U.S. Energy Secretary Granholm violated ethics law, watchdog says

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm attends a news conference at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve site in Bayou Choctaw, Louisiana, U.S., May 24, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

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WASHINGTON, June 29 (Reuters) – U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm violated a law that limits political participation and speech by federal employees during a late 2021 interview, a government watchdog said. .

The Hatch Act of 1939 limits the political campaign activities of federal employees, except for the president and vice president.

Granholm’s remarks made in an interview with Marie Claire magazine were political and favored the electoral success of the Democratic Party, according to the US Office of Special Counsel (OSC), an independent government agency.

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“The good news is that this march and this vote gave the Democrats a simple majority, but a majority, in the House, in the Senate,” Granholm had said during the Instagram Live interview.

“And again, I’m using Democrats as a proxy for policies you believe in, policies you would like to see happen,” she added.

The watchdog, however, determined that disciplinary action was not necessary in response to Granholm’s violation, but that it would still send a warning letter to the Energy Secretary stating that further violations could result in measurements.

“The Office of Special Counsel has notified the Secretary of a single unintentional and reckless violation and that complaint is now closed. Secretary Granholm takes her ethical obligations seriously,” the Department of Energy said Wednesday.

Late last year, a nonprofit ethics watchdog, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), called for an investigation into whether the White House press secretary of the time, Jen Psaki, had violated federal law with apparent endorsement from the White House podium of a Democratic party. candidate for governor of Virginia. Read more

Under the administration of former US President Donald Trump, CREW has filed complaints against several White House officials. A complaint against Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway led to an OSC recommendation to remove her from federal service. Read more

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Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; additional reporting by Timothy Gardner; edited by Aurora Ellis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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