White House Watch

Biden Energy Department Nominee Serves On Board For ‘Pariah’ Nation’s Energy Company


David Crane, a nominee for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) undersecretary for infrastructure position, is a listed board member of the state-owned Saudi Electricity Company, according to the company’s website.

Crane was nominated by President Joe Biden on Aug. 3 to lead the DOE’s efforts in implementing the provisions of the 2021 infrastructure bill, and the White House touted Crane as a “leading business advocate in the realm of sustainability,” according to an official announcement. If he is confirmed by the Senate, Crane will help supervise the distribution of $62 billion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which designates funding for the construction of roads, bridges and trains.

Crane joined the Saudi energy company’s board in January 2021 and was paid a total of $100,000 over the course of the year, according to financial disclosures filed last week. Neither the White House nor the DOE mentioned Crane’s ties to Saudi Arabia in their announcements; however, they touted Crane’s previous work with climate-focused energy groups that look to implement net-zero initiatives.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s second-largest producer of crude oil and also produces almost all of its electricity using fossil fuels, according to a 2020 Energy Information Administration analysis. After pledging to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” in response to the assassination of a prominent dissident, Biden quietly attempted to get Saudi Arabia to adopt greener policies during his July visit; however, this attempt failed.

Crane also owns up $65 million in shares and warrants in an electric vehicle charging company that is poised to make gains under the infrastructure bill’s programs, according to the disclosure. The company spent a total of $320,000 lobbying Congress, the Department of Energy and other agencies on multiple issues since July 2021 including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that Crane may oversee, according to Senate lobbying disclosures.

Crane promised to divest his stake in the company no later than 90 days after his Senate confirmation. He also vowed to forfeit the stock if he was unable to successfully divest from the charging company.

The White House and DOE did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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