U.S. Office of Special Counsel: Secretary Jennifer Granholm Violated the Hatch Act
Updated: Sep 29, 2022
The letter states Granholm used her official capacity to engage in political activity
Washington, D.C.--June 28, 2022--The non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), received a ruling from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel confirming Secretary Granholm violated 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. This interview prompted FACT to file a Hatch Act complaint.
The decision from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel states, “OSC has concluded that Secretary Granholm engaged in political activity when she gave this response promoting the electoral success of the Democratic Party. Specifically, when asked what viewers could do to ensure that certain legislation gets passed, Secretary Granholm began her answer by commenting that Democrats now have a majority in the House and the Senate, which is ‘good news.’ And while she then attempted to backpedal by stating that she was using ‘Democrats as a substitute’ for certain policies, at bottom she told listeners that they needed to vote for Democrats so that more Democrats would be elected to pass the legislation they wanted.” Thus, leading to her violating the Hatch Act.
The OSC closed the file by issuing a warning letter to Secretary Granholm and advised that if she violates the Hatch again, she will be willfully and knowingly violating the law, and further action would be required.
"The Hatch Act is a critical law that maintains separation between government and politics, both protecting the citizen's trust in government and taxpayer dollars. In this case, there is no doubt that Secretary Granholm spoke 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. We are satisfied the Office of Special Counsel investigated thoroughly and found a clear violation in this case," said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT.
A full copy of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel decision can be found here.
A full copy of the original Granholm complaint can be found here.
FACT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas. For more on FACT, visit: http://www.factdc.org/