NOTE: This story was originally published Sept. 19, 2015.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Lucas Oil founder Forrest Lucas could be on the short list to be Donald Trump's secretary of the interior, Politico reported this week.
Citing sources "familiar with the campaign's deliberations," Politico reporters Helena Bottemiller Evich and Andrew Restuccia say Lucas is a "leading contender" for the job – which would give him oversight of the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Park Service.
The appointment of Lucas – who also owns the Missouri-based Lucas Cattle Company, in additional to the automotive oil and additives distributor he co-founded – would likely represent a significant departure in environmental strategy from President Barack Obama's administration, which has clashed with oil & drilling interests during his time in office.
Lucas is also the founder of the Protect the Harvest Political Action Committee, which says it works to "inform America's consumers, businesses and decision-makers about the threats posed by animal rights groups and anti-farming extremists." The PAC, which Lucas gave $250,000 in 2014, has focused its political contributions on Congressional candidates in Western states like Iowa and Kansas.
Closer to home, Lucas and his wife Charlotte have been major donors for Indiana Republicans at the state and federal level, donating more than $20,000 each to the campaigns of Republican Congressmen Todd Rokita and Todd Young and approximately $15,000 to Republican Marlin Stutzman's congressional campaigns. They donated $40,000 to former Governor Mitch Daniels' gubernatorial campaigns, and $30,000 to help elect Republican Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma – along with another $15,000 to the House Republican Campaign Committee.
Indiana campaign finance records show Charlotte Lucas donated $2,000 to Mike Pence's first gubernatorial campaign. Federal campaign finance records don't currently show any direct contributions by the Lucases to either Pence or Trump in the presidential campaign.