We previously reported that Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm owned up to $5 million in stock options in Proterra, an electric vehicle technology manufacturer.
At the same time, she’s the United States Secretary of Energy, playing a big role in pushing electric vehicle usage as part of Joe Biden’s infrastructure initiatives. She was tasked to focus on “risks in the supply chain for high-capacity batteries, including electric-vehicle batteries, and policy recommendations to address these risks.” The infrastructure program also creates a Clean Bus program to electrify school buses and Proterra is involved in making batteries for such vehicles.
Joe Biden has also visited and specifically promoted the company from the official White House Twitter account.
This afternoon, I’m touring the Proterra electric battery manufacturing facility in South Carolina. Tune in. https://t.co/34DeLFM75v
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 20, 2021
The CEO of Proterra, Jack Allen, was invited to a White House’s Leaders Summit on Climate where his company was praised by the National climate adviser Gina McCarthy and asked what the federal government could do for “spurring the demand for zero-emission electric vehicles, including school buses.” Granholm also met with Allen at that time.
Granholm has denied any connection to promoting Proterra, but as I previously said, it sure looked like a “big flashing sign of the appearance of impropriety.”
Yet, media, apart from conservative media, has failed to really cover this to any degree at all.
And now it looks like the swampy pay-off is now kicking in. A spokesperson confirmed that Granholm finally sold the stock options and that she scored a $1.6 million profit from the sale. The spokesperson claimed that she, therefore, had complied with the requirement to divest.
Barrasso said Thursday that Granholm “actively promoted electric vehicles and electric vehicle batteries” even as she owned stock in a prominent EV maker. While she sold the stock, “her actions appear to be a significant conflict of interest,” Barrasso said.
Inspector General Teri L. Donaldson told Barrasso in a letter that she is evaluating the concerns he raised and will “determine what next steps may be appropriate.”
How is this okay? Yes, she may have met whatever superficial deadline there was for selling off the assets. But in the meantime, it looks like there was a White House promotion of the company and it could have pumped up the worth of the stock options, not to mention her own involvement in the infrastructure push for electric vehicles and her particular focus. How can you not look at that and say it smells to high heaven? Hopefully, the inspector general does a credible look into this and doesn’t just gloss over it because she has the magical “D” after her name.