Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm blamed a “clerical error” for serial violations of the law that governs the reporting of securities transactions, according to Insider.
Granholm violated the STOCK Act nine times in 2021, Insider first reported Thursday. The secretary filed two reports with the Office of Government Ethics on Dec. 15 and 16 detailing nine stock transactions that she conducted between April 30 and Oct. 26. All nine transactions fall outside the 45 day window that the STOCK Act mandates government officials report their trades within, according to Insider.
“This was an inadvertent clerical oversight on reporting stock sales that ethics officials previously determined did not pose a conflict in her role as Energy Secretary and the Secretary paid the late filing fee,” an Energy Department spokeswoman said of Granholm’s transactions.
NEW: Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm violated a federal conflicts-of-interest and transparency law by improperly reporting up to a quarter-million dollars in stock sales, per a @thisisinsider analysis of financial disclosure documents. by @WARojas https://t.co/JUz5HxUVxs
— Darren Samuelsohn (@dsamuelsohn) January 20, 2022
Granholm’s stock holdings have faced scrutiny from conservatives since President Joe Biden announced her nomination to the position in December 2020. At the time, Granholm sat on the board of Proterra, an electric vehicle company. She sold $1.6 million in the company’s stock in May, in keeping with a promise she made to divest her holdings within 180 days of entering the Biden administration. (RELATED: Top House Republican Opens Oversight Investigation Into Energy Secretary’s ‘Concerning’ Ownership Of Green Energy Firm)
One of the companies detailed in the transaction report, home security firm Vivint, has ties to green energy firms. Three months before Granholm sold the stock, Vivint partnered in July with Freedom Forever, a solar energy company that installs panels on homes and apartments.
Congress is considering several potential changes to the STOCK Act, following an Insider report detailing widespread noncompliance with the ethics law. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has expressed resistance to several proposals that would prohibit members of Congress and their top aides from buying and selling individual stocks, despite growing bipartisan support for an ethics reform package. In contrast, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has confirmed that he would consider a ban on individual members trading stocks.
Some of the bills would prohibit members, aides, and immediate family members from trading individual stocks, while others would increase penalties if a covered individual was caught trading on private information. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, several senators and their family members were accused of selling stocks based off of information they received about the virus at a members-only meeting.