Billionaire Bill Gates, a champion of green-energy initiatives, was among the first people to nab a meeting with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm after she was confirmed by the Senate, according to agency calendars.
The Microsoft founder met with Ms. Granholm around noon on Feb. 26, 2021, or about 24 hours after her confirmation, Fox News reports based on documents obtained by Protect the Public’s Trust, a government watchdog group.
“This is just another example showing D.C. as an insiders’ game for the wealthy and powerful, and regular people need not apply,” group Director Michael Chamberlain told the outlet. “With all of the media interviews and getting acquainted with the employees she’ll be working with, on her first day she made sure to make time for Bill Gates, one of the richest people in the world. And that wasn’t even the only time they met. It’s easy to see who has the real influence in Washington.”
Ms. Granholm met with Mr. Gates again a month later, the calendars show.
Mr. Gates is a prominent champion of the transition from fossil fuels to alternatives like wind and solar energy to stave off the worst effects of climate change and has spoken regularly at conferences that focus on climate issues.
The Department of Energy told Fox News there was nothing wrong with the secretary meeting Mr. Gates, whose companies fund key projects.
“Upon taking office, Secretary Granholm hit the ground running meeting with energy leaders— from public utilities, nuclear power companies and car manufacturers — as well as Bill Gates, the founder of the clean energy innovation company Breakthrough Energy and TerraPower, which received $80 million from DOE in 2020 to build small modular nuclear reactors,” the DOE said.