Matthew Foldi, Washington Free Beacon
A watchdog group is suing the Department of Energy, saying the department has illegally stonewalled requests for public documents that pertain to possible misconduct by a top official.
The Thursday complaint by Protect the Public’s Trust, which was first obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, says the Department of Energy has “failed to produce a single record” in response to a Freedom of Information Act request for documents from the agency. The watchdog group is investigating whether Kelly Speakes-Backman, who leads the agency’s office on energy efficiency and renewable energy, has pushed the goals of her former employer, an association that promotes electric batteries, in her government position.
“News reports raise serious questions about a ‘pattern of ethical issues’ at the Department of Energy and specifically Ms. Speakes-Backman’s ability to fulfill her duties without endorsing the work of her former employer and without favoring her former employer’s members,” the complaint states.
Protect the Public’s Trust director Michael Chamberlain said months of working to get the documents from Department of Energy made clear that litigation was the only route.