Washington Examiner

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm under fire for financial ethics issues.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm’s Transparency Lapses Raise Concerns

Lawmakers and watchdogs are expressing heightened concerns over Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm’s admission of giving false testimony on stock ownership. In a letter to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Granholm admitted to “mistakenly” testifying that she “did not own any individual stocks” in April, when she meant to say she “did not own any conflicting stocks.” Additionally, Granholm’s husband, Daniel Mulhern, owned shares in Ford Motor Company without prior disclosure.

“Issuing a statement six weeks later without any explanation is unacceptable,” said Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “It’s one of two things at this point. She’s either incompetent or lying.”

Granholm’s ethical and financial decisions have been under sharp criticism since being appointed by President Joe Biden. Armstrong has outstanding questions regarding Granholm’s failure to disclose her husband’s stock in a company that falls under her authority. Granholm vowed to publicize details about her prior holdings in six companies on her financial disclosure report, which will be available in mid-June.

Granholm’s Ethical Setbacks

Granholm has faced ethical setbacks since being confirmed by the Senate in February 2021. She skirted a federal conflicts-of-interest law by not disclosing up to $240,000 in stock sales, leading to her paying a $400 government late fee in 2022. Granholm also violated the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in certain political activity, when she appeared to endorse Democratic candidates in a 2021 interview.

Granholm’s prior ownership of shares in Proterra, an electric battery and vehicle manufacturer that Biden promoted in 2021 as part of his infrastructure package, has also received scrutiny from the GOP. Granholm sold her 240,000 shares for $1.6 million in May 2021.

The revelation concerning Ford stock and Granholm’s husband may lead to watchdog groups launching investigations to uncover further information. The financial disclosure error could be akin to an apparent conflict of interest given that Granholm and Biden in the past have promoted Ford’s electric vehicles.

  • Ford and other electric vehicle manufacturers have also stood to benefit from subsidies in Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, a $740 billion spending bill the president signed into law in August 2022.
  • Granholm appointed Ford lobbyist Christopher Smith in April to serve on her Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, which advises the secretary on the “global clean energy revolution.”

Michael Chamberlain, director of Protect the Public’s Trust, a right-leaning watchdog, said, “These latest revelations are unfortunately just par for the course at Secretary Granholm’s Department of Energy.”

Energy Department spokesman David A. Mayorga said that Granholm “always puts the interests of the American people first” and divested from assets that could be in conflict with her official duties.

Granholm’s transparency lapses are highly troubling, and lawmakers and watchdogs are calling for her to be completely forthcoming and transparent with Congress regarding her ethical lapses as secretary.



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