President Joe Biden took a virtual tour of an automotive company on Tuesday to promote his $2.3 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan, and it just so happens that Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm owns up to $5 million stock in that company.
Biden took a virtual tour of Silicon Valley electric bus and battery manufacturer Proterra’s factory in Greenville, North Carolina, where he was originally slated to give a speech promoting his infrastructure plan. That plan includes a proposal of a “$174 billion investment to win the [electric vehicle] market,” according to a White House fact sheet.
Granholm still owns between $1,000,001 and $5,000,000 in Proterra, according to a financial disclosure report, though she previously vowed to sell off all her stake in the company within 180 days of assuming office.
A White House official said Granholm is “in the process of selling off all stock in the company” and that she will have sold it all “within the 180-day window permitted by the ethics agreement,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.
The official added that Granholm was not involved in planning Biden’s original trip to the company.
The secretary is, however, a central figure in the administration’s electric vehicle push, as the president assigned her in February with the task of “identifying risks in the supply chain for high-capacity batteries, including electric-vehicle batteries, and policy recommendations to address these risks,” according to the Free Beacon.
Granholm joined Proterra’s board of directors in 2017 and was listed as a member of that body until February when she assumed her current role as secretary of Energy.
Biden’s virtual tour followed closely a visit by Vice President Kamala Harris to North Carolina-based Thomas Built Buses earlier this week. Thomas purchases most of its electric vehicles from Proterra, according to the Free Beacon.
“Usually, people at least try to hide their cronyism & corruption,” the Republican lawmaker tweeted.
It’s good to be the king.
(Usually, people at least try to hide their cronyism & corruption.) https://t.co/WgAVRR4M2g
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 20, 2021
Indeed, the exclusive tour of a business heavily invested in by one of Biden’s Cabinet members doesn’t make for good optics.
Much less so now, considering that Democrats followed the tour with an announcement that they will introduce legislation to spend $25 billion on converting gas and diesel school buses to electric vehicles, 40 percent of which will be mandated to serve non-white communities, according to The Associated Press.
The situation appears to be — at least in part — a partisan push to offer up kickbacks to Democrat-linked companies and is at minimum an overt attempt to peddle influence with the energy sector.
Cruz was not alone in sounding the alarm over Granholm’s business ties, either.
Travis Wines, the 2018 Republican candidate for Michigan’s 5th Congressional District, issued a scathing tweet recalling Granholm’s eight years as governor of Michigan during which the state’s economy collapsed.
“Jennifer Granholm is a famous former Governor from Michigan and here reign is still known as the dark years and the lost decade,” Wines wrote. “She is as evil and corrupt as they come.”
Jennifer Granholm is a famous former Governor from Michigan and here reign is still known as the dark years and the lost decade. She is as evil and corrupt as they come https://t.co/QMrCXyPE9k
— Travis Wines (@TWines4congress) April 20, 2021
The fact that Democrats are directly following Biden’s pandering with actual infrastructure legislation that could directly benefit Proterra is simply icing on the corruption cake.
To borrow the favored parlance of the politically vapid, it’s not a good look.
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