Jennifer Granholm, Energy Secretary in Biden administration is accused of violating the Hatch Act during an October 2021 interview when she used her office to promote Democratic candidates, said US Office of Special Counsel (OSC).
Granholm’s violation was revealed after watchdog group Foundation for Accountability & Civic Trust (FACT) requested that the OSC investigate comments Granholm made to media outlet Marie Clare on October 6, 2021.
During an interview with the outlet, Granholm said it was “good news … voting gave Democrats a bare majority (in Congress),” before attempting to clarify by stating she was “using Democrats as a substitute for the policies that you believe in, the policies that you would like to see happen,” the Detroit Free Press reported.
The OSC determined that Granholm’s comments crossed the line as they were “directed at the success of the Democratic Party.” The special counsel, however, decided not to pursue disciplinary action. Instead, the OSC slapped Granholm with a warning, writing that she had not received “significant” training on the Hatch Act before making those comments. Granholm was sworn in as energy secretary in late February 2021, more than seven months prior to making her comments about Democratic candidates.
“Secretary Granholm has been advised that if in the future she engages in prohibited political activity while employed in a position covered by the Hatch Act, we will consider such activity to be a willful and knowing violation of the law,” the OSC letter sent to FACT on June 9 said.
The Hatch Act, passed in 1939, prohibits federal government employees from engaging in “activity directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group – while the employee is on duty, in any federal room or building, while wearing a uniform or official insignia, or using any federally owned or leased vehicle.”
A Department of Energy spokesperson confirmed to Fox News Digital that Granholm had received a warning from the OSC.
“Secretary Granholm takes her ethics obligations seriously”, the spokesperson said, according to Fox News. “And, she remains laser focused on delivering President Biden’s equitable clean energy agenda which will help lower energy costs for American families and enhance our nation’s security”.
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