Energy Secretary Granholm Violated Hatch Act, Special Counsel Rules

In a late 2021 interview, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was found to have broken the Hatch Act, according to the US Office of Special Counsel (OSC), Fox News informed.

According to a response letter submitted to the Foundation for Accountability & Civic Trust (FACT) on June 9, the OSC claimed Granholm expressly promoted Democratic Party candidates during an October 6 interview in her official position with media outlet Marie Clare.

Soon after this interview was released, FACT asked the OSC to look into the situation.

Granholm said in the interview that it was “excellent news” that Democrats will hold a majority in the House and the Senate in 2020.

According to a letter to FACT from the deputy chief of the OSC’s Hatch Act Unit, Erica Hamrick, OSC has decided that Secretary Granholm participated in political activity when she gave that response encouraging the electoral success of the Democratic Party.

Hamrick continued that while Granholm tried to retract what she said by stating that she was using Democrats as a substitute for some of the policies, in the end, she urged her listeners to support Democrats in order to increase their number and help them pass the laws that they wanted.

The Democratic Party was the subject of her entire speech, therefore her attempt to backtrack does not alter the sense of what she said.

According to Hamrick, the OSC concluded that Granholm finally “engaged in conduct oriented at the success of the Democratic Party” and that, as a result, broke the Hatch Act’s ban on the abuse of government power.

The 1939 legislation restricts the amount of partisan political engagement that federal employees may participate in.

The OSC concluded that, despite Granholm’s breach, no disciplinary action was required.

Granholm hadn’t had substantial training on the Hatch Act before the October interview, according to Hamrick, but the energy secretary would still receive a warning letter if she continued to violate the law.

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