Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), the ranking member of the Environment Subcommittee, sent a letter Wednesday to Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm demanding documents to investigate her “longstanding relationship” and “multi-million-dollar stake” in a company President Joe Biden recently promoted.
Norman intends to find out more about the massive conflict of interest Granholm and the rest of the Biden administration has with Proterra, Inc. The ranking member is also determined to find out where the administration is promoting a clean energy company, which a high-ranking cabinet official had worked with in the past and still holds massive amounts of stock.
“President Biden recently participated in a virtual event promoting the company, raising questions about how the White House selected Proterra, Inc. for a presidential event, particularly when it appears that you still have a financial stake in the company,” the letter said.
The letter added that this all happened after the secretary’s confirmation process had publicly shared that she “held a multi-million-dollar stake in the company and served on the board of directors.”
Proterra, known as “a leader in the design and manufacture of zero-emission electric transit vehicles and EV technology solutions for commercial applications,” participated in a virtual event with the president last month that was meant “to promote the Administration’s green car initiative.”
This week, it was reported Granholm has now joined the growing list of senior Biden administration officials to receive ethics waivers for potential conflicts of interest either regarding selling massive amounts of stock shares or a previous lobbying job.
Environment & Energy Publishing reported, “Granholm received an Office of Government Ethics waiver that could set the stage for her to divest more than 240,000 shares in an electric bus company,” according to disclosure forms that were recently made available.
Norman said, “This is concerning” that the “White House still decided to promote the company with a presidential event”:
"I want to ensure that you are taking your ethics requirements seriously, and not using your position to profit financially.”https://t.co/LXwiVi7ydO
— Oversight Committee Republicans (@GOPoversight) May 12, 2021
Norman said to Granholm, “It also appears that you are involved with decisions and issues that directly conflict with your ownership of Proterra, Inc. Specifically, one of the priorities of the Biden Administration’s Department of Energy is electric vehicle technology.”
Norman added that he wants to find out if the secretary is supporting Biden’s executive order, which allows her to submit “a report identifying risks in the supply chain for high-capacity batteries, including electric-vehicle batteries, and policy recommendations to address these risks.” The congressman wants to make sure there is no self-interest involved due to her ownership of stocks from Proterra.
This would mean the secretary is acting in her own self-interest, let alone a major conflict of interest would be “even more troubling and raises questions about whether the company receives any preferential treatment from DOE.”
He said, “I want to ensure that you are taking your ethics requirements seriously, and not using your position to profit financially” and to make sure the Energy Department is not “actively pushing a public relations campaign to endorse electric vehicles, batteries and charging infrastructure.”
When complaints about the secretary’s ties hovered over her, the Energy Department denied to E&E News it had any type of involvement in the planning of that virtual tour.
Norman told The Washington Free Beacon, “We choose to be public servants to better our nation—not line our pockets. … The secretary has had ample time to distance herself from conflicting investments.”