TVA Calendars for Bill Johnson from January 2017 to April 2019

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). 

Johnson’s Regular Meetings with Nuclear Industry Interests 

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: 

  • The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) is a trade association for the nuclear industry that lobbies the government for favorable rules and regulations regarding nuclear power generation. Johnson served as a chairman on NEI’s board up until a year before his appointment to the TVA in 2013. Phone calls and meetings with NEI appear on Johnson’s calendar more than 50 times, beginning with a phone call in February 2017
  • Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited (NEIL) is a nuclear power plant insurance company based in Delaware. Johnson talked with this group more than 70 times, starting with a March 2017 meeting of NEIL’s board of directors, on which he had periodically served.
  • The Institute of Nuclear Power Operators (INPO) is an industry organization created under a recommendation by the Kemeny Commission, formed by President Jimmy Carter, to set industry standards and objectives. We counted nearly 60 interactions between Johnson and INPO in these calendar records, the first meeting in February 2017. Johnson also once served as a board member for INPO.
  • The World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) is an international nonprofit organization that aims to set industry safety standards worldwide. Johnson talked and met with this group more than 30 times, beginning with a conference call in March 2017.
Johnson’s Travel and Dining 

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. 

Bellefonte Power Plant Meetings with Real-Estate Developer Franklin Haney 

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

Other Meetings of Note in These Records 

March 7, 2017: Phone call with former Tennessee Rep. John S. Tanner.

March 14, 2017: Phone call with Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander. 

March 22, 2017: Meeting with Dr. Kristina Johnson, founder of Cube Hydro Partners, a hydropower facilities operator that was acquired by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) in 2019. 

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.

May 21, 2017: Meeting with the electric company Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), followed by a meeting with investment company Morgan Stanley.

June 19, 2017: Meeting with AkzoNobel, a paint and coatings company that also is involved in specialty chemicals, followed by a meeting with Vattenfall, a Swedish power company. 

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.

Jan. 28, 2019: Meeting with Dan Brouillette, then deputy energy secretary (now secretary) followed by a separate meeting with Sen. Mitch McConnell. 

Feb. 4, 2019: Meeting with then-Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin. 

Feb. 26, 2019: Meeting with Tennessee Reps. Steve Cohen and Tim Burchett.