Group files complaint over Granholm campaign rally

Timothy Cama, E&E News

Protect the Public’s Trust said it will submit a formal complaint under the Hatch Act, the law that prohibits executive branch employees from using federal resources to participate in electoral politics.

Granholm on Monday stumped for Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic Virginia gubernatorial hopeful, in advance of next week’s election (E&E Daily, Oct. 26).

The self-styled watchdog group, headed by Michael Chamberlain, a former Trump administration official, cited a host of officials accused of violating the Hatch Act, including former Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and current press secretary Jen Psaki. In a statement, Chamberlain said that “this type of behavior is problematic.”

Chamberlain, a political appointee at the Education Department, added, “In what appears to be a pattern for Secretary Granholm, it seems she was at an official event and went so far as to reference her duties at DOE in that event to bolster her endorsement of Candidate McAuliffe. Public service is a public trust and appearances matter. PPT will be filing a Hatch Act complaint with the Office of Special Counsel. All Americans should expect a vigorous investigation.”

According to the complaint, “Granholm reportedly referenced her work at the Department, discussing issues that fall under the auspices of DOE as well as specifically mentioning the Turbine Event held earlier that day, referred to President Biden as ‘my boss.'” Before the campaign event Monday, Granholm had participated as secretary in an offshore wind manufacturing announcement in Portsmouth, Va.

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