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Ethics Watchdog Files Hatch Act Complaint Against Secretary Granholm

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

Evidence Shows Secretary Granholm Advocated for a Political Party and Its Policies During an Interview in Her Official Capacity

Washington, D.C.— October 20, 2021— The non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), has requested the Office of Special Counsel investigate whether Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm violated the Hatch Act by making political remarks in her official capacity while being interviewed.

The Hatch Act prohibits executive branch employees from using their official authority or influence to affect the outcome of an election, including using his or her official title while participating in political activity. Specifically, Executive Branch Agency Secretaries are prohibited from making political remarks while appearing in their official capacity.

Present case facts:

  • Jennifer Granholm is the Secretary of Energy, a federal agency within the executive branch, and thus is subject to the Hatch Act

  • On October 6, 2021, Secretary Granholm was interviewed in her official capacity by Emily Tisch Sussman for a Marie Claire Instagram Live video

  • The interview began with Granholm being introduced as the Energy Secretary and discussing her official position, but the conversation transitioned to discussing the importance of electing progressive Democrats to help pass President Biden's spending plan

"The Hatch Act is an important law that maintains separation between government and politics, which protects both the citizen's trust in government and taxpayer dollars from abuse. In this case there is no doubt that Secretary Granholm was speaking in her official capacity with the Department of Energy Seal displayed behind her. Further, she even acknowledged the Hatch Act and that it applied to her remarks but, despite this, she made political statements and advocated for a political party's candidates. The Office of Special Counsel must investigate and impose the proper penalties if Secretary Granholm is found in violation," said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT.

A full copy of the Granholm complaint can be found by clicking here.

FACT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas.  For more on FACT, visit:




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