Watchdogs Call for Key Biden Administration Official to Resign Over 'Litany of Abuses of Public Trust'


Leaders from 14 government accountability organizations issued a letter Tuesday to President Joe Biden calling for the immediate resignation of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and alleging numerous instances of unethical conduct throughout her tenure leading the Department of Energy (DOE).

The letter requests that Biden pursue Granholm’s resignation on account of “her repeated apparent violations of federal ethics laws and regulations” and “the ethics failures and legal missteps of her subordinates resulting from her poor example.”

Since taking over the top post at DOE, Granholm has failed to fully report her financial holdings, participated in official activity which may have benefited her own financial interests, violated the STOCK Act, indicated to her subordinates that their priority should be policy outcomes rather than ethical compliance and violated the Hatch Act, the watchdogs allege.

The letter highlights a “litany of abuses of public trust,” further asserting that “Granholm has disregarded and de-prioritized her ethics obligations at every turn” since officially taking over at DOE in February of 2021.

Biden signed a January 2021 executive order on his first day in office requiring every appointee in every office of the executive branch to sign an ethics pledge, committing to “decision-making on the merits and exclusively in the public interest, without regard to private gain or personal benefit” aligned with “a broader ethics in government plan designed to restore and maintain public trust in government.”

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Before taking the top job at DOE, Granholm served on the board of Proterra, a now-bankrupt electric bus company that the Biden administration touted publicly and supported financially after she had started working for the administration. Granholm did not divest of her personal stake in the company for months after she started at DOE, eventually netting $1.6 million in capital gains when she cleared her position as she drew scrutiny from Republicans critical of the apparent conflict of interest.

“It looked bad enough when Secretary Granholm participated in a program that awarded grant funds to companies tied to Proterra,” Michael Chamberlain, president of Protect the Public’s Trust and signatory to the letter, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“But recent revelations show it was much worse,” he continued, adding that “her husband owned stock in Ford Motor Company while Ford received almost $25 million from that program.”

The Biden administration promoted and signed off on huge subsidies for Ford to boost its long-term electric vehicle production while Granholm’s husband held a position in the American automaker, according to E&E News.

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Revelations of her husband’s previously undisclosed holdings followed her April testimony to a Senate committee in which she said that she did not own any individual stocks.

Granholm violated the STOCK Act, which is designed to minimize de facto insider trading by government officials, nine times in 2021, Business Insider first reported. A DOE representative attributed the violations to “an inadvertent clerical oversight.”

She was also found to have violated the Hatch Act in 2021, when she touted the slim congressional Democratic majority and urged people to vote for Democrats in an interview with Marie Claire streamed on Instagram, according to a June 2022 report from the Office of Special Counsel.

An August poll by Gallup indicated that more than 50 percent of Americans have a negative perception of the ethics of the Biden administration. Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in January 2021 that the Biden administration vowed to be the most “ethically vigorous administration in history,” according to The Independent.

Ethics concerns also surround the White House, as Biden himself is subject to escalating media scrutiny amid a Republican-led investigation into the possibility that he was directly involved in an alleged influence peddling scheme in which is son, Hunter Biden, leveraged his father’s political contacts to enrich the family in deals with overseas business contacts from China, Ukraine, Romania and Kazakhstan.

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Neither DOE nor the White House responded immediately to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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