Granholm Deputy May Be Caught in Potential Ethics Violation, Adding to DOE’s Woes

Energy head may not be the only official at her agency to spark ethics concerns and a possible investigation.

Today, Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT), asked ethics officials at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) whether the Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman committed several ethics violations in recent public speaking engagements. The new inquiry comes fresh on the heels of Speakes-Backman’s boss, Secretary Jennifer Granholm, earning the dubious honor of addition to PPT’s growing list of high-level Executive Branch officials with potential ethics problems.

Through independent research, PPT has uncovered several instances in which Speakes-Backman appears to have participated in events where she either endorsed her former employer, the Energy Storage Association (ESA), or was sponsored by a “Leadership Circle” Member of her former employer while acting in her official DOE capacity. In one instance Speakes-Backman seems to endorse several policy requests of ESA, whose members stand to reap significant financial benefits from initiatives under the auspices of the office she leads.

“As Americans sit in gas lines unseen in nearly fifty years, they could rightly wonder if their interests are a priority for the Department of Energy,” said Michael Chamberlain, Director of Protect the Public’s Trust. “Secretary Granholm continues to hold stock in a company that could benefit from DOE initiatives. Now we discover that one of her top lieutenants may be following in her footsteps by potentially violating her ethics agreement in a way that could financially benefit her former employer. The more the American public finds out what is going on at DOE the more reason they have to lose trust in their government.”

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