Top aide to Gov. Parson leaving to lobby for biodiesel industry

    BRIEF

    Gov. Mike Parson’s legislative director is leaving his post for a lobbying job with a national trade association representing the biodiesel industry.

    Jeff Earl, who began working in the governor’s office under Eric Greitens and stayed on after Parson took over, will serve as director of state regulatory affairs for the National Biodiesel Board. 

    Jeff Earl (photo courtesy of National Biodiesel Board).

    In a press release announcing his hire, the organization said Earl will represent its interests “to state regulatory bodies, legislatures and environmental  organizations.”

    Earl expressed his excitement in the press release to join the National Biodiesel Board as it works to “spread the word about the proven benefits of this fuel. Biodiesel is good for the Midwest, and it’s good for our country.”

    Under an executive order signed by Parson in 2018, Earl is prohibited from lobbying the executive branch until Parson’s final term in office expires in January 2025. He would still be permitted to lobby the Missouri legislature, which has been his primary role under Parson. 

    According to the Missouri Ethics Commission, Earl is not currently registered to lobby in the state. 

    Rumors that Earl was planning to leave the governor’s office to work for a biodiesel organization began circulating during the legislative session, while lawmakers were still debating several bills pertaining to the biodiesel industry

    None of the biodiesel legislation received final legislative approval.

    Kelli Jones, the governor’s spokeswoman, did not respond to several inquiries about Earl’s rumored departure in early April. Nor did she respond to an email seeking comment about Earl’s departure on Thursday. 

    Before joining the governor’s office, Earl served as legislative and constituent services director for the Missouri Department of Corrections. Prior to that, he worked for four years as a legislative advisor in the Missouri Auditor’s Office. 

    “Jeff is an exceptional addition to our team,” Donnell Rehagen, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board, said in a statement. “As more states look for immediate solutions to lower their carbon footprint and improve air quality, Jeff can use his background in legislative development and implementation to support biodiesel and renewable diesel policy efforts throughout America’s heartland.”