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EPA draws another ethics complaint, days after green energy investments helped tank two banks

The EPA has been hit with several ethics complaints amid discoveries showing how recent bank failures were linked to investments in green-energy technology, resulting in insolvency.

Published: March 15, 2023 1:52pm

Updated: March 16, 2023 11:30am

The watchdog group Protect the Public's Trust on Wednesday filed another ethics complaint on the Environmental Protection Agency – this time focused on Principal Deputy Administrator Joseph Goffman and how he potentially violated federal ethics obligations. 

"In years past, actions comparable to those of Mr. Goffman could easily have resulted in an abrupt investigation and possible termination," the group said.

Following President Biden's inauguration in January 2021, the group alleged Goffman received ethics training and signed an ethics pledge "acknowledging his obligation, among other things, to avoid taking action on particular matters where he had a personal financial interest."

These actions allegedly follow Goffman having over 80 financial holdings that should have required him to recuse himself from specific matters involving those interests, or he could have sought a written waiver.

He did not do so, however, and instead only expressed intent on moving "expeditiously to divest several holdings that create potential conflicts." Goffman waited months before divesting from said holdings while he took part in business transactions "across large swaths of the economy." It is still unclear if he ever divested from forty of his interests, according to PPT.

"The sheer number of financial holdings requiring his recusal, when combined with the scope of his work, is fraught with potential conflicts of interest," the group stated. "His apparent indifference toward resolving these extensive financial conflicts of interest is striking." 

PPT's original complaint also centered on what it called "an admitted violation by Mr. Goffman regarding a meeting request from a former Harvard colleague."

The EPA replied to Just The News' request for comment, refuting the investigation with the following statement: 

"Any notion that Joe Goffman is conflicted is completely refuted by his decades of work to protect people from pollution and his leadership of the Office of Air and Radiation, where he continues to deliver on the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic agenda to tackle the climate crisis and ensure clean, breathable air for our most vulnerable communities.

"Goffman is committed to abiding by the high ethical standards required by the Agency as principal deputy assistant administrator. He has and will continue to appropriately follow through with the necessary steps to comply with that commitment, in coordination with the Agency’s career ethics officials." 

The second complaint involved Goffman’s contacts with some of his former colleagues and other individuals at the Ivy League university.

The group says it has obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act, which showed over 130 pages of communications between Goffman and Harvard.

It also claimed to have uncovered evidence that five individuals with ties to Harvard -- who contacted Goffman directly -- were hired at the EPA

The group also said it has found documents showing that a Harvard associate met with Goffman and signed off on two letters seeking to give millions of dollars of EPA funding to an "anti-noise program." 

"Goffman’s activities continue to raise serious questions about whether he has the integrity to hold public office," the press release concluded. "Yet, the EPA’s Ethics Office has yet to take decisive action. Accordingly, PPT has been compelled to file a third complaint over the actions of Mr. Goffman." 

You can follow Nick on Twitter @NGivasDC

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