Controversial Energy Department Official Quietly Exits

Controversial Energy Department Official Quietly Exits

  • January 13, 2023

Matthew Foldi, The Spectator

A high-ranking Biden administration official has left the Department of Energy following months of lawsuits and inquiries from Congress about her conflicts of interest.

In December, Kelly Speakes-Backman quit her job as the principal deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, or EERE, to become a vice president of public affairs at Invenergy, a green energy company.

Protect the Public’s Trust, one of the Biden administration’s least favorite watchdog groups, has been tracking Speakes-Backman’s activities for almost two years. While serving in the administration, she directly advocated for the implementation of the ESA’s policy agenda, even though she no longer worked there.

It’s not just that this looks problematic. PPT wrote to the Energy Department’s acting assistant general counsel claiming that, by appearing in her official capacity and promoting ESA, Speakes-Backman violated federal regulations that prohibit federal employees from using their official capacity to “endorse specific ‘products, services, or enterprises’ or “give rise to an appearance of use of public office or of giving preferential treatment.”

Now, the group is spiking the football following her exit from the administration. “Speakes-Backman appeared to be in contention for nomination to the top Senate-confirmed post at EERE prior to the multiple potential ethics violations being raised,” Chamberlain, told me.

Additionally, their report notes that its “litigation exposed a dearth of ethics advice sought by Ms. Speakes-Backman concerning the various events at the center of her ethics complaints and a corresponding lack of interest among department ethics in cautioning her to avoid future ethics landmines.”