A week ago, at a Senate Energy Committee hearing, Sen. Josh Hawley pressed Teri Donaldson, Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Energy, about Secretary Jennifer Granholm’s “false testimony” about stocks.
The Missouri Republican began by reading the headline of a WSJ report from February. “The Wall Street Journal published back in February a report. I’m just gonna quote the headline, here it is, ‘Hundreds of Energy Department officials hold stocks related to agency’s work despite warnings.’
He asked if she had been tracking this and if she had seen the reports. Ms. Donaldson said she had. Senator Hawley continued, saying that, sadly, it includes the secretary of energy who testified right here to this committee that she didn’t own any individual stocks. He had asked her three times in April, and she said absolutely not three times. In under two months, Granholm wrote the chairman and said she actually did have the stocks, but she didn’t divest them until May and didn’t tell the committee until a month later.
“She misled this committee and didn’t tell us the fact that we have all of these Energy Department officials holding stocks related to the agency’s work.”
He asked her, What is going on here?
Donaldson responded that you can hold stock and be an employee of the government, but you cannot participate in any decisions that might impact the value of this stock. She said different rules apply, which Congress, regulation, or policy can drive. In the particular situation Hawley spoke about, she said they get notices reminding them that if they own stock…they’ll get a notice, but they don’t carry penalties. They keep track of their own stocks. In other words, they are on the honor system.
That’s it. They’re on the honor system, they get a notice that doesn’t carry any penalties, and they can act on insider trading or, worse, influence policy.
The worst part of this is it’s the government determining which companies will win and which will lose.
Even for this government, it’s shocking. Where is the media on this? It’s a bipartisan problem.