Joseph Kelliher served as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from July 2005 until January 2009. Kelliher graduated from Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service with a B.S.F.S in 1983. In 1994, he graduated from the American University Washington College of Law, Magna Cum Laude in 1994.
During the early 1980s, Kelliher worked at the law firm of Preston, Thorgrimson, Ellis & Holman, a Seattle law firm that later employed Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In the mid 1980’s, he was a staffer for Republican Congressman Joe Barton of Texas, and was responsible for nuclear licensing reform. In the late 1980s, Kelliher worked for the American Nuclear Energy Council, the lobbyist for the nuclear power industry.
During 1991-1995, he represented the Public Service Electric and Gas Company of New Jersey, and from 1995-2000, he served as a majority counsel to the House Committee on Commerce, where he was responsible for electricity, hydropower, conservation, nuclear waste, and energy legislation.
Kelliher was a counsel with the large, international law firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae. He served on the Bush/Cheney Presidential Transition Team from 2000-2001.
Kelliher was Senior Policy Advisor to Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, advising the Secretary on energy policy.
He was nominated by George W. Bush to a Republican seat on the FERC, and was designated Chairman of the commission effective on July 9, 2005. He served until the day Bush left office on January 20, 2009.