Barrasso, Rodgers Demand Answers about Ethics Concerns Involving DOE and Cleantech Leaders Roundtable

October 19, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-WY) and U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) sent a letter highlighting ethics concerns regarding the relationship between the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office and the Cleantech Leaders Roundtable.

The Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office provides taxpayer-funded assistance for the deployment of various energy projects. A recent report alleges that Jigar Shah, the Director of this office, is using the Cleantech Leaders Roundtable, a private trade association he founded, to act as a gatekeeper for companies seeking financial assistance through Shah’s office. Ranking Member Barrasso and Chair Rodgers demand answers to the concerns raised by the report.  

Read the full letter here and below.

Dear Mr. Shah,

We write concerning a recent report about the close relationship between the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Programs Office (LPO), which you lead, and Cleantech Leaders Roundtable, a trade association you founded. The role that Cleantech Leaders Roundtable has assumed, appearing to act as a gatekeeper for companies seeking vital financial assistance from the LPO, warrants a thorough examination.

The close collaboration between your office and Cleantech Leaders Roundtable, evident from the recent co-hosted, invitation-only Deploy23 conference, presents potential conflicts of interest. It gives rise to perceptions of a pay-to-play scheme, where access to DOE loans could be potentially influenced by affiliations with Cleantech Leaders Roundtable. Such a perception deeply undermines the public’s trust, and the recent approval of a $3 billion loan to Sunnova, whose Board of Directors shares a common member with Cleantech Leaders Roundtable, only compounds these concerns.

Given the circumstances and the potential implications of these revelations, we want to understand better the relationship between the LPO and the Cleantech Leaders Roundtable. Transparency in these matters will not only protect the integrity of the LPO, but also ensure that the American public continues to have confidence in the institution’s fairness and impartiality.

We anticipate a thorough and transparent response addressing these concerns. We ask that you answer the following questions and provide the requested information and documentation below:

  1. Please describe in detail your current relationship with the Cleantech Leaders Roundtable.
  1. What measures have been put in place to ensure that companies affiliated with Cleantech Leaders Roundtable do not receive preferential treatment in the loan approval process?
  1. Please provide all correspondence, agreements, and documentation related to the co-hosting of the recent Deploy23 conference between the DOE Loans Program Office and Cleantech Leaders Roundtable.
  1. Please describe in detail the nature of each instance of your participation in Cleantech Leaders Roundtable events and receptions since your appointment to DOE, including events that Cleantech Leaders Roundtable has cosponsored or supported financially.
  1. Please provide all correspondence between the LPO, including yourself, and Cleantech Leaders Roundtable, including individual Cleantech Leaders Roundtable board members, since your appointment to DOE.
  1. Have there been any DOE assessments or internal reviews conducted on the potential conflicts of interest arising from your relationship with Cleantech Leaders Roundtable or member companies?
    1. If so, please provide the determinations resulting from such assessments and/or reviews.
  1. In the course of your tenure with DOE, have you been recused in any manner as it relates to working with Cleantech Leaders Roundtable?
    1. If not, why not?
  1. Have any complaints or concerns been raised internally within the DOE regarding the relationship between LPO and Cleantech Leaders Roundtable?
    1. If so, please describe in detail the substance, nature of each complaint, and any actions taken in response to such a complaint. If you have not taken any actions in response to such a complaint, why not?

We look forward to your prompt response.