If we heard it once, we heard it a thousand times during the Trump presidency: the White House and its administration should be transparent. And we couldn’t agree more. But it seems that those who railed about Trump and his staffers needing to be more vigilant about it are some of the biggest perpetrators of the same crime now that they have found themselves in the seat of power.
Chief among them is Biden’s energy secretary Jennifer Granholm.
While Trump was in the White House, you might remember that he decided to stop releasing the names of those who visited the White House. Granholm, as well as no small number on the political left, took that to mean that he was trying to hide something, possibly nefarious. Therefore, she and others made quite the stink about it on social media, calling for immediate transparency and openness and reminding him that he got into the Oval Office by campaigning on that principle.
This would make you think that things like honesty, integrity, and transparency would be important virtues for Granholm herself to uphold. But, of course, now that she sits in a White House office chair, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
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Take recent reports by Business Insider and others that Granholm is among a rather astounding number of White House officials and congressional members have violated the STOCK Act in the past year, basically by choosing not to be transparent.
If you haven’t heard of the STOCK Act before, it is a piece of legislature aimed at holding congressional members, federal staff, and even their close relatives accountable for their investments and trades in the stock market by requiring them to disclose all stock and commodity trades within a certain period.
The idea is that due to their line of work, these officials and lawmakers have access to what many would call insider information about certain stocks and investment opportunities that they could then choose to pay into and make quite a lot of money off of. Disclosing such information would at least make them transparent about their transactions on the stock market and give them pause to invest in certain opportunities.
However, based on the number of those who were found in violation of the law in 2021, I’d say it holds little sway over the decisions of those in power, such as Granholm.
According to Business Insider, the former Michigan governor, now-energy secretary, sold some $240,000 in stock between April and October of last year. And yet, the Office of Government Ethics wasn’t notified until December 15 and 16.
Now, you might say, well, she can’t really be in violation if she did actually report it. Well, that’s true, but only to some degree. You see, as I mentioned before, the reporting of such trades must be completed either within 30 days of being notified of the sale or within 45 days of the transaction being made.
In Granholm’s case, the transactions were not reported until some months later.
According to Granholm, she says she wasn’t notified within those first 30 days and so couldn’t be held responsible for that. But that still doesn’t explain why she couldn’t comply with the 45-day rule.
Additionally, the Department of Energy’s spokeswoman Charisma Troiano said in an email to Business Insider that the ethics office “has certified that based on her reports, Secretary Granholm’s financial holdings are in compliance with the law.”
However, Troiano failed to mention that they were only found to be “in compliance” after she had been caught and forced to pay the late filing fee required. This was later clarified in a and not so transparent email to CNBC.
But as it turns out, this isn’t the first time Granholm has been less than transparent about her trading habits.
Prior to when she was first picked as Biden’s energy secretary, Granholm held stock in an electric vehicle company called Proterra, which has contracts with the federal government. This would mean that becoming a federal employee would make such stock ownership a conflict of interest.
But rather than sell them off immediately, she waited until someone found out about it in May before she sold, making a substantial $1.6 million on the sale, according to The Associated Press.
So much for being transparent, huh?