Well, that didn't take long.
Less than five hours after announcing he was stepping down as Secretary of State, Phil Wilson has re-emerged as a senior vice president for Luminant, the wholesale subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings -- that is, the company that used to be TXU Corp.
According to a press release from Energy Future Holdings, Wilson will become "Senior Vice President of Public Affairs" with oversight authority over the company's community relations, communications, regulatory and government affairs efforts.
The press release says Wilson will begin at Luminant on July 7, 2008. A press release received by the Star-Telegram four hours earlier from Wilson's state office said his last day working as Texas' top elections officer will be July 6.
Wilson, of course, isn't the first top government official to go directly from big government to big business. In March 2007, Bruce Gibson, the long-time chief of staff for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, went directly from that office to become a legislative consultant for TXU.
The move came just as TXU was fighting consumer groups over legislation that potentially could have hampered the multibillion-dollar deal that led to the creation of Energy Future Holdings.
Wilson's move comes against a backdrop of increasing energy prices, newly bankrupt energy retailers and in advance of a legislative session in 2009 that could bring more challenges from frustrated ratepayers.
David Campbell, chief executive officer of Luminant, said Wilson will make a great addition for the company. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our leadership team and complements our current efforts in public affairs," Campbell said in a prepared statement.
But Andrew Wheat, an analyst with the Texans for Public Justice watchdog group, said the state needs "revolving door" legislation to prevent officials like Wilson and Gibson from going directly from high-profile government posts to positions with businesses seeking favor with the state.
"It's too bad -- this state has a revolving door that is absolutely out of control," said Wheat. "It would be good to have a significant cooling-off period, if not an out-and-out prohibition."
A spokeswoman for Energy Future Holdings said officials there have not yet decided whether Wilson will work as a lobbyist for the company.
-- R.A. Dyer