These records contain calendar entries from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for former CEO Bill Johnson, spanning from January 2017 to April 2019. The calendars show Johnson’s close relationship with major energy industry groups, as well as his exorbitant spending habits, which were later the subject of an inspector general’s audit. Johnson left the TVA in April 2019, and is now the CEO and president at the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).
According to these calendars provided by the TVA, Johnson had more than 210 meetings with nuclear industry groups between Jan. 20, 2017, and April 8, 2019. In contrast, we found few meetings with groups representing other forms of power generation, despite the TVA also relying on wind, solar, gas, hydroelectric, and coal power. TVA has been looking to expand its clean energy production to transition away from gas and coal, and Johnson has also worked as a board member for multiple groups serving nuclear industry interests throughout his career.
Here are four nuclear energy groups with whom Johnson frequently met:
A 2019 inspector general report found that TVA executives made extravagant expenses that did not comply with TVA’s official policies and procedures. The report included details about 22 months of executive travel expenses between October 2016 and July 2018, such as chauffeured trips and five star restaurants. Johnson’s TVA calendars confirm some of the more expensive travel habits described in the report, including first-class international travel, lavish meals, and luxury hotels.
Here are few examples of meal and travel plans reflected in Johnson’s calendars:
Feb. 6, 2017: Dinner at St. John’s Restaurant in Chattanooga, Tenn. Johnson also had a dinner meeting with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) on Oct. 11 at St. John’s Restaurant, and a “Government Relations Dinner” there on Aug. 9.
May 30, 2017: Limo service from a charter airport to a Marriott hotel.
June 8, 2017: Johnson had luxury seats for a Chicago Cubs game and a barbecue buffet at Wrigley Field for a NEIL conference.
June 20—25, 2017: Johnson took a trip to Paris for a WANO board meeting. The inspector general’s report raised concerns about Johnson’s international travel and its high cost, including trips to Japan, Sweden, and England.
Oct. 5, 2017: Dinner reservations at Fiola Mare in Washington, DC. The inspector general’s report lists this business dinner as one of the most expensive dinners identified in the audit. The meal totaled $834 — an average of $139 per person, when, according to the inspector general’s report, the daily meal allowance under TVA guidelines is $69 per person.
April 23–27, 2018: Johnson took a trip to Tokyo, though the calendars we obtained have little detail as to the events he attended while traveling. Johnson stayed at the Imperial Hotel, a luxury hotel located near the Imperial Palace.
June 17–24, 2018: Johnson’s calendars show that he returned to Tokyo two months later for a WANO Strategy Governance and Nominating Committee meeting, and stayed at the Hilton Tokyo Odaiba during the visit.
May 31, 2018: An investor luncheon at the Plaza Hotel’s Terrace Room in New York City. Johnson’s calendars say that the theme of the luncheon was “Building on 85 Years of Success.”
Aug. 14–18, 2018: Johnson took a trip to South Korea to meet with executives of LG Electronics Inc. Over the course of the trip, Johnson continued to meet with LGE, and also had coffee with U.S. Ambassador to Korea Harry Harris.
Oct. 28–Nov. 2, 2018: Johnson traveled to London for another WANO meeting. Johnson stayed at the Hilton London Canary Wharf.
The calendars also include three meetings regarding the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant and real-estate developer Franklin Haney Sr., who contributed $1 million to President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee. The meetings took place on Sept. 11, 2018, Oct. 23, 2018, and Nov. 2, 2019. You can view more records related to Haney’s efforts to acquire the power plant here and here.
March 7, 2017: Phone call with former Tennessee Rep. John S. Tanner.
March 14, 2017: Phone call with Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander.
March 19, 2017: Dinner with Tom Ingram of the Ingram Group and Michael Skelly, a renewable energy businessman and former chief development officer for Horizon Wind Energy.
March 31, 2017: “Suntrust Luncheon” at the Cherokee Country Club in Knoxville, Tenn.
April 11, 2017: Meeting with former Rep. Tanner.
April 18, 2017: Meeting with AT&T.
July 12, 2017: Dinner with Northeast Mississippi Electric Power Association.
July 19, 2017: Phone call with Geisha Williams, then president of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).
Sept. 11, 2017: Phone call with Wes Kelley, president of the energy company Huntsville Utilities, and Mayor Tommy Battle of Huntsville, Ala.
Sept. 13, 2017: Separate meetings with Rep. Scott DesJarlais, former Rep. Diane Black, then-Sen. Bob Corker, and then-Rep. Marsha Blackburn (now senator) and Sen. Lamar Alexander.
Oct. 17, 2017: Meeting with Rody Blevins, president of the Tennessee electric utility company Volunteer Energy Cooperative (VEC), and Rep. DesJarlais.
Oct. 18, 2017: Meeting with Daniel Poneman, former U.S. deputy secretary of energy and current president and chief executive office of Centrus Energy Corp.
Dec. 18, 2017: Breakfast with Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Sens. Alexander and Corker.
Jan. 10, 2018: Meeting with the nonprofit group United Way.
Jan. 17, 2018: Meeting with solar energy plants operator and developer Silicon Ranch Corporation.
Jan. 23, 2018: Meeting with Tennessee public utility company Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW).
Jan. 31, 2018: Visit to Silicon Ranch Corporation offices.
Feb. 6, 2018: International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers “newsmakers” event.
March 28, 2018: Meeting with Rody Blevins of VEC.
March 29, 2018: Meeting with the Ingram Group and dinner with the electric utility West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative.
April 9, 2018: Meeting with Mark Gainsborough, then the head of Shell’s New Energies.
April 16, 2018: Dinner with Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions.
May 29, 2018: S&P meeting.
May 30, 2018: Dinner with Morgan Stanley representatives.
June 5, 2018: Meeting with former Nashville Mayor David Briley.
July 16, 2018: Meeting with David Liffrig, president of North American Coal’s Mississippi Lignite Mining Company.
July 23, 2018: Dinner with North America’s Building Trades Unions.
Sept. 28, 2018: Meeting with a “Kentucky Delegation” at Kenlake State Park.
Nov. 27, 2018: Phone call with Kevin Crutchfield, president and CEO of Compass Minerals.
Dec. 5, 2018: At a Morgan Stanley event in New York City, Johnson had a meeting with S&P followed by separate meetings with Moody’s Investors Service, HSBC, and Insight Investment. Johnson then had dinner with Barclays Investment Bank.
Feb. 4, 2019: Meeting with then-Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.
Feb. 26, 2019: Meeting with Tennessee Reps. Steve Cohen and Tim Burchett.