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Watchdog group files FOIA lawsuit regarding records of Energy secretary's consulting business

DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm has been in ethics hot water since assuming her position with the Biden administration.

Published: February 10, 2022 12:25pm

Updated: February 10, 2022 2:28pm

A watchdog group on Thursday filed a federal FOIA lawsuit against the Energy Department to obtain records related to the activities of agency Secretary Jennifer Granholm, the subject of numerous ethics complaints since assuming office last year.

The suit was filed by the political ethics watchdog group Protect the Public's Trust.

One complaint is related to Granholm and husband Daniel Mulhern being partners at their firm, Granholm Mulhern Associates, which provided consulting services to businesses in the green energy sector.

The watchdog group points out that with the Energy Department poised to receive a significant injection of taxpayer cash, due to the Biden administration's infrastructure bill, it is more important then ever that Granholm be clear of scandal and financial conflicts of interest.

Granholm's involvement with with green energy bus company Proterra, which the administration has repeatedly promoted, has also raised ethics concerns, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.

After assuming office, Granholm continued to hold stock options in Proterra that she did not give up despite the administration's promotion of the company.

When she was finally forced to divest her holdings, she netted a reported $1.6 million. 

Beyond Granholm's Proterra entanglement, since last spring, the secretary has been involved in a number of questionable activities from appearing at a campaign event for Democrat Terry McAuliffe's failed Virginia gubernatorial bid to improperly reporting up to a quarter-million dollars in stock sales for shares of companies including Gilead Sciences, Uber and real estate company Redfin.

Protect the Public's Trust is trying to get ahold of records of conversations pertaining to Granholm and her husband's role with their consulting firm.

Michael Chamberlain, the director of the watchdog group, says he remains baffled by the lack of transparency from the Energy Department, considering the ethics concerns related to Granholm.

"One would think they would want to be even more transparent about these issues," he said. But so far we’ve had to resort to litigation to force the transparency the American public deserves."

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