Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm revealed Friday that she has held financial stocks as recently as May, contradicting testimony she gave to a Senate committee earlier this year.
In a letter shared with E&E News and sent to the committee, she also revealed her spouse held a previously undisclosed investment in Ford Motor Co., an automotive brand that falls squarely in her jurisdiction.
Granholm told the Energy and Natural Resources Committee at an April 20 budget hearing that she did not own any individual stocks, saying she was only invested in mutual funds. She also said she would “not object” to congressional legislation that would ban executive department officials from holding stocks.
“I mistakenly told the Committee that I did not own any individual stocks, whereas I should have said that I did not own any conflicting stocks,” Granholm wrote in her letter.
Granholm wrote that she had stocks in six companies that were deemed “non-conflicting” by agency ethics officials. She did not disclose what these companies were or how much these stocks were worth, but said they would be publicly disclosed on her annual public financial disclosure report available in mid-June.
Granholm also said in the letter that her spouse previously owned stock in Ford, which has worked closely with the Biden administration and DOE to build out electric vehicles and deploy new battery technologies. Granholm became aware of her spouse’s stock May 13, which was worth $2,457.89 when sold.
“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. If it had been reported, the value would have been reported as “$1,001 – $15,000” and the income amount would have been reported as “None (or less than $201),” wrote Granholm.
The Ford stock was sold May 15, and Granholm divested her holdings in the six companies May 18, she said.
Granholm made her initial comments during the hearing in response to Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who was questioning the Energy secretary on a Wall Street Journal report that found U.S. ethics officials had warned one-third of the Energy Department’s senior officials that they or their families owned stocks related to the agency’s work.
Granholm defended those agency officials’ stock holdings by saying that their investments are vetted and that it is possible agency officials can hold stocks in areas unrelated to their specific work but related to the agency’s broad portfolio.
She said that she takes financial ethics at the agency very seriously.
“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 in the letter.