Rural Power Trade Group hires legal director to meet new challenges


The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association has recruited its first new legal chief in nearly a decade, D. Scott Barash, the top attorney in the Washington, DC public school system.

Barash has spent the past seven years as general counsel for the District of Columbia Public Schools. He said in an email that his successor as the school system’s top lawyer has yet to be chosen.

The Arlington, Va.-based trade group known as NRECA announced Barash’s hiring on Friday. NRECA represents the interests of more than 900 American rural electric cooperatives and public electric and utility districts.

The association is currently grappling with a range of regulatory and legislative issues related to climate change, infrastructure and rising energy prices.

Stephen Bell, a spokesperson for NRECA, said Barash will succeed retired general counsel Richard Meyer, who has worked for the group since 1998. Meyer became chief legal officer in 2013, having served as senior counsel NRECA’s long-standing regulatory role.

NRECA’s latest federal tax return shows Meyer received more than $562,000 in total compensation in 2018, a year in which the organization also paid nearly $470,000 to Crowell & Moring. The law firm has handled about 7% of cases involving NRECA in US federal courts over the past five years, according to data from Bloomberg Law.

Other firms busy representing NRECA in federal court during this time include Thompson Coburn, Holland & Hart, Hunton Andrews Kurth, Stevens & Lee and Venable, according to data from Bloomberg Law.

NRECA is a separate organization from the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp., which revealed late last year that its general counsel, Roberta Aronson, will retire by March 31.

Aronson joined the nonprofit financial cooperative in 1995 and became its top lawyer in 2013. Tax records show she was paid more than $729,000 by the organization in its 2019-20 fiscal year.

His impending departure and Barash’s recruitment by NRECA comes the same month that the American Petroleum Institute – the largest trade group in the US oil and gas industry – announced the appointment of a new general counsel in Ryan Meyers.

Meyers replaced former API chief legal officer Paul Afonso, who was hired in 2019 and has now retired from the organization, spokeswoman Bethany Williams said.


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