Cheney's Former Spokeswoman Tapped for BP Media Relations Post

Dick Cheney's former campaign spokeswoman reportedly has been hired to run U.S. media relations for BP as the oil giant struggles to plug the massive leak in the Gulf of Mexico while fending off mounting criticism.

Reuters first reported that Anne Womack-Kolton, who served as the former vice president's press secretary in the 2004 campaign and as public affairs head for the Department of Energy, was joining the BP team.

Kolton will head up the media relations arm as public pressure on the firm continues to rise in the wake of the April 20 oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers and triggered the leak. BP has so far been unable to staunch the flow, though it is now attempting a new procedure that, if successful, would siphon oil to the surface.

The Obama administration has toughened its rhetoric toward BP in recent weeks. On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced criminal and civil investigations into the disaster, though he did not say who might be targeted.