their impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump. Perry himself has not been subpoenaed.
Associated Press reported an unnamed source said Perry had pushed for Bleyzer to be put on the board of Naftogaz, the Ukrainian state oil and gas company, after meeting with Ukrainian officials during his visit.
Perry denied that on Monday.
"That the AP story basically said that we said, 'You put these people on there' - is just not correct. I mean that was a totally dreamed up story, the best I can tell," Perry told a news conference in Vilnius on Monday.
The Energy Department also rejected the report.
"What he did not do is advocate for the business interests of any one individual or company," said Shaylyn Hynes, an Energy Department spokeswoman. "That is fiction being pushed by those who are disingenuously seeking to advance a nefarious narrative that does not exist."
Bleyzer and Bensh did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Jeff Marn, a spokesman for Yergin, who wrote the award-winning book the "The Prize," said it was the first Yergin had heard of being recommended by Perry to Zelenskiy.
But Marn said Yergin, who has advised Perry and the energy secretaries of the previous three administrations, is often recommended as an energy expert to officials.
Marn said he had asked Pascual for comment but had not heard back.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry is expected to announce his resignation in November, Politico reported on Oct. 3, citing three unidentified people familiar with his plans.
The U.S. Senate on Dec. 2 confirmed Dan Brouillette, a former top lobbyist for Ford Motor Co who believes fossil fuels will power a large part of world energy needs for many decades, as President Donald Trump's second energy secretary.
President Donald Trump said on Oct. 18 he would nominate Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, a former vice president of Ford Motor Co and Louisiana state energy regulator, to head the department.