Granholm Sells Manufacturer’s Stock of Electric Buses Biden Hailed | Economic news
By MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) – Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has sold her stake in an electric bus maker that President Joe Biden touted during a “virtual tour” last month.
A spokesperson said Granholm this week sold its holdings in California-based Proterra Inc., making a net gain of $ 1.6 million. The sale fulfills Granholm’s obligations under an ethics agreement three months before the August deadline, the energy department said.
“Secretary Granholm acted in full compliance with the comprehensive ethical standards set by the Biden administration and completed her divestment well ahead of the time required by her ethics agreement,” spokeswoman Kevin Liao said in an e- mail.
Details of the sale will be released by the Office of Government Ethics, although the timing is uncertain.
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Republicans had criticized Granholm’s stakes in the company, noting the Biden administration’s focus on electric vehicles as part of its efforts to tackle climate change. Criticism escalated after Biden’s online visit to a Proterra manufacturing facility in South Carolina to highlight U.S. electric vehicle makers.
Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, the senior Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has asked the Department of Energy Inspector General to investigate whether Granholm’s property in the company represented a conflict of interest. Representative Ralph Norman, RS.C., a member of the House Oversight Committee, also pressed Granholm for details of his relationship with Proterra.
Granholm, a former Proterra board member, pledged at her confirmation hearing to recuse herself from any matter having “a direct and foreseeable effect on the financial interests of Proterra” until she complete the sale of its stake in the company.
Granholm and the White House said it had nothing to do with planning for Biden’s online visit.
Granholm, a former Michigan governor, is a longtime supporter of electric vehicles and has promoted their use as secretary of energy, calling them a key part of Biden’s climate strategy.
The Energy Department said the sale of Granholm’s shares took place 89 days after he was sworn in as energy secretary, less than half of the 180 days required by his ethics agreement.
Barrasso said Thursday that Granholm “is actively promoting electric vehicles and electric vehicle batteries” even though it owns shares in a major electric vehicle maker. As 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 assessing the concerns he has raised and “will determine what next steps may be appropriate.”
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