Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Energy Chairman Brandon Williams (R-NY) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Jay Obernolte (R-CA) sent a letter to Secretary Jennifer Granholm on conflicts of interest and public disclosure requirements at the Department of Energy (DOE). The letter follows one sent in April regarding reports that hundreds of DOE employees hold stocks and other assets related to the agency’s work, despite receiving notice from ethics officials regarding likely violations.
In today’s letter, Williams and Obernolte raised Granholm’s failure to disclose ownership of stocks in Ford until just before DOE announced a $9.2 billion loan commitment with BlueOval SK LLC – a joint venture between Ford and a Korean battery company.
“The Committee is extremely concerned by the timing of this loan announcement and how closely it coincides with your sudden financial disclosure,” Williams and Obernolte wrote. The Chairmen pointed out a number of other high-profile awards made to Ford recently, all prior to Granholm’s disclosure of ownership.
“All of these actions were taken under your tenure while your spouse owned stock in this company,” they wrote. “Your failure to disclose ownership in a timely fashion highlights our concerns of widespread neglect and indifference for ethics compliance at DOE, particularly as it relates to conflict of interest requirements.”
“The Committee urges DOE to develop an all-encompassing and more effective plan for both employee and leadership disclosure requirements designed to put a stop to this pattern of ethics violations,” they continued. “Further, it is incumbent on the Department to enforce disclosure laws, regulations, and policies through available administrative and criminal enforcement measures.”
The full letter is available here.