Granholm had until late August to fully divest up to $ 5 million in stock options from Proterra, a company that makes electric buses, car batteries and charging stations.
President Biden’s administration has pushed electric vehicles as a solution to climate change, and his infrastructure plan calls for a $ 174 billion investment in the area, as well as federal subsidies for electric vehicles. Granholm has been a proponent of electric vehicles since her days as governor of Michigan.
Granholm divested from the company in “less than half” the time required under her ethics agreement, the Energy Department told Politico.
Proterra is in the process of going public through a $ 1.6 billion merger with ArcLight Clean Transition Corp., which could be a lucrative deal for stockholders. Reuters reported in January the transaction was expected to close in the first half of 2021.
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., has called for an investigation into the secretary’s holdings with Proterra, where she previously served on the board, and whether they present a conflict of interest with her department playing a key role in the Biden administration’s clean energy plan, pointing to Biden’s visit to the Proterra factory last month.
Granholm sold stock in some of her investments but had not offloaded any of her Proterra shares at the time President Biden had an April 20 virtual tour of the company’s Greenville, S.C., facility, the Washington Free Beacon reported. A day earlier, Vice President Kamala Harris toured Thomas Built Busses, a manufacturer of electric school buses in High Point, N.C., which is a partner with Proterra in production.
Granholm said she had nothing to do with the trip.
In her ethics agreement with the Biden administration, Granholm agreed to “avoid any actual or apparent conflict of interest” and to resign from her board position at Proterra upon confirmation; forfeit her unvested stock options in Proterra Inc. upon resignation of her position as Board Member of Proterra Inc.; and to divest her vested stock options and resulting stock if she exercises her vested stock options in Proterra “as soon as practicable but not later than 180 days” after her confirmation.