The documents sparked outrage from top Democrats in Washington, including the Senate Majority Leader. Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) and House Minority Leader hakeem jeffries (DN.Y.). It has also sparked discussions within Democratic circles about freezing the network. The White House, for its part, evaded Biden from sitting down with Fox for an interview surrounding the Super Bowl, breaking with the tradition of the game’s host network having a personal interview with the president.
Fox confirmed O’Brien’s departure in a statement.
“FOX is currently interviewing for our Head of Government Relations position and speaking with internal and external candidates,” spokesman Brian Nick said. «We would like to thank Danny for his years of excellent service to our Company and wish him the best of luck in his next endeavor.»
O’Brien joined Fox in 2018 as the head of its Washington bureau, where he led the company’s legislative, regulatory and policy agenda and its government relations team. Prior to that, he served as a global government affairs and policy executive for what is now GE Transportation.
But it’s his previous roles in the public sector that have made O’Brien’s workplace especially intriguing.
O’Brien worked on Democratic campaigns for years before moving to Hill to work for former Sen. Robert Torricelli (DN.J.). He then served as chief of staff in Biden’s Senate office from 2003 to 2006, later serving in the same role with the senator. Bob Menendez (DN.J.), as well as becoming staff director in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. When Biden ran for president in 2008, O’Brien was chosen as his policy director.
At Fox, O’Brien had created an in-house lobbying shop that employed more Democrats (3) than Republicans (1). In 2019, he hired veteran broadcast lobbyist Jamie Gillespie from the National Association of Broadcasters, and last year O’Brien recruited a staffer straight out of Biden’s West Wing, Carissa Joy.
O’Brien is not the first Democrat to lead Fox’s DC bureau: His predecessor, Chip Smith, helped lead former Vice President Al Gore’s White House bid in 2000.
And before the midterms last year, Fox said its corporate PAC gave more or less evenly to Republicans and Democrats, including maximum donations to each party’s national committee and House and Senate campaign arms. The Democratic recipients of Fox’s campaign cash included some of Fox News’ favorite punching bags, such as Rep. eric swallow (D-Calif.), and several of the most vulnerable starters in each party.
In his new role at Qcells, O’Brien will almost certainly work on implementing one of Biden’s legacy legislative achievements as president, the fiscal and climate spending bill passed last year.
Last month the company and Biden announced an investment of 2,500 million dollars for an existing Qcells solar manufacturing plant in Georgia that was specifically attributed to the Inflation Reduction Act. Qcells also recently announced a partnership with Microsoft, saying O’Brien will lead its policy, communications and sustainability teams as Qcells «expands across the clean energy value chain in the United States.»
Daniel Lippman contributed to this report.