Energy secretary Granholm says she failed to reveal stock holdings; GOP calls for investigation

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Republican on the Senate Energy panel is calling for an investigation of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, after she told the committee she mistakenly provided false information about her family’s stock holdings in testimony earlier this year.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso on Wednesday asked the Energy Department’s inspector general to look into what Barrasso called “multiple instances of questionable ethical conduct since the start of her tenure” in 2021.

Barrasso’s request came after Granholm sent a letter to the committee revealing she owned financial stocks as recently as May, contradicting testimony she gave to the panel in April.

Granholm also said her husband, Daniel Mulhern, owned previously undisclosed stock in Ford Motor Co., a key player in the Biden administration’s efforts to improve fuel efficiency for cars and trucks and boost sales of electric vehicles.

Granholm said at an April 20 budget hearing that she did not own any individual stocks, saying she was only invested in mutual funds. That comment was a mistake, Granholm said. “I should have said that I did not own any conflicting stocks,” she wrote in a June 9 letter to Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, chairman of the energy panel.

Granholm said she had stocks in six companies that were deemed “non-conflicting assets” by agency ethics officials but has since sold them. She declined to identify the companies or say how much the stocks were worth, but said that information would be publicly revealed on a financial disclosure report due this month.

Granholm also said she recently became aware that her husband owned stock in Ford, which has worked closely with the Biden administration. Granholm is a former Michigan governor and prominent supporter of the U.S. auto industry. The Ford stock was sold on May 15 for just under $2,500, she said.

“As I was not previously aware of the asset, I did not report my spouse’s financial interest on my two prior Public Financial Disclosure Reports, nor was it included in the other paperwork associated with my nomination,” Granholm wrote. If it had been reported, the value would have been listed as $1,001 to $15,000, she said.

“As a public servant, I take very seriously the commitment to hold myself to the highest ethical standards, and I regret the accidental omission of my spouse’s interest in Ford,” Granholm wrote.

A spokesman for Energy Department Inspector General Teri Donaldson said Wednesday that the watchdog office had received Barrasso’s letter and was reviewing it.

A DOE spokesman said Granholm is committed to ethical conduct and transparency.

“Secretary Granholm timely divested of all conflicting assets that were known at the time of her confirmation, and subsequently even divested of assets she wasn’t legally required to sell.”

Granholm also drew criticism from Republicans two years ago, after she revealed ownership interest in an electric bus maker that President Joe Biden touted as part of push for EVs.

Granholm sold her holdings in California-based Proterra Inc. in May 2021, clearing a net gain of $1.6 million. The sale fulfilled her obligations under an ethics agreement three months before an August 2021 deadline, the Energy Department said at the time.

Republicans had criticized Granholm’s holdings in the company, noting the administration’s focus on electric vehicles as part of its push to slow climate change. Criticism grew louder after Biden made an online visit to a Proterra manufacturing site in South Carolina to highlight U.S. EV makers.