WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - The top Republican of the Senate Energy Committee is calling for a probe into Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm after she admitted to the committee that she had given false information in her testimony earlier this summer about the stock holdings of her family.
Wyoming Senator John Barrasso asked Energy Department Inspector General to investigate what Barrasso referred to as "multiple instances" of questionable ethics since her appointment in 2021.
Barrasso made the request after Granholm revealed in a letter she had owned financial stock as recently as last May, contrary to testimony she gave the panel in April.
Granholm said that her husband Daniel Mulhern owned stock in Ford Motor Co. which was previously unknown. Ford Motor Co. is a major player in Biden's administration efforts to increase fuel efficiency in cars and trucks, and sales of electric vehicles.
Granholm stated at a budget hearing on April 20 that she does not own individual stocks and only invests in mutual funds. Granholm called the comment a mistake. "I should have stated that I owned no conflicting stocks,"
She wrote in a letter dated June 9,
Joe Manchin is the chairman of Energy Panel, a Democratic senator.
Granholm stated that she owned stocks in six companies deemed by ethics officials to be 'non conflicting assets'. She has sold these shares. She refused to name the companies, or reveal how much they were worth. However, she said the information would be made public in a financial report due later this month.
Granholm said that she was recently made aware of the fact that her husband had stock in Ford. Ford has been working closely with Biden's administration. Granholm, a former Michigan Governor and a prominent supporter of U.S. automobile industry, is regarded as a leading proponent. She said that the Ford stock was purchased on May 15, for just over $2,500.
Granholm wrote: 'As I had not been aware of this asset before, I didn't report the financial interest in my spouse on my previous Public Financial Disclosure Reports nor did it appear on any other documentation associated with my nomination.' She said that if it had been disclosed, the value of the asset would have been between $1,001 and $15,000.
Granholm wrote: 'As an employee of the public sector, I am committed to upholding the highest ethical standards. I regret that I accidentally omitted my spouse's stake in Ford.
A spokesperson for Energy Department Inspector-General Teri Donaldson stated Wednesday that the watchdog's office had received Barrasso’s letter and were reviewing it.
Granholm was also criticized by Republicans in 2012 after she disclosed ownership of an electric bus manufacturer that Joe Biden had praised as part the push for EVs.
Granholm cleared a gain of $1.6million when she sold her shares in California's Proterra Inc., in May 2021. Energy Department stated that the sale met her obligation under an ethics contract three months ahead of an August 2020 deadline.
Republicans criticized Granholm for her holdings in the firm, citing the administration's emphasis on electric cars as part of the effort to slow down climate change. The criticism grew after Biden visited a Proterra production site in South Carolina online to highlight U.S. electric vehicle makers.