A top official in Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration has admitted to lying during a testimony before Congress.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm lied to U.S. senators when she claimed not to own individual stocks.
On April 20, Granholm, a Biden appointee, told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that she did not own individual stocks, instead owning mutual funds.
In a June 9 letter to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Granholm admitted that she gave a false statement during the Capitol Hill appearance.
“I mistakenly told the Committee that I did not own any individual stocks, whereas I should have said that I did not own any conflicting stocks,” Granholm wrote.
Granholm said she divested from assets that could be in conflict with her duties as part of being confirmed as energy secretary.
However, Granholm said she retained stocks that government ethics officials determined would not conflict with those duties.
Granholm has since sold those stocks.
“In order to make my financial holdings consistent with my testimony, on May 18, 2023, I divested my remaining stock holdings which consisted of stock in six companies, even though these assets were deemed non-conflicting,” Granholm said.
Granholm did not identify the companies.
She said they would be identified on her annual disclosure report.
The report is expected to be available in mid-June.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), the top Republican on the committee, blasted Granholm’s actions.
“Secretary Granholm lied to the committee about her family’s stock holdings,” Barrasso said in a statement.
“This comes after her failure to follow basic ethics and disclosure rules,” he added.
“This is a troubling pattern. It is unacceptable.”
Granholm previously acknowledged to the Senate that she violated stock disclosure rules by listing stock sales in 2022 months later than required.
She also violated the Hatch Act when she endorsed Democrats while making an official appearance.
Granholm did not appear to be under oath when she made the false statement to the panel in April, according to video footage of the hearing.
Most witnesses testifying before the Senate are not sworn in.
One federal law prohibits making false statements under oath that they do not believe to be true.
Another law bars “knowingly and willfully” making false statements “in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States.”
Violations of either can land a person up to five years in prison.
However, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) rarely brings cases against officials who lie, regardless of whether they’re under oath.
President Donald Trump became one of the rare exceptions when he was charged with allegedly making false statements and other crimes last week.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who was questioning Granholm when she made the false statement, was outraged to discover that she had lied to him.
“Granholm lied to me on April 20—and it took the Administration 6 full weeks to admit it. Brazen,” Hawley wrote on Twitter.
“It is time to BAN all senior executive branch officials and all members of Congress from owning & trading stock.”
Granholm also disclosed in the new letter that Ford stock her husband and she held in retirement accounts was sold on March 22, 2021, during the confirmation process and that she “believed that the divestiture of Ford was complete.”
But she learned in May 2023 that her husband, Daniel Mulhern, continued holding Ford stock in a separate account, she said.
That stock was sold for $2,457.89 on May 15.
“As I was not previously aware of the asset, I did not report my spouse’s financial interest on my two prior Public Financial Disclosure Reports, nor was it included in the other paperwork associated with my nomination,” Granholm wrote.
“As a public servant, I take very seriously the commitment to hold myself to the highest ethical standards, and I regret the accidental omission of my spouse’s interest in Ford,” she added.
“This is a commitment I made to you, the President, and most importantly the American people.
“My spouse and I have double-checked our financial assets, and there are no other reportable assets that were omitted from my financial disclosure report.”