How California Politicians And Silicon Valley Tech Company Quid-Pro-Quo Works To Hide The Criminality of Corruption
Jerry Brown, Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris and other famous California politicians own part of Tesla Motors, Facebook, Google, Netflix and YouTube. All of their competing constituents have suffered for it or been put out of business by exclusive deals that only Tesla Motors, Facebook, Google, Netflix and YouTube got. That is a crime!
A large volume of forensic research proves that Silicon Valley Cartel tech firms receive benefits from politicians and politicians, at the same time, benefit from these firms.
This evidence on the exchange of benefits between politicians and firms implies some sort of agreement between these two parties. This agreement, however, cannot be in the form of a written contract as writing direct fee-for-service contracts between a politician and a firm is considered bribery (Krozner and Stratmann 1998; 2000). In addition, either party to this agreement might renege on its promise and the other party cannot resort to the courts.
Procon.org, for example, reports: “Less than two months after ascending to the United States Senate, Barack Obama bought more than $50,000 worth of stock in two speculative companies whose major investors included some of his biggest political donors. One of the companies was a biotech concern that was starting to develop a drug to treat avian flu. In March 2005, two weeks after buying about $5,000 of its shares, Mr. Obama took the lead in a legislative push for more federal spending to battle the disease. The most recent financial disclosure form for Mr. Obama . . . shows that he bought more than $50,000 in stock in a satellite communications business whose principal backers . . . had raised more than $150,000 for his political committees.” ( http://insidertrading.procon.org/viewresource.asp?resourceID=1580#obamaa. See more examples from the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) report (2009).)
The literature and our eye-witness experience proves that politically-connected Silicon Valley tech firms monthly obtain economic favors, such as securing favorable legislation, special tax exemptions, having preferential access to finance, receiving government contracts, or help in dealing with regulatory agencies. The evidence proves that Google's support, for example, can help in winning elections. For example, firms can vary the number of people they employ, coordinate the opening and closing of plants, and increase their lending activity in election years in order to help incumbent politicians get re-elected. (See Roberts 1990; Snyder 1990; Langbein and Lotwis 1990; Durden, Shorgen, and Silberman 1991; Stratmann 1991, 1995, and 1998; Fisman 2001; Johnson and Mitton 2003; Ansolabehere, Snyder, and Ueda 2004; Sapienza 2004, Dinç 2005; Khwaja and Mian 2005; Bertrand, Kramarz, Schoar, and Thesmar 2006; Faccio 2006; Faccio, Masulis, and
McConnell 2006; Jayachandran 2006; Leuz and Oberholzer-Gee 2006; Claessens, Feijen, Laeven 2008; Desai and
Olofsgard 2008; Ramanna 2008; Goldman, Rocholl, and So 2008, 2009; Cole 2009; Cooper, Gulen, and
Ovtchinnikov 2009; Correia 2009; Ramanna and Roychowdhury 2010; Benmelech and Moskowitz 2010.)
The share ownership of politicians serves as a mechanism to quid-pro-quo their relationships with big tech firms, is as follows: The ownership of politicians plays multiple distinct (but not necessarily independent) roles; one that relies upon the amount of ownership and one that does not. First, as investors in firms, politicians tie their own interests to those of the firm. Thus, harming (benefiting) the firm means harming (benefiting) the politician and vice versa. By owning a firm's stock, politicians commit their personal wealth to the firm and reduce a firm’s uncertainty with regard to their actions toward the firm. This will, in turn, enhance the firm's incentive to support the politician-owner during both current and future elections in order to prolong the incumbency period for as long as possible. Firms have their lobbyists push to be able to know the amount of ownership likely to be material to politicians. This knowledge, in turn, enables them to judge whether the politician’s interest is aligned with the firm’s interest and optimize quid-pro-quo.
The Political Action Committee (PAC) contribution of firms (which is a direct measure of benefits flowing from firms to
politicians) is a significant determinant of ownership allocations by members of Congress. The ownership of Congress members in firms that contribute to their election campaigns is roughly 32.8% higher than their ownership in noncontributing firms even after accounting for factors that are associated with both ownership and contribution (such as familiarity, proximity and investor recognition). Democratic members invest more (less) in firms that favor, i.e., contribute more to, the Democratic Party. Politicians are partisan investors.
The committee assignments of politicians is a proxy for whether their relations with firms are enforced (Krozner and Stratmann 1998). Silicon Valley tech firms like Facebook, Tesla and Google obtain private benefits out of their mutual relations with politicians. When the strength of the association between ownership and contributions at the firm level increases, the provision of government contracts to those firms increases.
Members of Congress, candidates for federal office, senior congressional staff, nominees for executive branch positions, Cabinet members, the President and Vice President, and Supreme Court justices are required by the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to file annual reports disclosing their income, assets, liabilities, and other relevant details about their personal finances.
Personal financial disclosure forms are filed annually by May 15 and cover the preceding calendar year. The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) collected the 2004–2007 reports for Congress members from the Senate Office of Public Records and the Office of the Clerk of the House. The Center then scanned the reports as digital images, classified the politicians’
investments into categories including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, and built a database accessible via a web query.
Using CRP's website, you can collect the shares in S&P 500 firms held by members of Congress between 2004 and 2007, for example. You can collect the stock ownership data for every firm that joined the S&P 500 Index any time between January 2004 and April 2009; regardless of when it joined the index, and you can obtain all the available stock ownership data for that firm between 2004 and 2007. Likewise, if a firm dropped out of the index at any time during 2004–2008, you nevertheless should retain the firm in your sample for the target period. As such, your sample would include stocks in 642 unique
firms owned by politicians between 2004 and 2007, for example.
Politicians are required to report only those stocks whose value exceeds $1,000 at the end of the calendar year or that produce more than $200 in income. They are CURRENTLY not required to report the exact value of the holding, but instead must simply check a box corresponding to the value range into which the asset falls. The CRP then undertakes additional research to determine the exact values of these stocks. When the Center makes these determinations, it reports them instead of the ranges and I use these values in my study. When only the range is available, you should useits midpoint as the holding's value. You would, thus have data on the stock holdings of over 709 politicians for that time period.
Using the CRP's website, you can search for all Political Action Committees (PACs) associated with tech firms. You then collect data on each contribution these PACs made to candidates (both the winners and losers) running for the Senate and House elections. Tricky corrupt Silicon Valley firms establish several PACs, each in a different location, and each of these PACs can contribute to the same candidate. In such cases, you total for each candidate every contribution he or she received
from PACs affiliated with the same firm. To parallel the investment data sample period, for example, you collect every contribution made from the 2003–2004 cycle up to and including the 2007–2008 cycle. Many Silicon Valley tech firms use deeply covert Fusion GPS, Perkins Coie, BlackCube, Psyops-type service to make very hidden additional payola payments to California politicians.
You can collect government contract data from Eagle Eye Publishers, Inc., one of the leading commercial providers of Federal procurement and grant business intelligence and http://www.usaspending.org. Eagle Eye collects its contract data from Federal Procurement Data System–Next Generation (FPDS-NG), the contract data collection and dissemination system administered by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). FPDS-NG provides data on procurement contracts awarded by the U.S. Government. If these contracts are awarded to company subsidiaries, Eagle Eye searches for the names of their parent companies and assigns each subsidiary to its appropriate parent. You must collect both the number and aggregate value of government contracts that were awarded to my sample firms between 2004 and 2007 in our example time-frame..
You will see, for example, that Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) is a ten-term member of Congress and a senior member
of the House Financial Services Committee. She arranged a meeting between the Department of Treasury and OneUnited Bank, a company with close financial ties to Ms. Waters, involving both investments and contributions.
“In September 2008, Rep. Waters asked then-Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson to hold a meeting for minority-owned banks that had suffered from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac losses.
The Treasury Department complied and held a session with approximately a dozen senior banking regulators, representatives from minority-owned banks, and their trade association. Officials of OneUnited Bank, one of the largest black-owned banks in the country that has close ties to Rep. Waters, attended the meeting along with Rep. Waters’ chief of staff. Kevin Cohee, chief executive officer of OneUnited, used the meeting as an opportunity to ask for bailout funds.
. . . Former Bush White House officials stated they were surprised when OneUnited Officials asked for bailout funds. . . . In December 2008, Rep. Waters intervened again, asking Treasury to host another meeting to ensure minority-owned banks received part of the $700 billion allocated under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. . . . Within two weeks, on December 19, 2008, OneUnited secured $12.1 million in bailout funds. . . . This was not the first time Rep. Waters used her position to advance the interests of the bank. Rep. Waters’ spouse, Sidney Williams, became a shareholder in OneUnited in 2001, when it was known as the Boston Bank of Commerce. In 2002, Boston Bank of Commerce tried to purchase Family Savings, a minority-owned bank in Los Angeles. Instead, Family Savings turned to a bank in Illinois. Rep. Waters tried to block the merger by contacting regulators at the FDIC. She publicly stated she did not want a major white bank to acquire a minority-owned bank.
When her efforts with the FDIC proved fruitless, Rep. Waters began a public pressure campaign with other community leaders. Ultimately, when Family Savings changed direction and allowed Boston Bank of Commerce to submit a winning bid, Rep. Waters received credit for the merger. The combined banks were renamed OneUnited. . . . In March 2004, she acquired OneUnited stock worth between $250,001 and $500,000, and Mr. Williams purchased two sets of stock, each worth between $250,001 and $500,000. In September 2004, Rep. Waters sold her stock in OneUnited and her husband sold a portion of his. That same year, Mr. Williams joined the bank’s board. . . . OneUnited Chief Executive Kevin Cohee and President Teri Williams Cohee have donated a total of $8,000 to Rep. Waters’ campaign committee. . . . On October 27, 2009, less than two months before OneUnited received a $12 million bailout, the bank received a cease-and-desist order from the FDIC and bank regulatory officials in Massachusetts for poor lending practices and excessive executive compensation . . . the bank provided excessive perks to its executives, including paying for Mr. Cohee’s use of a $6.4 million mansion . . .” (Crew report 2009, pp. 123–125)
Thanks to Crony quid-pro-quo, we also have Fisker Automotive, Inc.'s $529 Million U.S. Taxpayer Loan Approval by the Department of Energy, detailing how startup Fisker Automotive's Chief Operating Officer Bernhard Koehler pleaded with the Department of Energy in a panicked Saturday midnight hour email to receive a $529 million loan as the company was 2 weeks from Chapter 7 liquidation, that it was laying off most of its employees, that no private sector investors would fund the
company without DOE guarantees, and that Fisker was unable to raise any further equity funding from independent private-sector investors given the company's financial condition. These statements were made to a Loan Officer at the DOE . No
private sector Loan underwriting (approval) committee would ever grant a low interest loan to a desperate buyer that had just confessed it was in a state of insolvency and was about to layoff most of its staff. Yet within a few weeks the DOE would approve a $529 Million Credit Facility to Fisker. Despite the DOE Loan Officer official's sworn testimony at April 24th's House Oversight Committee that the DOE used "same private sector underwriting standards when approving Fisker and other approved Taxpayer Funded Loans" - likely perjury based in documents.
In a 'U.S. GOVERNMENT CONFIDENTIAL EMAIL': FISKER AUTOMOTIVE: August 2009: Co-Founder Bernhard Koehler emails U.S. Dept. of Energy Loan Officer in Sat. midnight Panic admitting VC Firms all declined to invest, and company is out of cash. Weeks later the U.S. Department of Energy approves $529M U.S. Taxpayer Funded Loans to FISKER. NO PRIVATE SECTOR Lender would every authorize a Loan for even $5 Million let alone $529 Million after receiving this email stating
private sector investors had examined the company and declined equity investments, that they might loan money as more secure Debt, and the Chief Operating Officer of the company further stating that the borrower is totally insolvent. (Weeks after this email the U.S. Federal Government Dept. of Energy Loan Committee Approves Fisker Automotive as a credit-worthy borrow for $529 Million in U.S. Taxpayer Funded Loans). Fisker got the cash because President Obama said to "give it to them" in order to please his campaign financiers.
The same thing happened with Tesla Motors. Elon Musk and Tesla Motors were broke when DOE gave them the money.
PrivCo CEO Sam Hamadeh stated in an official statement: “The documents obtained by PrivCo paint a picture of how an insolvent, unproven automaker received $192 million in taxpayer funding. The Department of Energy made a loan that no rational lender would have made. This loan was the equivalent of staying execution on a company that was terminally ill to begin with." Tesla and Fisker could not have been taxpayer funded unless bribes and criminal quid-pro-quo was underway by President Obama and the U.S. Senator insider traders.
XP Vehicle's had been the first to initiate negotiations to retask the NUMMI plant in Fremont, California after Elon Musk went on the record saying the NUMMI Plant was worthless to Tesla. Dianne Feinstein's chief of staff then threatened XP Vehicles and warned them to cease action on NUMMI. Shortly thereafter, Tesla announced they had acquired the NUMMI plant which Dianne Feinstein's family owned a business interest and she had arranged for Tesla to get funding and presided at the Tesla re-opening of the NUMMI plant.
Per Christine Lakatos 2014 began with a bang: “Obama’s Second Term Is All About Climate Change.” New York Magazine, in their reporting, claimed that the evidence of this has to do with President Obama’s appointment of John Kerry (“longtime climate obsessive”) as Secretary of State, as well as other key green appointees.
Kerry, by the way, while recently in Indonesia, blasted climate change deniers, warning, “Climate change may be the world’s ‘most fearsome’ weapon of mass destruction and urgent action is needed to combat it,” wrote CBC News Canada.
This scare tactic –– now adding to the long list of liberal crap, which includes ludicrous allegations that climate change will lead to “an orgy of killing, looting, rape and burglary” (just ask James Delingpole) –– surfaced just weeks after President Obama’s State of the Union address (January 28, 2014) where he emphatically declared that the climate change debate is over.
But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.
A claim that many Americans, including Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, find “absurd” –– with even co-founder of Greenpeace Patrick Moore, last month, stating to members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that there is no scientific proof of man-made climate change.
The president, during his speech, which was a “call to action” with or without Congress, also pumped up his “all the above” energy strategy, asserting that it was working: “America is closer to energy independence.” Later, Mr. Obama claimed that his energy policy “was creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet.”
While Marita Noon (energy expert and Towhall.com columnist) has continually tackled the president’s so-called “energy independence” assertion, together we have debunked the green jobs hype and deception many times, including in my recent study on the Obama-backed green energy failures.
Moreover, a year ago, we blew the lid off of Climate Hawk Kerry and his part in green corruption. What’s most disingenuous is that while Kerry preaches “global warming doom and gloom,” his “government carbon footprint” is enormous — with no end in sight. (And who’s tracking his personal carbon footprint?) Worse, Kerry played a part in crafting President Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill, which was a piece of legislation that allowed him to create a financial footprint inside this scandal as well. This includes timely green energy investments with the Big VC firm Kleiner Perkins (where “climate billionaires” John Doerr and Al Gore are partners) that will be mentioned many times in this post, including the fact that this firm was a huge winner from the Green Bank of Obama.
The massive spending bill, commonly known as the economic stimulus package, which was signed into law five years ago, was marketed as a means to save our economy from the brink of disaster and create American jobs. If you caught Michelle Malkin’s tribute to the so-called (failed) Recovery Act, you’ll discover, “The actual cost of the $800 billion pork-laden stimulus has ballooned to nearly $2 trillion.” Even Speaker of the House John Boehner weighed in, ”The ‘stimulus’ has turned out to be a classic case of big promises and big spending with little results …”
Tucked inside was approximately $100 billion earmarked for renewable energy, which became “a special-interest feeding frenzy.”
Obama’s Second Term Agenda: Climate change by executive fiat & billions more of taxpayer cash
Obama has continually pledged during his second term, that he will be “governing unilaterally, by executive order and by regulatory mandate,” warned a Washington Times reporter –– thus his weapons of warfare are his “pen and phone.” Forget about the Constitution and its check and balances.
Even as those on the Right are up in arms over in the president’s excessive use (and abuse) of executive power, leading Democrats are applauding this move and pushing for more. Yet if we go back in time to 2008, we find that then-candidate Obama played a different tune, slamming President Bush’s use of executive action.
The author of the New York Magazine piece also noted that other than Secretary of State John Kerry, several Obama second-term moves signal the high priority he assigns the issue of climate change: “This is true not only of the figures Obama has appointed to posts that inherently concern climate change, like his green appointees to run the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] and the Department of Energy [DOE], but also to general political advisors, like Denis McDonough and John Podesta, both committed environmentalists who will drive Obama’s climate focus” –– both McDonough and Podesta from the left-wing think tank, Center for American Progress (CAP), and the focus of this Green Corruption File.
Podesta, who in November 2013, was spotted at a fundraising event for Hillary Clinton, according to the Washington Post, “Is expected to stay with the Obama administration for a just a year, freeing him to join the campaign of Mrs. Clinton if she runs for president in 2016.” It turns out that McDonough was the one that brokered his “executive power gig,” of which “Podesta’s portfolio would be broad and would include climate-change issues and executive actions, as well as the troubled health-care law,” reported the Washington Post.
As Kerry and Obama continue their campaign of “climate disaster on the horizon,” the strategic move in adding Podesta as White House counselor had already signaled an aggressive approach to their radical, expensive and deceptive green energy agenda. In fact, Podesta began is his role inside the Obama White House by stirring up the liberal base, when in a profile published on December 17, 2013 by POLITICO, “Podesta is quoted comparing Republicans to the infamous cult led by Jim Jones, who was responsible for the 1978 cyanide poisoning of more than 900 of his followers in Guyana…” –– only to later apologize via twitter of all places.
Now labeled “climate change and energy transformation agenda,” Obama and his minions have been, and continue to push through their radical views with mandates, regulations and legislation, which benefits special interest groups and the Obama administration’s green cronies, while adversely affecting American families. Even the non-partisan organization Reason.com, too, sees the dire reality here: “Obama’s [Climate Five-Year] plan ambitiously seeks to control nearly every aspect of how Americans produce and consume energy.” One of those is directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “to work expeditiously to complete carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants.”
Using the iron fist of the EPA –– a key department in Obama’s “war on energy” known for its abuse of power –– the president also tried to force refiners to produce cellulosic biofuels. However, as noted by Political Outcast, “The standards set were completely unrealistic and unattainable.” On the horizon are new green rules for trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles, as well as whatever maneuvers the White House deems suited for their “green energy revolution.”
Additionally, whether we like it or not, this clean-energy mission is funded by taxpayers –– President Obama’s “save the planet slush fund.” A March 2012 report by the Brookings Institute places the Obama administrations’ “total government spending (both stimulus and non-stimulus) on green initiatives at $150 billion through 2014. But that’s not enough to save the planet. Last month, the president began pushing for a $1 billion taxpayer-funded program “to help communities across the country prepare for the effects of climate change” –– AKA the climate resilience fund. This program is separate from the “Climate Action Plan” that the president introduced in June 2013, which also calls for releasing more taxpayer money ($8 billion from the DOE Loan Guarantee Program).
Furthermore, Obama’s DOE is attempting to establish a new renewable energy section (under the DOE Loan Guarantee Program), for grid-integrated green power projects –– with the plan of spending anywhere from $1.5 billion to as much as $4 billion of taxpayer money. The Obama administration is also restarting the DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM), which is also part of the DOE Loan Guarantee Program –– with more than $15 billion in remaining authority.
This is the same Energy Department program which the Green Corruption Files has exposed many times how, in the process of doling out $34 billion of taxpayer money, at least 90 percent of the recipients have meaningful politically connections (bundlers, top donors, fundraisers, etc) to the president and other high-ranking Democrats –– in many cases, to both. While the DOE will have you believe that these loans were based on “merit,” the kicker is that in March 2012, the House Oversight and Government Reform committee unleashed a damaging report revealing that the stimulus-created 1705 section of the DOE’s Loan Program had doled out in excess of $16 billion to 26 projects, of which 22 of the loans were rated “Junk” grade due to their poor credit quality. “The remaining ended up on lowest end of the investment grade of categories, giving the DOE’s 1705 loan portfolio an overall average of BB-.”
So, it’s no wonder that this loan program fostered big alternative energy losers such as Solyndra, Beacon Power, Abound Solar, Vehicle Production Group, and Fisker Automotive, flushing billions of tax dollars down the toilet –– with billions more still at risk. Yet, the loan program is not the only one place you’ll find the president’s “cleantech” losers. In January, I released my new study, documenting 32 Obama-backed green energy failures, while tracking the financially troubled, and even those, ironically, having environmental issues as well –– over 30 and counting.
Besides the fact that the Energy Department continues to subsidize green energy, there are also many stimulus-created programs that have been extended and are still dishing out “the green.” One of the largest is the 1603 Grant Program, which to date has awarded over $20 billion of tax-free cash. The Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit program (48C Program), which was funded by $2.3 billion, just unleashed Phase II. The currently passed 1,000-page trillion-dollar farm bill will continue to fund renewable energy programs such as the Biorefinery Assistance Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA). The USDA, with $1.02 billion in loan power, along with $600 million stimulus funds from the Energy Department and a $132 million DOE stimulus loan, used taxpayer money to fund 31 “not so shovel-ready” risky projects (also politically connected) –– of which last time I checked (August 2013), about a third were having issues.
Over the course of unleashing this scandal, I’ve hinted that CAP is a dark, driving force behind President Obama’s massive green energy scheme –– roles that range from legitimate to shady lobbying practices, to the fact that numerous CAP “fellows” were at the helm of the green energy deal making, holding key positions inside the Obama White House, his Green Team, and his Energy Department.
Today’s Green Corruption File will connect the dots as to Center for American Progress’ part in this scam, while shedding light on old and new data. As I progress, I’ll expose its alternative energy advocacy as well as its funders –– corporate donors that were kept secret until their release in late 2013 –– with those in the renewable energy business (at least 17) cashing in at the Green Bank of Obama.
Let’s go back in time when Podesta –– former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton –– was infamous for what is dubbed “Project Podesta“: “This was a system that enabled the Clintons to push through unpopular policies that neither Congress nor the American people wanted. Its implementation marked a dramatic tilt in the balance of power, giving the executive branch an unprecedented ability to force its will on the legislative branch,” documented DiscoverTheNetworks.com.
Most know that in 2003, Podesta founded CAP, which as mentioned, is organization funded by billionaire George Soros, who has a massive footprint inside this green corruption scandal. He then served as the organization’s president and CEO, of which it was reported, “Podesta was hand-picked for the job by CAP co-founders Soros and Morton H. Halperin.”
In 2008 and early 2009, Podesta, an Obama bundler, while still at CAP, ran Obama’s transition team as the co-chair along side Valerie Jarrett and Peter Rouse. Meanwhile by 2011, Podesta stepped down from his CEO role and became the Chair of CAP and the CAP Action Fund –– only to leave CAP and join the White House at the end of 2013 in his new role as Obama’s “executive power czar.”
But if you go back to right after the Republican 2010-midterm victory, Podesta already had a plan: “The president should bypass Congress and wield the executive powers of his office,” reported Bloomberg last December. In fact, “Podesta had compiled 47 pages of proposals for unilateral action on issues from immigration to solar energy.” Podesta even wrote the foreword for that CAP report “on how the president could use his executive authority to advance a progressive agenda, including actions to unilaterally force the U.S. economy to become greener.”
Furthermore, Podesta has served as an Independent Advisory Council member of the notoriously corrupt community organization ACORN . Podesta was also on the board of the Apollo Alliance as late as 2011. While I’ve unleashed the Apollo Alliance (now BlueGreen Alliance) and their part inside this massive clean-energy scam, I’ll briefly touch upon them again today. But what’s key here is that Apollo is another Soros-funded left-wing organization, who along with its “green jobs radical network,” exerts powerful influence on the views and policies of the Obama administration –– and they too were involved in drafting the 2009-Recovery Act.
CAP’s Left-wing Billionaire George Soros: Obama’s “agent of green”
Meanwhile, Soros is one of the 2009 stimulus authors that I had covered in October 2013: Those individuals and groups that were involved in crafting the clean-energy sector of the 2009 Recovery Act, and who ultimately financially benefited directly (and/or their invested firms, family or friends) from the $100 billion that was earmarked for renewable energy.
According to Peter Schweizer’s blockbuster 2011 bestseller Throw Them All Out:
Billionaire George Soros gave advice and direction on how President Obama should allocate so-called “stimulus” money in a series of regular private meetings and consultations with White House senior advisers even as Soros was making investments in areas affected by the stimulus program.
While we know that early on, Soros had visited the White House on at least five occasions since Barack Obama became president, possibly more, Schweizer gives specifics, “Mr. Soros met with Mr. Obama’s top economist, [Larry Summers –– also a CAP fellow] on February 25, 2009 and twice more with senior officials in the Old Executive Office Building on March 24th and 25th as the stimulus plan was being crafted. Later, Mr. Soros also participated in discussions on financial reform.”
As documented by Schweizer, “In the first quarter of 2009, Mr. Soros went on a stock-buying spree in companies that ultimately benefited from the federal stimulus,” including twelve alternative energy and utility companies. Moreover, if we add in other Soros green energy investments that bagged “green” funds, we can confirm that this Soros is connected to at least $11 billion from the Green Bank of Obama, the majority from the 2009-Recovery Act.
Due to the fact that Soros is a well-known donor to CAP, here’s a sneak peek of what I personally tracked in my March 2013 Green Corruption File, exposing how this left-wing billionaire not only bankrolled Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, but cashed in on the stimulus bill that he helped craft. Interestingly, four of these companies are also CAP corporate donors (marked with an asterisks), which will be detailed later.
- Brookfield Asset Management (BAM): As documented in the March 20, 2012 House Oversight report on the DOE’s disastrous loan program, “George Soros and Martin J. Whitman, both prominent Democratic donors, are both heavily invested in Brookfield.” In September 2011, The Granite Reliable wind project was awarded $168.9 stimulus loan, which is owned BAM. Then on May 23, 2012, they also snagged a $56 million 1603 stimulus grant for “wind in New Hampshire.” While there are additional ties to this wind deal that I’ll highlight later when I get to Heather Podesta (super lobbyists sister-in-law of John Podesta), whose firm Heather Podesta & Partners, from 2009 until 2012, served as lobbyists for BAM.
- First Solar*: Through various fund, and as early as 2007, Soros invested in First Solar –– the big solar company that is tied to $3 billion of the 1703 DOE stimulus loans, including one project that was sold to NRG Energy –– another Soros timely investment.
- SolarCity: In February 2012, the Private equity firm Silver Lake Kraftwerk invested in SolarCity –– whereas in early 2011, Silver Lake had launched a clean energy fund in collaboration with billionaire Soros and Cathy Zoi (former DOE Insider). SolarCity,which will be detailed later, so far (and since 2009) has been subsidized with “green” through various stimulus funds, grants and federal tax breaks at the tune of $514 million.
Soros’ Twelve “Stimulus” Green Energy Stock-Buying Spree:
- NRG Energy and its subsidiaries: Initially won $5.2 billion in 1705 stimulus loans for four projects and at least 65 grants that total over $363 million of taxpayer money with 37 unaccounted for. Plus much more green energy funds through various alliances.
- American Electric Power (AEP)*: at least four stimulus grants totaling $740 million. Plus, more detailed later.
- Ameren: five stimulus grants totaling about $672.5 million
- FirstEnergy Solutions: at least two stimulus grants totaling just over $71 million. No cash that I could find for BioFuel Energy benefited when the EPA announced a regulation on ethanol.
- Constellation*, an Exelon Company: at least one grant worth $200 million stimulus grants and Constellation is one of the most prolific providers of green energy to federally owned facilities.
- Covanta Energy*: unclear as to how many green government subsidies or the exact dollar amount, but obviously Covanta stands to benefit from the NAT GAS Act if it comes to light again. And what about those Congressional earmarks Schweizer found?
- Edison International: at least two stimulus grants worth $64.6 million, and I’m sure there are more…
- Entergy: I’ve only tracked two small stimulus grants, which add up to close to $10 million
- PPL Corporation: I found one stimulus grant at $19 million
- PSEG: one stimulus grant for $76 million.
- Powerspan Clean Energy Technology: one large stimulus grant worth $100 million
Mr. & Mrs. Podesta the Super Lobbyists: Strike “green” gold
In my June 2013 Green Corruption File, I briefly addressed John Podesta, but more so profiled his brother, Tony Podesta –– dubbed “The Lobbyist” by Newsweek, and the founder and Chairman at the Podesta Group, which he started with his brother John in 1987.
Even though news hit in early 2013, that Heather and Tony Podesta, the married super lobbyists separated, they are both (via different firms) tied to numerous Obama-backed clean-energy deals.
As documented by the Center for Responsive Politics, you’ll find that the Podesta Group‘s lobbying income went from $16,070,000 in 2008 to $25,780,000 in 2009, and has since significantly increased. Their client lists (past and present) includes large corporations such as Bank of America, BP America, and General Electric (GE aviation), General Motors, and Google (Computers/Internet) –– all in the green energy business, with BofA, GE and Google also CAP donors that won green energy funds from the Obama administration.
Nevertheless, there are quite a few others, of which in 2009, the Podesta Group took on as clients that stand out –– those that ultimately won a significant amount of stimulus funds, starting with CH2M Hill that received $1.3 billion for the clean up at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The details on this special stimulus earmark can be found in my June 2013 “Nuclear Crimes and Misdemeanors” story, which highlights not only the cronyism and corruption, but the fact that in June 2013, CBS News reported that this costly project has been plagued with problems, “delays and billions over budget.”
SolarReserve got special treatment from the Department of Interior (DOI) for their Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project located in Tonopah, Nevada, which received a $737 million DOE stimulus loan. SolarReserve also snagged stimulus grants, yet the amount is unknown. This large DOE deal (another non-grade investment) was announced on May 19, 2011, and despite those inside the Energy Department that wanted to “kill the transaction,” it was finalized on September 28, 2011. Along the way, it included “relentless assistance” by the Majority Leader Harry Reid as well as some drama. Not to mention, SolarReserve, a predominately Democrat donor, executives had given to Reid’s campaign since 2008.
Needless to say, there are more SolarReserve investors in the mix that can be found in my November 2013 Green Corruption File: “Underneath Senator Harry Reid’s Clean-Energy Dirt: Career politician directly linked to over $3 billion in green energy stimulus loans.” One of the key connections to this deal is Citigroup, who has been a major investor in Solar Reserve since 2008, which is chronicled in my February 2013 post, “Citigroup’s Massive ‘Green’ Money Machine.” Still, since Citigroup is also a CAP corporate donor, we’ll dig deeper later.
General Motors & the Chevy Volt
General Motors (GM) –– the failed Big Auto company that was bailed out by taxpayers in 2009 –– was a client of the Podesta Group from 2010 until 2012. GM was also a CAP donor in 2011, and a big recipient of stimulus money. Starting in 2009 until recently, they have bagged hundreds of millions of stimulus dollars (I tracked $471.6 million so far) to support the Chevy Volt as well as green car components, of which I’ll get more specific when I dissect CAP’s corporate donors.
Duke Energy, the nation’s largest electric power company, is another CAP corporate donor, which has been a client of the Podesta Group since 2009. What’s interesting here is that Jim Rogers, the chairman of Duke Energy is another Obama donor, and was a major player at the 2012 Democratic convention, as a contributor, creditor, host, and a speaker. Duke Energy won hundreds of millions of green energy money for various projects, which will be detailed later.
From 2011 to 2012, the Podesta Group added Progress Energy, which in 2009, won a $200 million smart-grid stimulus grant. Progress Energy is a customer of Silver Spring Networks that is a Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Google investment –– all with friends and ties to the Obama White House that will be documented a few times in the post.
SolarCity & SunEdison
Additionally, in 2012, the Podesta Group added SolarCity and SunEdison to its list of clients –– both members of ACORE, the renewable energy lobby powerhouse that helped “design the Department of Energy grant programs that partly offset the loss of tax equity financing arrangements.” This is part of the green corruption story that I chronicled in my post, “The RAT in the Recovery and the Gang of Ten.”
Founded in 2006, SolarCity has a string of connections to the Obama White House that I’ve been tracking and reporting on for some time, including billionaire players that received taxpayer money for other green energy deals, such as Elon Musk, Nicholas J. Pritzker, and George Soros. Throw in other stimulus winners like Al Gore’s firm Generation Investment Management (early investor and major stockholder) as well as Obama’s Wall Street buddies: Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Citigroup. In between, SolarCity has developed partnerships with PG& E, and Google. But before Podesta came along in 2012, SolarCity had been an energy client of top D.C. lobbyist McBee Strategic Consulting, since 2009 –– another major green corruption villain that I tackled in September 2013.
Nevertheless, Fox News reported in December 2012, when SolarCity was under a federal probe that they had applied for $341 million in grants. However, I found 33 federal stimulus grants from the 1603 Program that were awarded to SolarCity and USB SolarCity Master Tenant in 2011 and 2012, ranging across 15 states, totaling over $92 million.
MARCH 9, 2013 SolarCity UPDATE: Right after this publishing this post, it was brought to my attention that SolarCity, whose success is dependent on government handouts, has received additional green energy subsidies, which places their total at $514 million.
According to California Watchdog.org…
SolarCity has accepted more than $11 million in federal stimulus funds [from September 2009 to March 2010] to make its business run. But the real public support appears elsewhere. Because SolarCity technically owns the energy systems it installs, SolarCity — not the homeowner — earns the federal tax break intended as an incentive to go solar. So far the company has earned $411 million in such tax breaks. The company also may earn additional income on state subsidies.
Meanwhile, SunEdison, a global provider of solar-energy services, was an early Goldman Sachs clean-energy investment –– Goldman, another CAP donor, and huge winner from the Green Bank of Obama that I’ll get to much later. But we can confirm that SunEdison, in 2013, won 5 federal stimulus grants from the 1603 Program for “solar electricity” that ranges across 5 states, totaling over $1.8 million tax dollars.
Granite Reliable / Brookfield Renewable Power
On the other side, there is Granite Reliable that received a $168.9 million stimulus loan in September 2011 for a wind project in Coos County, New Hampshire. Then on May 23, 2012, they also snagged a $56 million 1603 grant for wind in New Hampshire, which I am assuming is the for the same project. Work on Granite Reliable’s wind farm created 198 construction jobs and six permanent jobs.
Nancy Ann DeParle, President Obama’s former Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy in the White House, had a financial stake in the success of Granite Reliable, due to the fact that she and sat on the Board of Directors for Noble Environmental Power, LLC, which owned Granite Reliable.
Obviously, this is a conflict of interest, but there are additional ties to this wind deal. Noble sold Granite Reliable in December 2010 to Brookfield Asset Management (BAM), just 6 months prior to the conditional approval (June 2011) of the DOE loan guarantee and deep into the application process. Despite the speculative credit rating, this loan was finalized in September 2011.
Not only was Brookfield Renewable Power (a subsidiary of BAM) represented by Citigroup as lead advisor during the loan review process, BAM has additional Democrat ties such as Diana Taylor, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s long-time girlfriend. As mentioned earlier, George Soros and Martin J. Whitman, which are both prominent Democratic donors, are both heavily invested in Brookfield.
But this case directly hits the Podesta family, because from 2009 until 2012, Heather Podesta, sister-in-law of John Podesta, via Heather Podesta & Partners served as lobbyists for BAM –– and they’ve been lobbying on behalf of Brookfield Power (electric utilities), since 2011, raking in over $1.3 million from the two connected groups.
Mrs. Podesta’s firm also represented Southern Co. from 2008 until 2010, raking in over $300,000. This energy giant is part the Vogtle Project, which in February 2010, won a massive DOE loan: “a conditional commitment for $8.33 billion to support the construction of the nation’s next generation of advanced nuclear reactors.” Despite the project’s troubles coupled with harsh criticism, the Obama administration just finalized this DOE deal.
Southern Company –– a heavy hitter lobbyist and big donor to both political parties –– bankrolled President Obama’s 2013 Inauguration. And due to the fact that this was another DOE loan approval that was pressured by the White House (this one in December 2009), further Intel is found in my July 2013 Green Corruption File, “Nuclear Disaster: $10.33 billion in energy loans pressured by the White House and POTUS approved, now at risk.”
Center for American Progress: The “green” pusher
While CAP characterizes itself as “an independent nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action,” according to left-leaning Huffington Post, they’ve “been a vocal voice for this president’s policies in the media and on the Hill. But their area of highest visibility is advocacy for a clean-energy economy where John Podesta has personally led the effort.”
Of course, as a strong proponent of alternative energy, CAP has also been a big backer of the Energy Department’s huge multi-billion-loan guarantee program for renewable energy projects –– a government program, of which the stimulus law added $16 billion in lending power (the DOE’s “junk bond” and cronyism portfolio), where we find that many of CAP’s corporate donors have cashed in big time.
We also know that according to the Washington Free Beacon, in September 2008, CAP “authored a report titled “Green Recovery: A Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low-Carbon Economy” that included many recommendations ultimately incorporated into President Obama’s controversial $800 billion stimulus package.” But CAP is not done: since the president released his Climate Action Plan in June 2013, CAP continues to pressure for additional action, including, but not limited to, rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline and a call to dole out billions more in renewable energy funds.
CAP, the progressive think tank with deep rooted ties to the Clintons, has been on my radar since 2010, and periodically mentioned throughout my work. As noted already, they are closely aligned with, and have a major foothold inside the Obama White House. This is not limited to the new CAP additions: Denis McDonough, White House Chief of Staff and Obama’s new advisor, John Podesta.
What’s been forgotten is that a squadron of CAP experts worked with President Obama’s transition team, and they have been “reportedly highly influential in helping to craft White House Policy.” In 2008, Edwin Chen of Bloomberg, in his article, “Soros-Funded Democratic Idea Factory Becomes Obama Policy Font,” noted “CAP, which has 180 staffers and a $27 million budget, devotes as much as half of its resources to promoting its ideas through blogs [ThinkProgress and the Wonk Room], events, publications and media outreach.”
In fact CAP boasts of John Podesta’s part: “Podesta served as co-chair of President Barack Obama’s transition, where he coordinated the priorities of the incoming administration’s agenda, oversaw the development of its policies, and spearheaded its appointments of major cabinet secretaries and political appointees.”
In addition to Podesta as the co-chair, “at least 10 other CAP experts” were advising the incoming administration, “including Melody Barnes (Obama bundler), the center’s executive vice president for policy who co-chairs the agency-review working group and Cassandra Butts, the senior vice president for domestic policy, who is now a senior transition staffer,” reported Bloomberg.
What was has not been widely disclosed is CAP’s dark participation, other than their “recommendations,” inside the stimulus package, whereas as noted, $100 billion was earmarked for renewable energy. Hidden deep inside the 1,073-page stimulus bill, which was drafted by the Obama transition team and congressional aides, was a RAT: an attempt to suppress potential investigations, and only a few news outlets caught it in February of 2009: the Washington Post and the Washington Examiner, and completely exposed in my Green Corruption File entitled, “The RAT in the Recovery and the Gang of Ten.”
Entitled the Obama-Biden Transition Project, it employed approximately 400 people and it was comprised of Obama bundlers and campaign contributors as well as lobbyist and those that operate inside Washington’s egregious revolving door. What’s more fascinating to point out is that according to the Center for Responsive Politics, “Members of Barack Obama’s presidential transition team weren’t necessarily selected solely on their resumes and expertise — some may have scored positions over similarly qualified individuals because they supported the president-elect by bundling money for his presidential campaign or opening their own wallets to him.”
Five CAP Fellows at the Center of “the green”
More relevant to green corruption is that this lengthy list provides us with some familiar members operating inside this clean-energy scam, which of course, were also bundlers for Obama’s 2008 campaign –– even bundling again in 2012. Even though, in October 2013, I gave insight into the Obama-Biden Transition Team and the numerous green energy players, here’s an overview with the CAP fellows marked with asterisks:
- Valerie B. Jarrett (Obama bundler): Obama-Biden Transition Project Co-Chair
- *John Podesta (Obama bundler): Obama-Biden Transition Project Co-Chair /Now “Executive Power Czar”
- *Carol M. Browner (Obama bundler): Advisory Board Member and Energy Policy Working Groups / Was promoted to Climate Czar, from January 2009 until February 2011
- Michael Froman (Obama bundler): Advisory Board Member
- TJ Glauthier (Obama bundler): Executive Office of the President
- Lisa Jackson (Obama bundler): Energy and Natural Resources Team Leads
- David Sandalow (Obama bundler): Energy Policy Working Groups
- *Steve Spinner (Two-time Obama bundler): Technology, Innovation & Government Reform Policy Working Groups / Was promoted to DOE Advisor in April 2009 until September 2011
- Tom Wheeler (Two-time Obama bundler): Working Group Members; Science, Tech, Space and Arts Team Leader
- Heather Zichal (Obama bundler): Energy Policy Working Groups
Add to this list two more CAP fellows: Lawrence Summers, who, in late 2008 (until 2011), became President-elect Obama’s Director of the National Economic Council and Van Jones, who in March 2009, was appointed as a special adviser for green jobs for the Obama White House, until he resigned in September 2009. This means that we have five CAP fellows that I’ll profile below.
Obviously, operatives from this team were rewarded with positions inside the Obama White House, while others in 2009, snagged other key green energy roles. My focus has been on the “DOE Insiders” –– those from Obama’s “Green Team” and his Energy Department officials and advisors, which included its fair share of Al Gore disciples and well-connected Venture Capitalists. There has been a dozen on my radar that are either directly connected to tens of billions of green-government subsidies (loans, grants and special tax breaks), or helped their friends secure the funds.
Ironically, many have fled since their 2009 appointments, but it’s worth noting that the “DOE Dirty Dozen,” under Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, includes Carol Browner (1), Lisa Jackson, Van Jones (2), Steve Isakowitz, Steve Spinner (3), Matt Rogers, Jonathon Silver (4), Cathy Zoi (5), Kristina Johnson (6) and others like James Markowsky (7), Steven Westly (8), Sanjay Wagle (9), David Danielson (10), David Sandalow (11), David Prend (12) –– another piece of this scandal currently in the works.
What’s telling is that these DOE Insiders were part of the decision making process, even as the rest had access influence in one way or another. They were in charge of picking winners and losers, especially in regards to the Energy Department’s multi-billion Loan Guarantee Program, mentioned many times in this post, whereas I have personally been tracking since 2010.
What we find is that many of those operating inside the Energy Department had more sinister roles and were using tactics such as lobbying, pressure, collusion, and coercion. The evidence of this started circulating in 2011, when the Solyndra Saga broke, but worse, was confirmed in many of the DOE email exchanges released to the public since that time, which includes the massive “2012 Internal DOE Email Dump” that was unleashed in late October of that year.
These correspondences basically prove that the president, the White House, Secretary Chu, and certain DOE officials lied about how they handled the green energy loans on various fronts –– which was followed by secrecy, cover-ups and even perjury.
In November 2012, Marita Noon and I began unleashing the content of these email interactions, of which we found plenty of references to the president, POTUS, the White House, the “7th floor,” and “the Hill.” More disturbing is that contrary to House Oversight testimonies by DOE officials, those inside the DOE were rushing the approval of the DOE loans –– a fast track process imposed at the POTUS level, yet they were met with resistance by the Treasury as well as the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), amongst others involved in the deal making process.
As it turns out, these emails reveal that many of the DOE loans were rushed and approved for political reasons –– visits, speeches, announcements, photo ops, and talking points for the president as well as for the purpose of helping those connected to the companies seeking the loans –– CEO’s, investors, and Democrat politicians, which goes beyond subsidizing Nevada companies in order to help Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid win his 2010 reelection campaign.
These bombshell emails also expose the cozy relationships DOE officials and advisors had during the loan review process with loan applicants and their CEO’s, lobbyists, and investors, etc. It’s no surprise that they had meetings and calls with DOE officials and Energy Secretary Chu, but there are documented meetings and calls with the president, VP, and WH as well as plenty of “green fraternizing” going on –– bike riding, coffee meetings, sleepovers, “beer summits,” Al Gore parties, dinners, Democrat fundraisers, and so on.
NOTE: “2012 Internal DOE Email Dump” is in reference to the House Oversight huge document dump that was unleashed in October 2012 (see Memorandum, Appendix I and the 350+ page Appendix II), and due to its value, will be sourced many times in this report.
Today we’ll stay focused on Center for American Progress, staring with the fact that other than John Podesta, we have Valerie B. Jarrett: President’s Obama’s longest serving advisor and confidante, of which some refer to her as the “shadow chief of staff.”
While Podesta is directly tied to CAP, Ms. Jarrett has an indirect connection: Prior to joining the Obama administration as Senior Advisor and assistant to the president, she served as Vice Chairman of The Joyce Foundation (Obama sat on the board 1994 to 2002), the Chicago-based organization, who is a major donor to radical environmentalist and conservation groups as well as progressive movements like CAP.
This was part of the climate scam that not involves many green corruption suspects, but leads to cap-and-trade, of which I began to unravel in 2010, and what I refer to as the “pot of gold at the end of the climate rainbow” –– warning that with so much at stake, even if the planet blows up, they will get their cap-and-trade, or a version of it.
Jarrett, also in September 2009, hosted a “Clean-Energy Summit” where an array of attendees just so happened to “collectively strike gold” with over $5.3 billion in taxpayer funds from the Green Bank of Obama. We also know that internal emails showed (released in 2011) that deliberations on Solyndra –– the first DOE loan to go bad and scream corruption –– “reached into Obama’s inner circle, including senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.”
Additionally, we can confirm via the “2012 Internal DOE Email Dump” that Ms. Jarrett had a December 7, 2010, meeting with “the CEO’s of NRG and Reliant.” NRG Energy (a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 Index company) and its subsidiaries (Reliant is one) was the recipient of most of junk-rated stimulus loans, which includes NRG Solar for the Agua Caliente project ($967 million); NRG Solar for the California Valley Solar Ranch ($1.2 billion); BrightSource Energy Ivanpah project ($1.6 billion); and Prologis for Project Amp ($1.4 billion).
NRG Energy is one of those twelve timely Soros investments that I alluded to earlier (along with additional Obama administration connections) that snagged $5.2 billion in loans and a truck load of grants as well as other cleantech funds from the Green Bank of Obama. But it is the highly paid president and CEO (since 2003) David Crane (stock owner and an aggressive pusher of clean energy) who appeared to have significant influence. During the course of the June 2012, House Oversight hearing, Crane admitted that between the Bush administration and the Obama administration, he had visited the White House “14 to 15 times,” of which 6 to 7 of his visits were with the Obama White House.
Lawrence Summers: Currently listed as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress
- Former Director of President Obama’s National Economic Council (designated on November 24, 2008 to 2011)
- Former Secretary of Treasury under President Bill Clinton (from 1999 to 2001)
It’s worth noting that back in the day (November 2008), President-elect Barack Obama rolled out his National Economic Council (NEC), and installed “economic czar” Larry Summers (not subject to pesky confirmation hearings), who had served as Robert Rubin’s protégé at Treasury. Rubin, on the other hand, who had spent 25 years at Goldman Sachs before serving as Secretary of Treasury under the Clinton administration (1995-1999), after his government stint went to Citigroup as a Senior Counselor, only to retire in January 2009. However, what’s not widely known is that behind the scenes [during Timothy Geithner’s time at Treasury], “Rubin was still wielding enormous influence in Barack Obama’s Washington,” documented POLITICO.
What’s worth pointing out again is that Summers’ private memos to Obama, which were released by The New Yorker in early 2012, revealed the real intent behind the economic stimulus bill. American Enterprise Institute reported, “A key source for writer Ryan Lizza is a 57-page, “Sensitive & Confidential” memo written by economist Summers to Obama in December 2008,” which exposed “11 stunning revelations from Larry Summers’ secret economics memo to Barack Obama.” One in particular was that the stimulus was about implementing the Obama agenda and rewarding his green cronies.
The short-run economic imperative was to identify as many campaign promises or high priority items that would spend out quickly and be inherently temporary. … The stimulus package is a key tool for advancing clean energy goals and fulfilling a number of campaign commitments.
Summers, a Distinguished Senior Fellow at CAP, has significant ties to Wall Street, which if you’ve been paying attention, they ensured an Obama victory in 2008. Prior to Summers heading to the Obama White House as top economic advisor, he had an elaborate gig where he worked just one day a week while making $5.2 million in two years at D.E. Shaw –– a New York-based $39 Billion Hedge Fund Giant. According to the Wall Street Journal, Summers “received hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from major financial institutions,” which included “frequent appearances before Wall Street firms including J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers.”
What’s significant is that both Goldman Sachs and Citigroup (profiled later) are corporate CAP donors that either won billions in green energy funds, or made money off of the deals that occurred. And, the majority of the deal making came from the now $32 billion Energy Department Loan Guarantee Program, with the majority of the loans awarded and finalized between 2009 and September 2011. This is the same program that, as mentioned earlier, has been pushed and promoted by Center for American Progress for some time.
During Summer’s time inside the Obama White House, it’s unclear how involved Summers was in the loan program decision making process, but we can confirm via the “2012 Internal DOE Email Dump” that he was part of a scheduled January 2010 meeting with Jonathan Silver (head of the Loan Program at the time), a few DOE officials, and Carol Browner –– the latter another CAP fellow that will be profiled next.
“Nearly a year before Solyndra went bankrupt and engulfed the White House in scandal, President Obama’s top economic advisors [Summers and Timothy Geithner] warned him about the risks of the clean-energy loan program that granted the solar company more than a half-billion dollars” –– as reported by the Business Insider in September 2011.
Needless to say, Solyndra was only one of the 22 “junk” loans awarded by the Energy Department’s $16 billion stimulus program –– a program where we find that Summers is directly tied to one of those DOE deals, while his buddy David Shaw, a two-time Obama bundler, had an invested interest in more.
Mr. Shaw is the founder of D.E. Shaw, where Summer’s worked before joining the Obama White House, and a firm that is connected to at least two renewable energy companies that snagged billions in DOE stimulus loans: First Wind and First Solar that are also CAP corporate donors, which will be expanded upon later. First Wind was the winner of a $117 million DOE stimulus loan, plus hundreds of millions in stimulus grants, of which, according to Peter Schweizer, “Larry Summers was part owner of First Wind.” Meanwhile, First Solar won three large stimulus loans, totaling over $3 billion of taxpayer money –– not to mention additional green energy funds.
Carol M. Browner: Founding member of Center for American Progress and currently a Senior Fellow
- Currently on the Advisory Committee of the Export-Import Bank of the United States
- Headed the Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy (AKA Climate Czar), from January 2009 until February 2011
- Obama-Biden 2008-Transition Team role: Advisory Board Member and Energy Policy Working Groups
- 2008 Obama Bundler
Browner, a career Washington insider, who directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the Clinton administration, is an Al Gore acolyte, and an environmental extremist with a few left-wing radical ties on her secret resume. While Browner worked for Gore as far back as 1988, at some point (between 2007 and 2009), she served as a board member of the Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection –– which, in July 2011, was morphed into “The Climate Reality Project.” From what I gather, this was the result of merging two environmental groups: The Alliance for Climate Protection and The Climate Project, which were both founded in 2006 by Al Gore.
Browner was also a 2008 Obama bundler and part of the Obama-Biden Transition Team, who was later appointed to the president’s 2009 Green Team as the “climate czar,” only to abruptly resign in early 2011.
Prior to her tenure at the Obama White House, Browner was a founding board member (from 2003-2008) for CAP, and she is currently listed as a Senior Fellow. Browner, not only “pushed for billions of dollars for renewable energy in the economic stimulus bill,” she was part of the decision-making process inside the Energy Department’s Loan Guarantee Program, which at the time of her departure had doled out $34.7 billion of taxpayer money. Browner is implicated in an array of issues surrounding these loans, as reflected in many of the DOE email exchanges released to the public since 2011, as well as the “2012 Internal DOE Email Dump.”
With such deep connections to the former-Vice President Al Gore, and his climate mission, one wonders why Gore and his investment firms –– Kleiner Perkins and Generation Investment Management –– raked in so much of the DOE money under her watch. As of January 2013, I tracked that these two firms combined are tied to at least $10 billion (more if you add in Silver Spring Networks and the fact that their “customers” raked in $1.3 billion in smart-grid stimulus grants), from the taxpayer-funded Green Bank of Obama, the majority coming from the 2009-Recovery Act –– the stimulus bill (renewable energy part) that Doerr helped author, while Browner pushed to include taxpayer money.
Browner may have left her “climate” post, but she currently sits (and has for a while) on the Advisory Committee of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im), another means where our government dishes out billions of American taxpayer dollars in support of clean energy.
“The Ex-Im Bank uses taxpayer money to backstop politically favored projects, which “just greases the wheels of the powerful and often corrupt big Washington Establishment,” wrote Heritage Action. This is another “green bank” that not only supports other Nations, but where you’ll find corporate welfare and crony capitalism run amok, which includes quite a number of the president’s favored firms: Abengoa, First Solar (Exelon Corp.) and SolarWorld, to name a few.
As recently as October 2013, at a Washington, D.C. CAP event (10th anniversary policy conference), Browner had this to say about the Keystone Pipeline: “There will be some twists and turns” in the political debate over the pipeline, but “at the end of the day [Obama] is going to say no,” reported the Huffington Post. This was an even that besides Browner, featured other Big Green personalities such as Van Jones, Tom Steyer, John Podesta, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Secretary of State John Kerry, California Governor Jerry Brown, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and of course, Al Gore.
Tom Steyer, CAP Board Member and Donor, Climate Change Radical, Big Oil Investor, Obama Bundler and Billionaire Buddy
At that event, Browner was joined on a panel with Van Jones, the former “green jobs czar” –– also a CAP fellow (profiled next) –– along with environmental advocate Tom Steyer, who has been on an anti-Keystone XL crusade for some time. In fact, Jones has been on the record slamming the president’s delay on denying the pipeline. Meanwhile, Steyer is the same hedge-fund billionaire and megabucks Obama bundler and Democrat donor that was also a Big Oil Investor through his former firm Farallon Capital Management that has an invested interest in the rejection of the pipeline.
Like most prominent Obama fundraisers, Steyer has enjoyed relatively easy access to the White House, and as of the summer of 2012, it was reported that he had met with senior White House officials in the West Wing on at least four occasions. Steyer was even handpicked to make a cameo appearance at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Additionally, Steyer, “plans to spend as much as $100 million during the 2014 election, seeking to pressure federal and state officials to enact climate change measures through a hard-edge campaign of attack ads against governors and lawmakers,” reported the New York Times last month.
In September 2012, the Washington Free Beacon documented that Steyer “is reportedly one of the backers of Greener Capital, which invests in alternative fuel companies that benefit from the anti-oil policies of the Obama administration.” What’s key to this Green Corruption file is that “Steyer has donated at least $1.4 million to the Center for American Progress (CAP) since 2009 through his TomKat Charitable Trust. As of 2010, he was listed as a director of the left-wing think tank.”
In December 2013, The Beacon, in their piece “Keystone to the Kingdom,” we find a stunning look at the relationship between Mr. Steyer and John Podesta: “Steyer is on the board of the Center for American Progress, and in the early months of 2012 he and Podesta cosigned a Wall Street Journal op-ed, “We Don’t Need More Foreign Oil and Gas,” arguing against Keystone and for tax loopholes such as the Production Tax Credit, increasing the value of the green energy companies in which Steyer invested and on whose boards Podesta sat.”
Moreover, while a slew of Democrats who oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, stand to benefit from its rejection, Farallon Capital Management “has extensive holdings in fossil fuel companies — including investments that could benefit from the blocking of the Keystone pipeline,” reported The Daily Caller in May 2013. One in particular stands out: “Farallon also still holds stock in BP” –– the oil giant that according to POLITICO in 2010, Obama was the biggest recipient of BP donations over the past twenty years.”
In case you didn’t know, British Petroleum, the oil and gas giant that in 2001, began re branding to Beyond Petroleum (BP), was heavily in the “green” business via BP Alternative Energy (biofuels, wind and solar). However, in the spring of 2013, BP switched gears and started abandoning renewable energy. Still, that was after BP had snagged millions in “green” funds from the Obama administration, of which I began to unravel in April 2013 due the fact that BP is in cahoots with Sempra Energy, the winner of a $337 million DOE stimulus loan for the Mesquite Solar Project in Arizona. Also, BP, at that time, was part of all five of Sempra’s wind projects. BP Alternative Energy is also an investor in BrightSource Energy –– the winner of a $1.6 billion DOE stimulus loan that involves more CAP corporate donors and a slew of additional Obama cronies that I’ll get to much later.
Van Jones: Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress (it is unknown when Van first joined CAP, but we do know that he rejoined in February 2010)
- Green Jobs Czar, from March 2009 to September 2009
- 2008 to 2009 Crafter of the Recovery Act: both personally and via the Apollo Alliance, as part or their National Steering Committee, where Van Jones was a board member from 2006 to either 2008 or 2009
As the story goes, Van Jones –– left-wing radical, turned CNN contributor –– was handpicked to become Obama’s “green jobs czar” in 2009: “We were so delighted to be able to recruit him into the White House,” Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, stated on August 12, 2009. Mr. Jones’ advisory post at the White House was short lived due to his radical past and behavior, and in September 2009 he resigned, blaming it on a “smear campaign of lies and distortions to distract and divide.”
Nevertheless, Van is another very active CAP member where his focus remains on “green-collar jobs.” He’s still a strong force in the midst of the climate change debate, pushing green jobs, as well as his extreme environmental ideology.
Since 2010, Jones has been a Senior Fellow at CAP, whereas his bio states, “he is a co-founder of three successful nonprofit organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and Green For All” –– of which both George Soros and Al Gore (both huge winners of green energy monies) have been know to fund Van’s causes as far back as the 90’s, including Green for All.
Mr. Jones has been featured in a few of my posts, but most recently when I exposed the various green parties involved in crafting the energy sector of the 2009-Recovery Act –– and how they and their friends raked in tens of billions from the Green Bank of Obama. Certainly, Van’s White House post, which comprised of overseeing billions in “green” stimulus funds, and the subsequent controversy surrounding his eco-radical mission (good and bad press) helped catapult Jones into fame and possibly some fortune. In my opinion, this would include the success of his green jobs book, numerous green honors, and his CNN gig –– success that he may not have seen otherwise.
We’ve tracked Jones’ connections to CH2M HILL (also a client of the Podesta Group), the winner of $1.3 billion in stimulus funds as well as Solar Mosaic, where Jones was an advisor, who ultimately, in June 2012, was awarded a $2 million grant from the Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative. Solar Mosaic had also employed Rebuild the Dream to do its public relations work, documented the Daily Caller in 2012. Also, in 2012 and 2013, Solar Mosaic snagged two small 1603 federal stimulus grants: one in Arizona for $13,123 and in California for $185,700.
What about Mr. Jones’ solicitation business? Prior to Van’s resignation, in August 2009, his Green for All launched a program called Capital Access Program (CAP) to help green businesses secure stimulus funds –– monies that he was overseeing at that time, of which his bio confirms. In fact, during the 2012 presidential election (as a CNN contributor), Jones bragged about his part in the implementation of the clean-energy stimulus funds: he helped “run the inter-agency process that oversaw $80 billion [some reports go as high as $100 billion] in green energy recovery spending.”
What’s also relevant is that not only did Jones personally participate in the formation of 2009-Recovery Act, he was with the Apollo Alliance as part of their National Steering Committee and Board member (from 2006 to either 2008 or 2009) –– when the Apollo Alliance successfully got many of their policy ideas packaged into the stimulus bill, including, but not limited to, its expensive and unsuccessful “green jobs” program.
Both Senator Harry Reid and Mr. Jones have bragged about the Apollo’s participation. Adding to the mix is that the Apollo Alliance is a project of the Tides Center. And, the Tides Center/ Tides Foundation is another Soros funded left-wing organization that was also funded by the Joyce Foundation, mentioned earlier under Valerie Jarrett.
What you should know about the Tides Center can be found at Watchdog.org, who in 2013, labeled their programs as “a checklist of liberalism’s most ambitious agenda.” Moreover, it’s become a meeting place of two potentially warring factions of the Left — labor and environmentalists,” charged Tori Richards early last year.
Perhaps Tides’ biggest coup was using its Apollo Alliance Project to help draft Obama’s massive stimulus bill. The final stimulus bill doled out billions of dollars to further the Left’s green-energy agenda and social justice constituency while preserving labor’s role in centralized economic planning.
Apollo Alliance, now labeled as the BlueGreen Alliance, not only enjoys political clout, but they also have significant and highly influential green allies and donors, which at one point included John Podesta as an Apollo board member –– adding another layer to CAP’s power behind this massive green energy scheme.
Steve Spinner: Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress from September 2010 to October 2011, where he publicly advocated for energy policies that support clean, renewable energy
- Two-time Obama Bundler
- DOE Loan Programs Advisor, from April 2009 to September 2010
- 2008 Obama-Biden Transition Team role: Technology, Innovation & Government Reform Policy Working Groups
Steve Spinner, a two-time Obama bundler, not only worked for Obama’s 2008 transition team, he also was part the president’s 2012 reelection campaign, serving as a California finance chair and founded “Technology for Obama (T4O).”
In April 2009, Spinner was appointed as the DOE Loan Programs Advisor to then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu, yet by September 2010, he left the DOE and about that same time joined CAP as a Senior Fellow until October 2011. During the course of Spinner’s DOE gig, he acted as a liaison between the Recovery Act Office and the Loan Programs Office, of which he was responsible for monitoring the loan program. According to the DOE, “In that capacity, [Spinner] played no role in the decision-making on or evaluation of individual loan applications or the awarding of any grants.”
Spinner was also handpicked to make a cameo appearance at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, along with other wealthy Obama green cronies: Steve Westly, Tom Steyer (profiled earlier) and Jim Rogers, who will be profiled later.
Spinner & Solyndra
Spinner is well known for his involvement and influence (investigations and internal emails prove) to the ill-fated, politically connected Solyndra, which was once the poster child for the president’s clean-energy initiative. The Solyndra Saga –– FBI raid and all –– in 2011, morphed into the template for Obama’s green corruption scandal: political payback, costing taxpayers at least $570.4 million. Yet, most concluded a long time ago that Solyndra was only the tip of the iceberg.
Nevertheless, Spinner’s participation, despite the DOE’s denial, has been proven many times over, including in October 2011, when POLITICO and others seized on his role inside this scandal, stating, “[Spinner] played an active part in Solyndra’s $535 million loan guarantee [approved in September 2009] despite conflict of interest concerns over his wife’s work at a law firm that also represented the California solar company.”
Solyndra also snagged a $25.1 million in California tax credit, and at some point before 2011, Solyndra indirectly bagged another loan from the Export-Import Bank, which was obtained by a third-party company to the tune of $10.3 million.
It should be emphasized that back in 2009, Fitch had rated the Solyndra DOE loan “non-investment grade,” as revealed by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in March 2012 –– a report that implicates Spinner even more so.
White House e-mails released late last year  indicate that Spinner was influential in securing the $528 million loan to now-bankrupt Solyndra. Many of those EMAILS were written just days after he signed an ethics agreement pledging that he would “not participate in any discussion regarding any application involving” his wife’s law firm.
In one message to a DOE official on August 28, 2009, Spinner wrote, “How hard is this? What is he waiting for? . . . I have OVP and WH breathing down my neck on this.” The e-mail went on to demand that the DOE official “walk over there and force [the official working on the Solyndra evaluation] to give [him] an answer.” After just being contacted by Solyndra, Spinner inquires in another e-mail, “Any word on OMB? Solyndra’s getting nervous.” The e-mail correspondence occurring in the final days before the Solyndra loan closed in September 2009 centers heavily on Spinner’s efforts to coordinate plans for either the President or Vice President to announce the first loan approval at a scheduled visit to Solyndra.
Spinner & Tesla Motors
Additionally, we know that prior to joining the DOE, Spinner was an energy-focused venture capitalist and high-tech consultant. At some point, Spinner was a “consultant” to Tesla Motors, the “billionaire’s electric car company,” with an array of Obama pals in the mix (Elon Musk , Steve Westly, Nicholas Pritzker, Google executives, Vantage Point Capital Partners and Goldman Sachs), of which in January 2010, was subsidized with $465 million of taxpayer money from the DOE’s ATVM program.
Spinner & First Solar
Needless to say, according to The Nation’s May 2013 piece entitled “The Secret Donors Behind the Center for American Progress and Other Think Tanks,” is where we first discover that First Solar was a huge favorite of CAP. First Solar is the solar firm, which is connected to a slew of Obama cronies, that is also a confirmed 2012 CAP corporate donor –– possibly as early as 2011.
While we chronicled “The First Solar Swindle” in the summer of 2012, let me reiterate –– although in more detail later –– that they were awarded over $3 billion in stimulus loans, as well as additional taxpayer money. One key tidbit of Intel from The Nation is where we learn of Spinner’s participation in the First Solar DOE deal making….
Last year , when First Solar was taking a beating from congressional Republicans and in the press over job layoffs and alleged political cronyism, CAP’s Richard Caperton praised Antelope Valley in his testimony to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, saying it headed up his list of “innovative projects” receiving loan guarantees. Earlier, Caperton and Steve Spinner — a top Obama fundraiser who left his job at the Energy Department monitoring the issuance of loan guarantees and became a CAP senior fellow — had written an article cross-posted on CAP’s website and its Think Progress blog, stating that Antelope Valley represented “the cutting edge of the clean energy economy.”
The CAP article referenced above by Caperton and Spinner (“Don’t Let Clean Energy Funding Die on the Vine,”) was published on July 13, 2011, and where we find that CAP demanded that more taxpayer money be used to fund the DOE’s loan program –– even calling for a green bank “as a permanent financing tool for clean energy projects.”
Spinner & Silver’s Collusion
The CAP piece referenced above also opened up another can of worms. Jonathon Silver, at that time an Obama administration official at the Energy Department “actively collaborated with CAP in 2011 to advance the president’s green energy agenda, in possible violation of federal law,” documented the Washington Free Beacon on September 14, 2012.
This is where internal emails surfaced showing that over several days via Spinner and Silver’s personal email accounts (correspondences that also imply the two were in touch multiple times over the phone), the two colluded: “In July 2011, Steve Spinner, then a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP), sought and received guidance from Jonathan Silver, executive director of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) loans program, regarding a CAP editorial urging Congress to expand funding for the program and permanently establish a Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA), or ‘green bank,’ to further fund clean energy projects.”
Spinner & BrightSource Energy
Inside the “2012 Internal DOE Email Dump,” we also discover that as early as September 2009, there was “strong push” by Silver, Spinner, and Matt Rogers (Senior Advisor to Energy Secretary Steven Chu from January 2009 until September 2010) to push through the $1.6 billion BrightSource Energy deal.
NOTE: Jonathan Silver, reported to be an Obama bundler, has quite the impressive background.
As noted by Barron’s Magazine (in 2010), Silver had been a managing partner at Core Capital Partners [and co-founder] in Washington. “Coincidentally, one of his colleagues there was Tom Wheeler, a 2008 Obama bundler” –– mentioned under the Obama-Biden Transition Team.
We also know that Silver’s wife has served as financial director of the Democratic Leadership Council, and that the couple hosted a party to promote Al Gore’s environmental advocacy group, the Alliance for Climate Protection. This party (fundraiser) surrounded Silver’s vetting process (September 2009), in which he invited two key DOE officials.
Silver was appointed as the Executive Director of the Loan Programs Office in November 2009, and resigned in early October 2011, amidst the “Solyndra $535 Million Saga” –– even testifying in September 2011. Considering that there is much to be said about Silver’s just shy of a two-year stint at the DOE, we do know that it included helping Secretary Chu accelerate the loan review process.
In reading hundreds of pages from the “2012 Internal DOE Email Dump,” it’s evident that Silver aggressively pushed the loans through (fast tracked) as directed, influenced, and pressured by the POTUS, Vice President Joe Biden, the White House, the 7th Floor, and the Hill –– and did so with arrogance, even as he was fraternizing with lose seeking the DOE loans.
Despite his resignation, Silver has appeared before the House Oversight Committee twice (July 2012 and September 2013), of which at that time there was a slew of emails proving cronyism and corruption that Silver had to answer to. This is where some of the most bombshell details emerged, starting with the fact that in the course of Silver’s testimony during the July 18th Oversight hearing, it was revealed that he and other DOE officials and advisors were using their personal email accounts to conduct Energy Department business.
Silver also made this denial: “…as I say, almost nobody that I am aware of in the Loan Program even knew who the individuals were who had invested, either directly or indirectly into these companies.” Yet, we know this is a lie. In fact, we exposed this many times in the course of unleashing the “2012 Internal DOE Email Dump,” which began shortly after their release –– even discovering more clean-energy dirt along the way. We can confirm that Silver knew exactly who the investors were in the projects seeking Energy Department loans in at least four of the deals that were approved: BrightSource, Shepherds Flat, and Kahuka Wind, and Fisker Automotive for starters –– all with deep ties to the Obama White House. We also know that Silver expedited some of these loans for presidential photo ops, as well as helping Senator Harry Reid’s 2010 midterm election.
During the September 10, 2013 House Oversight hearing on “Preventing Violations of Federal Transparency Laws,” members questioned two of the most egregious offenders: Mr. Silver and Lisa Jackson the former head of the EPA mentioned early on as part of the Obama-Biden Transition Team.
Sadly, this hearing didn’t get much coverage except for Paul Chesser at the National Legal and Policy Center, noting that this event “didn’t last long enough to get very deep.” However, what caught my attention was when Committee Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio grilled Mr. Silver “about his directives to keep messaging out of the public eye” as well as reading particular email exchanges that implicated Silver helping his buddies get DOE loans. Also at issue were the loan program failures.
However, the most unbelievable attempt to conceal the truth came out at that time: The congressman then showed an email that was sent to the committee staff a couple of days prior to the hearing from Silver’s lobbyist (lawyer, it’s unclear) demanding, “Don’t direct any questions to Mr. Silver.” Silver denied knowing anything about THE request, but we never got to the bottom of it because the Ranking Member, Congressman Elijah Cummings stopped Jordon from going down that path due to confusion over attorney/client privilege, and that he and Committee Chairman Darrell Issa would be looking into that issue…” off the record.
Center for American Progress Finally Reveals its Corporate Donors:
At least 17 raking in tens of billions of tax dollars from the Green Bank of Obama
While the left-wing think tank is a well-known favorite of billionaire George Soros, as well as other left-leaning ultra-rich donors, “the center does not disclose who finances its activities, a policy it is declining to change even as Mr. Podesta prepares to wield influence over the shape of the Obama administration,” wrote the New York Times in 2008.
However, “after heavy pressure arising from CAP’s quasi-lobbying history. That scrutiny ratcheted up following the announcement that CAP founder John Podesta would be formally joining the Obama administration. Both Politico and the New York Times called for the donor list to meet the public eye,” reported Breitbart News.
So, on December 13, 2013, CAP “revealed that it’s funded by some of the country’s largest and most powerful corporations, trade associations and lobbying firms,” announced POLITICO. The donor disclosure excluded individuals and foundations, only giving insight into their corporate influence, leaving more darkness in its wake. Moreover, it was reported that each of those listed (58 donors) has given the group more than $10,000 in 2013, yet the exact amount was not disclosed.
CAP’s 2013 donor list “contains a myriad of massive corporations, including Apple Inc., AT&T, Bank of America, BMW of North America, Citigroup, Coca-Cola, Discovery, GE, Facebook, Google, Goldman Sachs, PepsiCo, PG&E, the Motion Picture Association of America, Samsung, Time Warner Inc., T-Mobile, Toyota, Visa, Walmart and Wells Fargo” –– many of which are part of this massive green energy scheme.
Still, The Nation, in their May 2013 piece “The Secret Donors Behind the Center for American Progress and Other Think Tanks, released a list of CAP’s 2012 corporate donors –– labeled “American Progress Business Alliance Members,” which are charged fees:
A confidential CAP donor pitch I obtained describes the Business Alliance as “a channel for engagement with the corporate community” that provides “the opportunity to…collaborate on common interests.” It offers three membership levels, with the perks to top donors ($100,000 and up) including private meetings with CAP experts and executives, round-table discussions with “Hill and national leaders,” and briefings on CAP reports “relevant to your unique interests.”
The Nation also divulged that CAP doesn’t publicly disclose the members of its Business Alliance, but they “obtained multiple internal lists from 2011 showing that dozens of major corporations had joined.” What’s relevant here is that in 2011 the lists compiled by The Nation of “CAP’s donors included Comcast, Walmart, General Motors, Pacific Gas and Electric, General Electric, Boeing and Lockheed” –– with three confirmed winners of green energy funds.
So basically the donor list and the membership list are one in the same. And, what’s even more interesting is how The Nations chronicles CAP’s assets:
“After growing rapidly in its first few years, tax records show, CAP’s total assets fell in 2006 for the first time, from $23.6 million to $20.4 million. Assets started growing again in 2007 when CAP founded the Business Alliance, a membership rewards program for corporate contributors, and then exploded when Obama was elected in 2008.”
We know that CAP founded its Business Alliance (corporate donors) in 2007, but since we only have a hint of 2011, combined with lists for 2012 and 2013, the mystery remains. Missing are the corporate donors CAP enlisted from 2007 until 2011. When did these now public donors join CAP, and what was dollar amount of money that was given?
While I am about to dissect the corporations from these lists (2011 to 2013) that received green energy taxpayer money (loans, grants and special tax breaks), in full disclosure, the majority of the stimulus and non-stimulus clean-energy funds ($150 billion through 2014) were doled out between 2009 and 2011. However, as I reported in the beginning of this post, “green” funds continue to flow, and the Obama administration wants billions more of taxpayer money to save the planet.
I hate to be redundant, but as you’ll see, CAP’s corporate donors are connected to many of the same projects and firms that we have documented in previous Green Corruption Files. This is due to the fact that meaningful political ties –– Obama’s bundlers (both in 2008 and in 2012), top donors, financiers, and green cronies –– have surrounded the green energy money from the onset. However, considering that CAP players operated inside the Obama White House as well as the Energy Department –– prior, during and after the money was doled out –– this adds another layer of corruption behind the green energy deals.
At any rate, several of these corporations include Big Banks (even the “too-big-to fail”) that have benefited immensely from President Obama’s cleantech push. Even though many on Wall Street stood by the president in 2012, the majority sided with Mitt Romney. But that was after Obama enjoyed his fare share of Wall Street buddies who helped ensure his victory in 2008, poring millions of dollars into his campaign coffers, making their mark as TOP campaign donors (PAC) –– with even Wall Street executives bundling huge sums of money for then-candidate Obama. Additionally, “the big bundlers had broad access to the White House for meetings with top administration officials and glitzy social events.”
Inside these CAP corporate donor lists we find a few TARP recipients such as Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Merrill Lynch. What’s more telling is the infiltration of so many Citigroup and Goldman Sachs executives operating (past and present) inside the Obama administration, even shaping his economic policy.
CAP’S 2013 DONORS: Green energy money winners
#1) Bank of America (now Bank of America Merrill Lynch –– confirmed donor since 2012):
Both Bank of America and Merrill Lynch (Campaign Committee’s), from 2003 to 2008, supported Senator Obama. Meanwhile, Bank of America, a heavy hitter donor with major lobbying pull, plays both sides of the isle. But in 2008, this Big Bank put their money (PAC and individuals) on blue, including donating to candidate Obama.
In the final days of the DOE loan program (September 2011), the DOE awarded a partial guarantee of $1.4 billion loan –– another shady stimulus deal (“non-investment grade”) that was “personally championed” by then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu –– for a project called Project Amp. Prior to the finalization of this DOE transaction, in June 2011, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Prologis and NRG Energy joined forces on Project Amp, which was “a four-year, $2.6 billion project to place solar panels on rooftops in 28 states, one of the most ambitious clean-energy projects in recent years,” reported the Wall Street Journal.
The Journal goes on, “Bank of America Merrill Lynch unit will provide $1.4 billion in loans for the project,” of which “the financing is part of Bank of America’s plan to put $20 billion of capital to work in renewable energy, conservation and other clean technologies that address climate change.”
However, by October 2013, the Energy Department pulled the plug on Project Amp, and according to POLITICO, Prologis never tapped into the $1.4 billion. Still, along the way, Prologis did secure “a grant for $68,000 for the purpose of “rent for warehouse space” under the Recovery Act.
While I have yet to do a complete analysis on Bank of America/Merrill Lynch and their renewable energy portfolio, there are additional firms or projects that this bank has backed that also received “green” taxpayer funds from the Obama administration.
NextEra Energy Wind Energy Assets
Fist is NextEra, whose CEO Lewis “Lew” Hay, III was member of President Obama’s Jobs Council (from 2011 until 2013), that was awarded two large DOE stimulus loans, as well as a slew of other green energy stimulus funds. This is part of the scheme that we’ve been documenting since the summer of 2012 (“Third Largest Recipient of DOE Risky Loans”), and later in my January 2013 Big Wind Story.
But since Bank of America has invested in the wind side, what’s key here is this: NextEra was the biggest user of the wind energy production tax credit. In an analysis by John Fund of the National Review Online, he states…
Begun 20 years ago to spur the construction of wind-energy facilities that could compete with conventional fossil-fuel power plants, the tax credit [PTC] gives wind an advantage over all other energy producers. But it has mostly benefited conventional nuclear and fossil-fuel-fired electricity producers. The biggest user of the tax credit is Florida-based NextEra Energy, the nation’s eighth-largest power producer. Through skillful manipulation of the credits, NextEra from 2005 to 2009 ‘paid just $88 million in taxes on earnings of nearly $7 billion,’ Businessweek reports. That’s a tax rate of just 1.25 percent over that period, when the statutory rate is 35 percent.
Considering that the Podesta Group added SolarCity as a client in 2012, I highlighted the various political connections to this solar firm earlier, including billionaire players that received taxpayer money for other green energy deals, such as Elon Musk, Nicholas J. Pritzker, and George Soros.
But what most don’t know is that SolarCity was in line to get a stimulus loan from the DOE for $275 million. However, that deal –– dubbed SolarStrong –– fell apart due to the Solyndra “red flags” just prior to the loan program’s deadline in September 2011. A month later, SolarCity found a willing partner in Bank of America, which was followed by this official announcement: “SolarCity and Bank of America Merrill Lynch today announced that they have agreed to terms on financing for SolarStrong, SolarCity’s ambitious five-year plan to build more than $1 billion in solar power projects for privatized U.S. military housing communities across the country.”
It should be noted that without government subsidies, SolarCity wouldn’t be the success it is today: “SolarCity currently benefits from tax credits totaling as much as 30 percent of the cost of these systems,” noted Bloomberg. And, as I documented earlier, SolarCity, so far (and since 2009) has been subsidized with “green” through various stimulus funds, grants and federal tax breaks at the tune of $514 million.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch and SunPower have worked together since 2009. And this year they announced a $220 million financing program for residential solar lease projects. In January 2010, SunPower Corp, the San Jose, Calif.-based designer and manufacturer of solar panels and systems, received four of the stimulus-enacted Section 48C Tax Credits totaling $10.8 million. Then, despite SunPower’s well-known financial issues and the fact that it was under a shareholder suit alleging securities fraud and misrepresentations, just days (September 2011) before the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program’s deadline (along with four other solar companies), this “non-investment” grade $1.2 billion stimulus loan was approved –– to support the construction of the California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) in San Luis Obispo County.
The conditional loan to SunPower was announced on April 12, 2011, and shortly thereafter (April 30, 2011), the French oil conglomerate Total committed to buying a $1.37 billion controlling stake (60%) in SunPower Corp –– a bailout that was confirmed in June 2011. Now, SunPower never directly got the cash, because on the final closing of the DOE loan guarantee, they sold the California Valley Solar Ranch to NRG Energy. However, SunPower continued on as the developer and Bechtel as the primary contractor building the project.
Also, to date, SunPower Residential, in 2013 and 2014, snagged 34 federal stimulus grants from the 1603 Program for “solar electricity” that ranges across 12 states, totaling over $86 million tax dollars.
Other than Bank of America, both SunPower and NRG Energy have additional meaningful political connections to President Obama and other high-ranking Democrats, of which we’ve documented a few times: First in my October 2012 report (troubled green energy projects) and then in my February 2013 analysis on Citigroup, another CAP donor that is up next, which is a huge player inside this “climate” scam. Lastly, due to the fact that NRG Energy, a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 Index company, of which they and their subsidiaries, initially, were the recipient of most of 1705 stimulus loans: at least $5.2 billion of taxpayer money (now minus the $1.4 billion for Project Amp). NRG Energy was one of George Soros’ timely investments that I mentioned at the beginning of this post, yet more Intel can be found in my March 2013 Green Corruption File.
#2) Citigroup (confirmed donor since 2012):
Since 2007, Citigroup has been heavily involved in “climate change activities.” We also can confirm that this “too-big-to-fail” bank has made a massive footprint inside President’s Obama’s clean-energy dirt –– the candidate that Citigroup helped get elected in 2008 as the number seven top donor (PAC) with many executives and friends of Obama bundling for both his campaigns. Meanwhile, in 2012, Citi contributed to both President Obama and Mitt Romney.
By 2011 –– prior to the presidential reelection –– through their “50 Billion Climate Change Investment Initiative,” Citigroup had “directed $36.35 billion into such initiatives so far…” –– of which they brag: “In the U.S., Citi has the largest market share (28 percent) of U.S. Department of energy section 1703/1705 Loan Guarantee program financings for alternative energy, and we are the leader in such bond transactions.”
Considering that in February 2013, I dedicated an entire post to Cit and their Massive ‘Green’ Money Machine,” which included a careful analysis of their “2012 alternative energy portfolio” that lists about 37 transactions (plus SolarReserve) –– both foreign and here in the United States, here I’ll just give some highlights.
What I found is that 58 percent (22) of Citi’s clients had received government subsidies, totaling approximately $16 billion from the taxpayer-funded Green Bank of Obama, the majority from stimulus package. Furthermore, my research not only “followed the green money,” but profiled the Citi executives that operate (d) inside the White House, some with key positions, which included President Obama’s 2013 choice to replace Timothy Geithner for Treasury Secretary with Jack Lew (former Chief of Staff), Michael Froman, Richard Parsons, Louis Susman, and Michael Eckhart –– to name a few.
Many of the alternative energy projects that Citi was involved are mentioned in today’s study, starting with the Energy Department’s junk bond portfolio, which were doled out between 2009 and 2011:
- BrightSource Energy was awarded $1.6 billion DOE loan for the Ivanpah solar facility in California
- Brookfield Renewable Power, whereas Granite Reliable received a $168.9 million loan for a wind project in New Hampshire.
- Caithness/General Electric received a $1.3 billion DOE loan for the Shepherds Flat wind project in Oregon
- NextEra Energy /First Solar got a $1.46 billion loan for the Desert Sunlight project in California;
- SolarReserve was awarded $737 million DOE stimulus loan for the Crescent Dunes project in Nevada.
According to their renewable energy portfolio, Citi, in February 2011, became a major investor in SolarCity. And, as I documented earlier, SolarCity, so far (and since 2009) has been subsidized with “green” through various stimulus funds, grants and federal tax breaks at the tune of $514 million.
Citigroup, as of 2010 was listed as SunPower’s bookrunner. Then in August 2011 SunPower and Citi set up a $105 million fund for residential solar leasing projects, which states, “SunPower will use the fund to extend its SunPower Lease programme to customers in 8 US states, expanding the financing options available to homeowners interested in SunPower solar energy systems. The SunPower Lease is now available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Citi is contributing $80m to the fund.” Again, I covered SunPower under Bank of America, showing that this solar firm was given plenty of green government subsidies:
In January 2010, SunPower Corp received four of the stimulus-enacted Section 48C Tax Credits totaling $10.8 million.
In September 2011, SunPower is part of the $1.2 billion stimulus loan to support the construction of the California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) in San Luis Obispo County.
SunPower Residential, in 2013 and 2014, snagged 34 federal stimulus grants from the 1603 Program for “solar electricity” that ranges across 12 states, totaling over $86 million tax dollars.
#3) Goldman Sachs (possibly a donor since 2012):
Goldman Sachs was a top Obama donor in 2008, but we also know that two Goldman executives sat on Obama’s 2008 Finance Committee and a slew of partners, executives and board members bundled for, and donated to Obama’s 2008 campaign. Meanwhile, his administration has been infested with Goldmanites –– even as early as 2008 when a Goldman board member, James A. Johnson (also an Obama bundler that I profiled many times due to his former firm Perseus), was chosen as head of Barack Obama’s vice presidential search team. Known as Jim Johnson and “a fixture of establishment Washington, with ties to Wall Street and “a major presence in Democratic politics for more than two decades,” Mr. Johnson resigned his VP vetting role amidst criticism over his part in the Countrywide Financial scandal as well as controversy surrounding his role as Fannie Mae’s chief executive from 1991 to 1999.
Even though in 2012, Goldman Sachs turned their back on Mr. Obama in 2012, there were many executives and board members that helped him get reelected.
Like Bank of America, I haven’t had the opportunity to examine Goldman Sachs’ Alternative Energy Group and its Environmental Markets financing and advisory; however, we do know that Goldman has been investing in renewable energy since at least 2005.
By 2014, Goldman Sachs “declared that the renewable sector is one of the most compelling” –– even as they backed “green” in 2012, having committed $40 billion to renewable energy (made and planned investments). According to Renew Economy, “Stuart Bernstein, who heads the bank’s clean-technology and renewables investment banking group, told Recharge in a recent interview in a story titled Goldman goes Green, ”It is at a transformational moment in time.”
As Goldman promotes President Obama’s Climate Action Plan along with other winners of clean-energy funds, they also brag about their climate change roles: “In 2012, we financed nearly $2 billion and co-invested more than $430 million in the sector. We also served as financial advisor on clean-energy transactions valued at more than $1.1 billion.”
Needless to say, since 2010, I’ve been following Goldman and tracking how this Big Bank has been cashing in on the stimulus funds. As my research developed, I found their DNA all over this green energy scheme, of which to date we can confirm that Goldman Sachs has an invested interest –– via various roles, and having entered the scene at different junctures (before, during and after taxpayer subsidies were awarded), in many projects and firms that received loans, grants and special tax breaks. So far I’ve tracked at least 14 firms connecting Goldman to over $8.5 billion from the Green Bank of Obama, the majority from the 2009-Recovery Act.
Keep in mind too, that Goldman is associated (former executives and investments) with the Big VC firm Kleiner Perkins as well as Generation Investment Management (GIM) –– mentioned a few times already. As a reminder, Kleiner Perkins is where we find the “climate duo,” whose combined carbon footprint is larger than my entire city: Billionaires John Doerr and Al Gore (partners at the firm), where Doerr, “a very big-ticket Obama donor,” in January 2009, persuasions were reflected in the 2009-Recovery Act via his “meetings with Obama’s transition team and leaders in Congress” as well as the fact that he made “five recommendations to Congress and President-elect Barack Obama to jumpstart a green-tech revolution and fight global warming.”
Shortly thereafter (around February 6, 2009) and just days prior to signing the stimulus bill (February 18, 2009), Obama appointed Doerr as a member of his Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB), which later morphed into the president’s jobs council –– only to close down in February 2013.
Meanwhile, back in 2004 Gore started GIM with former CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management David Blood, who is another Obama bundler. Apparently, Blood is the “wizard behind” GIM, and behind this “sustainable firm” are several former Goldman executives and partners –– even as Doerr, in 2007, joined the GIM advisory board.
This and more insight were profiled in my January 8, 2013 file on Doerr and Gore, whose “Greentech Portfolio” (at least 50%) and GIM’s “Sustainable Investing” secured billions in loans, grants and special tax breaks –– the two firms combined are tied to at least $10 billion from the taxpayer-funded Green Bank of Obama, the majority coming from the 2009-Recovery Act, of which Doerr had helped author.
As far as Goldman: first off they made big money from the sale of Horizon Wind Energy to Portugal’s EDP for $2.5 billion in 2007, of which ironically, starting in 2009 until the end of 2012, EDP Renewables North America LLC (formerly Horizon Wind Energy LLC), received over $700 million of free taxpayer money from the Obama stimulus bill ($722,468,855 in Section 1603 Grants) for eleven wind projects, placing them at the number two spot of foreign firms that were winners of US grants. This was a shocking report released in early 2013 by the Energy and Commerce Committee, exposing the extent to which foreign corporations are benefiting from green energy stimulus funding.
Goldman’s Green Losers, Winners, Biofuels, & Smart Grids
Nevertheless, Goldman is credited as the “exclusive financial adviser” for the now bankrupt Solyndra ($570.4 million loss), and in 2010, handled the IPO of what most deem a government winner, Tesla Motors that was awarded $465 million from the DOE ATVM program. Also, according to Goldman, “In May 2013, [they] helped raise over $1 billion in new financing for Tesla Motors.”
There are more bankrupt ones as well: SpectraWatt ($20.5 million), Nordic WindPower ($8.6 million), and Suntech Power Holdings Co. ($2.1 million) –– all taking millions of taxpayer money down with them, while Goldman remains unscathed.
Goldman is also active in advanced biofuels and feedstock companies, handling the IPOs of biofuel companies, of which at least two won money and contracts from the Obama administration: Amyris ($25 million stimulus grant), Kior (seeking $1 billion DOE loan) and Solazyme ($21.7 million DOE stimulus grant; plus part of the $12 million biofuel contract with the U.S. Navy) –– the latter company has its very own direct connection to CAP: Jonathan Wolfson, Solazyme co-
founder and Chief Executive Officer, “is an active participant in many advisory groups, including sitting on the board of the Center for American Progress (CAP) Clean Tech Council.
Meanwhile, Goldman hooked up with another huge winner of stimulus funds: “In March 2013, [they] served as lead-left bookrunner on the $93 million initial public offering for Silver Spring Networks” –– a Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Google (all with friends in the White House) green investment, which in 2009, cashed in big time when the DOE starting handing the smart-grid grants as part of the 2009-Recovery Act. During the course of my January 2013 analysis on Silver Spring, I found that 30 percent of the $4.5 billion stimulus smart-grid grants went to their “customers” –– that’s over $1.3 billion. Then in my May 2013 report, “Smart Gird, Dirty Devices”, I documented additional ties and an interesting analysis of its IPO: “Silver Spring IPO has more red flags than a Communist Party military parade,” PrivCo CEO Sam Hamadeh.
Goldman’s Green DOE Stimulus Loans
Considering that First Solar is also a CAP Business Alliance Member (donor), we’ll expand on that solar firm later, but what is key here is that Goldman was an early investor in First Solar that snagged three large DOE stimulus loans (over $3 billion) –– a story we’ve featured many times, starting with “The First Solar Three Billion Dollar Swindle.”
Still, Goldman was (is) also an investor in U.S. Geothermal that in February 2011, landed a $97 million DOE stimulus loan slated to build a 22-megawatt power plant in the eastern Oregon desert. This was –– one of the first geothermal projects funded by the DOE, despite the fact that in December 2010, S&P had rated this loan as non-investment grade. Yet, the “2012 Internal DOE Email Dump” prove that this deal was rushed and approved in time for a POTUS photo op. Moreover, U.S. Geothermal had other projects that snagged millions in green energy subsidies.
Then in September 2011, Cogentrix of Alamosa, LLC (Cogentrix Energy a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs), was awarded a $90.6 million DOE stimulus loan for the Alamosa Solar Generating Project in Colorado. Cogentrix, on July 16, 2012 bagged a $34.6 million stimulus grant (free taxpayer money) from the 1603 Grant Program –– I’m assuming this is for the same project.
But that’s not all….
BrightSource Energy Just Got Darker
According to Renew Economy (January 2014), “[Goldman] has also a substantial investment in BrightSource Energy,” which actually brought its Ivanpah solar power facility into full production last month –– and if not for a federal loan guarantee, the $2.2-billion project would have never seen the light of day. Now this massive solar power plant (struggling to produce power) has become the “$2.2 Billion Bird-Scorching Solar Project” –– with even the left-leaning Los Angeles Times, chronicling their grand opening like this:
After nearly four years of construction that killed desert tortoises, burned the feathers off passing birds and mowed down thousands of acres of native flora, Ivanpah officially opened last month with a gala that included a rock band and a horde of dignitaries — Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz among them.
We’ve been uncovering BrightSource Energy’s $1.6 billion shady DOE deal since July 6, 2012, and as new information became available we’ve revisited this huge solar transaction several times. In short, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (SEGS) in California was subsidized with a
$1.6 billion DOE stimulus loan, which was announced on February 22, 2010 and finalized April 11, 2011 –– a project that also received special treatment by the Department of Interior, which was documented in our “2012 Special Seven Series.”
Still, BrightSource investors not only include Goldman Sachs, but additional 2008 Obama donors such as Google, Morgan Stanley, and BP Alternative Energy. Meanwhile the Ivanpah project incorporates a slew of ties to President Obama as well as Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Harry Reid. This story comprises of big donors, political cronies and connections such as BrightSource, VantagePoint, Google, NRG Energy, PG&E, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, George Soros, the former Commerce Secretary John Bryson, McBee Strategic Consulting, lobbyists Bernie Toon, and others –– with DOE officials, Obama’s Green Team, and several in Congress from the Democrat side involved.
While I briefly addressed Citigroup’s part in this billion-dollar deal in February 23, 2013 (Ongoing –– $250mm IPO / Joint Bookrunner), it should be noted that just days after the finalization of the $1.6 billion government loan, BrightSource had filed for and IPO, of which Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG were leading the proposed offering. However, a year later, they canceled their IPO, and BrightSource CEO John Woolard (now former) told Gigaom.com that it was “because of the weak public markets, particularly for solar and greentech companies…” –– of which, to date the IPO is still pending. Yet, we do know that Goldman has made equity investments in the solar developer BrightSource.
We also can confirm that additional political heavyweights have been hovering over this deal, starting with Bechtel (another big corporation with their hand in the stimulus) that constructed BrightSource’s Ivanpah project as well as the fact that sometime in October 2010, during the time of their DOE loan review process, “NRG became the lead investor ($300m) in Ivanpah solar project. In fact, as mentioned, this was one of the four (now three) large taxpayer-funded stimulus projects that NRG Energy is part of.
Side Note: My March 22, 2013 file covers The Soros connection, its CEO David Crane, and more. My September 2013 post on BrightSource’s Top DC lobbyist (since 2009) gives more insight into other players inside this $1.6 billion DOE deal, such as VantagePoint, Google Inc, and PG&E, which included ongoing interaction and pressure from the heavyweight K Street firm McBee Strategic Consulting –– another huge player inside this green energy scam. What’s key is that Steve McBee “reportedly wrote key provisions in the stimulus bill to open the spigot of green corporate welfare” –– thus over 60 percent of his energy client list cashed in under the Obama administration.
Lastly, in November 2013, we unleashed BrightSource’s connection to Senator Harry Reid as well as the incriminating “2012 Internal DOE Email Dump” relevant to this particular DOE transaction.
What’s key here is that BrightSource Energy has never been solid. In fact, the “Oakland-based BrightSource Energy Inc. had emerged from the bankruptcy of its parent company.” Now I’m assuming this was out of the ashes of BrightSource Industries (Israel) Ltd. that was formerly known as LUZ II Ltd., and changed its name in December 2008.
Nevertheless, according to Schweizer in Throw Them All Out, as he described the financial issues they were having, “BrightSource badly needed this infusion of taxpayer cash.” So in essence this $1.6 billion stimulus DOE deal was a bailout, which is a clear violation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 –– a fact that we elaborated on many times.
Goldman: SolarCity, SunEdison & SunRun
According to Renew Economy (January 2014), “Goldman Sachs also provided $500 million of finance to SolarCity, to allow the biggest solar installer in the US to expand its solar leasing business. Goldman is one of a number of banks to do that –– the latest was Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.”
Goldman, in 2012, also handled the IPO for SolarCity –– the solar firm I first highlighted under the Podesta Group (became a 2012 client) and expanded upon under Bank of America, noting that SolarCity was not only in line to receive a loan from the Energy Department, but as documented earlier, SolarCity, so far (and since 2009) has been subsidized with “green” through various stimulus funds, grants and federal tax breaks at the tune of $514 million. We’ll keep watching…
There is also SunEdison LLC –– a global provider of solar-energy services –– which was also an early Goldman Sachs investment. Due to the fact that this solar firm also became a client the Podesta Group in 2012, I covered the fact that in 2013, SunEdison won 5 federal stimulus grants from the 1603 Program for “solar electricity” that ranges across 5 states, totaling over $1.8 million tax dollars.
Furthermore, SunEdison is in cahoots with JPMorgan, GE Capital as well as Southern Company and a few other familiar green energy players and CAP donors such as Bank of America, Duke Energy, and First Solar.
Just last month, the Wall Street Journal reported, “Sunrun Inc., a company that finances and installs home solar projects, has retained Goldman Sachs to raise a growth equity round of more than $100 million, according to a person familiar with the situation.”
SunRun can be found in my May 2012 research on Foundation Capital –– another friend of the Obama White House and big VC winner of taxpayer money from the Green Bank of Obama, adding to my long list of Big VC’s that have had made out like bandits. As of October 2013 , I found that SunRun, between 2011 and 2013, snagged 23 federal stimulus grants from the 1603 Program for “solar electricity” that ranges across 10 states, totaling over $141 million tax dollars, thus far.
Plus in 2010, SunRun announced a $100 million joint program with major utility Pacific Gas & Electric, which according to Venture Beat, “PG&E will be funding the rooftop systems in question via its subsidiary, Pacific Energy Capital II, a tax equity fund,” of which “In lieu of traditional returns, the investor — PG&E in this case — gets tax benefits in addition to some cash returns.”
#4) Covanta Energy (confirmed donor since 2012):
This was one of those Soros timely investments (twelve alternative energy and utility companies) that I had alluded to in the beginning of this post and exposed in my March 2013 Green Corruption File. I found that Covanta, a clean-energy company and the recipient of federal stimulus grants, also received millions in 2010 through Congressional earmarks, yet it is unclear as to how many green government subsidies or the exact stimulus dollar amount that Covanta Energy snagged. Also, Covanta Energy stands to benefit from the NAT GAS Act if it comes to light again.
#5) General Electric (confirmed donor since 2011):
General Electric (GE) is a heavy donor to both Republicans and Democrats, and its CEO Jeffrey Immelt “plays the role of typical corporate donor who hedges his bets on both sides of the fence.” However in 2008, GE gave the Obama campaign $529,855, marking them as a top Obama donor.
Meanwhile, in early 2009, Immelt was first appointed as a member of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB), which later morphed into the president’s jobs council, where Immelt served as the Jobs Czar, until it closed down in February 2013.
Nevertheless, GE is a major player on the clean-energy scene as well as in this green energy scheme, starting with the fact that they were also part of the DOE’s Electricity Advisory Committee that had influence into the 2009-Recovery Act. In 2009, the New York Times recognized GE’s green power, noting, “GE lobbied Congress to help expand the clean-energy subsidy programs, and it now profits from every aspect of the boom in renewable-power plant construction, including hundreds of millions in contracts to sell its turbines to wind plants built with public subsidies.”
I’ve been keeping track of GE’s “green tab” since 2012, which at that time exceeded $3 billion in direct (some indirect) taxpayer cash. This tally includes three large stimulus loans from Energy Department’s junk bond portfolio that were doled out between late 2010 until September 2011.
Considering the treasure trove of Intel found in the “2012 Internal DOE Email Dump,” I revisited GE in my December 2012 post. Long story short, in October 2010, the Caithness Shepherds Flat wind project located in eastern Oregon was awarded a $1.3 billion DOE stimulus loan –– a $2 billion project sponsored by GE, who also supplied the project with 338 wind-turbines. These internal emails show that this transaction was approved with White House pressure. For example:
September 9, 2010 EMAIL: James McCrea (subject line: Shepherds Flat — Draft Responses to OMB Questions), “As you all know, the pressure to make decisions on this transaction are high so speed of the essence.” Then later that day, McCrea writes (Email #4 from Appendix I) he says, “Pressure is on real heavy on SF [Shepherds Flat] due to interest from VP.”
Shepherds Flat’s developers also received “a $500 million federal grant, state tax credits totaling $18 million, accelerated depreciation on federal and state taxes worth $200 million, and a premium for its power from the state worth $220 million.” At some point, the Shepherds Flat wind farm received three separate tax credits totaling $30 million from the state of Oregon.
But there’s more…
In September 2011, the poorly rated 1366 Technologies, sponsored in part by GE, received a direct $150 million stimulus loan from the DOE for its solar manufacturing plant.
GE is also part of the $1.2 billion DOE stimulus loan for the Desert Sunlight project, which was finalized in September 2011. This is part of the First Solar Swindle that has been mentioned a few times in this post, and will be detailed later.
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) loaned $54.6 million to Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCSR) “to purchase thirty new General Electric ES44AC diesel-electric locomotives” –– a loan that raised red flags in the March 2012 House Oversight investigation.
Also, you’ll be “blown away” by the billions of “wind energy grants” that flew out of the stimulus package back in February 2010, of which at that time, GE was contracted to at least 26% of them as the “Turbine Manufacturer.”
In late 2009, it was reported by Gigaaom, “GE is one of the newer smart meter players, but the conglomerate has been working with utility Oklahoma Gas & Electric on a 6,600 smart meter trial, and has a contract with PHI, which received $104.80 million for a smart meter deployment in Washington, DC. GE also has a big contract with Florida Power and Light” that also the recipient of a $200 million stimulus grant.
Other than bagging direct green energy stimulus money, GE has also joined forces with others that have benefited from Obama’s alternative-energy taxpayer funds. Two in particular –– the Advanced Metering Partners, another John Doerr “venture” via Silver Spring Networks, as well as Energy Technology Ventures formed in 2011 with NRG Energy and ConocoPhillips. And, I’m sure if were to visit GE again, we’d find much more than $3 billion in green energy funds.
#6) Google (confirmed donor since 2012):
Google, like Wall Street and Big Energy, plays the political game well: it’s all about access and influence, starting with campaign contributions. Google’s $814,540 contribution to then-Senator Obama’s campaign made it the fifth largest donor in 2008, and in 2012 moved up to the number three spot with a whopping $805,119. Furthermore, Google’s CEO at the time, Eric Schmidt, served as an informal advisor to President Obama. Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman, was also an Obama donor in 2008, and since April 2009, is (was) a member of the president’s Science and Technology Advisory Council (PCAST).
Another Google political connection is Dan Reicher, director of climate and energy initiatives at Google, who was one of the founders of Cleantech and Green Business Leaders for Obama. There are other interesting folks behind the Google scenes such as John Doerr and Al Gore –– the dynamic climate duo mentioned periodically in this post –– who has served as a member of Google’s board of directors since May 1999, with Gore as a (past) senior advisor.
And according to Michelle Malkin, “Google cofounder Sergey Brin, Chief Legal Officer and Senior Vice President David Drummond, and Google Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf are all vocal Obama supporters and top donors.” Meanwhile, Google co-founders Sergey Brin & Larry Page, invested in Tesla Motors, while Google, in 2011, partnered with SolarCity (mentioned a few times now) to create a $280 million fund for residential solar projects –– both BIG winners of “green” taxpayer money.
Like many of these Big VC’s that won a significant amount of green money from the Obama administration –– Kleiner Perkins, Khosla Ventures, The Westly Group, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Google Ventures, Foundation Capital, and others –– their “cleantech investments” overlap, and I briefly touched on Google in my January 2012 post about Doerr and Gore.
Later, I documented Google as energy client of McBee Strategic Consulting (in my September 2013 Green Corruption File), discovering and exposing the fact that Google Ventures –– via their “Energy Investments” and other “green deals” that I tracked down at that time –– has ten verified stimulus and other green energy money winners, which places their investment score at close to $5 billion of taxpayer cash, which includes three DOE loans: BrightSource Energy ($1.6 billion); GE’s Caithness Shepherds Flat wind project (presented under GE for $1.3 billion); and Tesla Motors that won $465 million ATVM loan. If you add in Silver Spring Networks’ customers that won $1.3 billion in smart-grid stimulus grants, which I divulged here a few times, that figure rises to $6.3 billion and counting.
#7. PG&E (confirmed donor since 2011):
This utility giant is a strong Obama and Democrat donor that happens to be all over this “green” scam. Not only did they have direct influence over the DOE loans, they are jam-packed with Washington “green cronies,” including Cathy Zoi, who is the “most controversial former PG&E employee to hold an influential government.” Zoi, an Al Gore acolyte was a DOE Insider from 2009 until 2011, and she is not only tied to PG&E but other stimulus winners.
Still, PG&E was another client of the top DC lobbyist, McBee Strategic Consulting, of which I divulged in my September 2013 Green Corruption File. As reported by the Washington Free Beacon in 2012, “PG&E has become an aggressive buyer of power supplied by solar, wind, and other renewable sources, in large part due to statutory requirements under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which mandated that 20 percent of the utility’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2010 — and 33 percent by 2020.”
The big win for this huge energy corporation is that they have an invested interest in seven Energy Department stimulus loans worth $7.6 billion. Moreover, with the exception of BrightSource Energy’s $1.6 project, of which we now know from an email Dated January 4, 2010, that Peter Darbee, then CEO of PG&E, had himself spoken to President Obama about this deal, the rest of the loans were finalized between June and September 2011. While the details into these taxpayer-funded projects can be found in my April 2013 post, here’s an overview.
Agua Caliente Solar Power Project located in Yuma, Arizona, of which “PG&E will purchase the project’s power and deliver it to customers in California.” Project by NRG Solar: $967 million loan guarantee
BrightSource Energy development located in Baker, CA, of which “electricity from the project will be sold under long-term power purchase agreements with Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison Company (SCE).” Project by NRG Energy, Inc. (BrightSource): $1.6 billion loan guarantee
California Valley Solar Ranch of which the 250-megawatt is under construction in eastern San Luis Obispo County, and “is generating clean, reliable solar power for transmission over PG&E’s utility grid.” Project by NRG Solar and SunPower is still involved: $1.237 billion loan guarantee
Desert Sunlight Project located in Riverside, CA, with the PPA (purchase power agreement) listed as Southern California Edison and PG&E. This is a First Solar Project that is co-owned by NextEra Energy Resources, GE Energy Financial Services, and Sumitomo Corporation of America: partial guarantee of $1.46 billion
Genesis Solar Energy Project located in Riverside County, CA of which “power from the project will be sold to Pacific Gas and Electric Company.” Project by NextEra Energy Resources, LLC: partial guarantee of $852 million loan
Mesquite Solar 1, LLC located in Maricopa County, AZ, of which Bloomberg News had reported at the time the DOE loan was approved, “Sempra will sell electricity from the Mesquite Solar 1 plant to California’s largest utility, PG&E Corp., under a 20- year contract.” Project by Sempra Mesquite: $337 million loan guarantee
Mojave Solar located in San Bernardino County, CA, of which at the time of the DOE loan approval (September 2011), “Abengoa signed a power-purchase agreement with PG&E to buy the energy produced by the project for a period of 25 years.” Project by the Spanish firm Abengoa Solar, Inc.: $1.2 billion loan guarantee
Meanwhile, my May 2013 “Smart Gird, Dirty Devices” divulges PG&E’s partnership with Silver Spring Networks on many fronts (PG&E is their top customer). Silver Springs is the the lucky smart-grid technology company that I mentioned earlier, who has an array of White House connections –– Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins and Google –– and as of January 2013 is linked to at least $1.3 billion in smart-grid stimulus grants.
But there’s more…
PG&E won a significant amount of stimulus money for various projects, of which last year I found at least seventeen that added up to over $55 million of tax dollars.
PG&E also bagged at least four stimulus 1603 grants in 2012 and 2013 (for fuel cell, hydropower and solar) totaling $127.2 million.
SolarCity and SunRun, who both won large sums of stimulus money (duly noted in this post), are in cahoots with P.G.&E. Corporation, the California utility holding company’s tax-equity fund to finance residential solar installations.
CAP’S 2011 & 2012 DONORS: Clean-Energy Money Winners (referred to as “American Progress Business Alliance Members”)
#8) American Electric Power (AEP):
While I found that AEP (between 2009 and 2010) was awarded at least four stimulus grants totaling $740 million, which was detailed in my March 2013 Green Corruption File, there is more to share. According to Schweizer’s bombshell book, “in the first quarter of 2009, Soros made an initial purchase of more than 1.5 million shares in American Electric Power (AEP), a utility company that invested heavily in an energy project called FutureGen.”
This was a project that had been abandoned by the Bush administration; however, on June 12, 2009, the Obama administration revived FutureGen: “a federal-industry partnership that would build an advanced coal-burning power plant in Illinois to trap and store carbon dioxide emissions.” After Obama took office, he not only restarted FutureGen with $1 billion from the stimulus package, but he moved the project to Meredosia.
The FutureGen Industrial Alliance “was formed to partner with the U.S. Department of Energy on the FutureGen project.” At that time it was a consortium of major coal and utility companies such as American Electric Power Co. Inc. and Peabody Energy Corp. Just thirteen days later, both AEP and Southern Co withdrew from the U.S.-government backed FuturGen project.
Despite ongoing drama, cost overruns and delays, as well as potential air pollution and other matters; back in February 2013, the FutureGen project was moving forward. While AEP was gone, we did find Ameren Corp (another Soros timely investment) along the way. Currently the FutureGen Industrial Alliance includes Alpha Natural Resources, Joy Global Inc, Peabody Energy, Xstrata Coal Pty Limited, and another CAP corporate donor, Anglo American (up next).
#9) Anglo American (confirmed donor since 2012, listed under energy/utility):
As detailed above, Anglo American, “one of the world’s largest mining companies, is headquartered in the UK and listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges,” is now part of the FutureGen project funded with green energy funds. This past January, the Energy Department “gave the long-planned FutureGen clean-coal project one of the final OKs [and $1 billion] it needs to start building,” announced the Daily Journal.
According to most reports, “If all goes according to plan, the FutureGen project should be fully operational by 2017 and continue commercial operations for at least 20 years.”
#10) Constellation Energy:
Again, this is one of those twelve alternative energy and utility companies that another Soros had invested in shortly having helped craft the 2009 stimulus package that I had alluded to in the beginning of this post (exposed in my March 2013 Green Corruption File). I found that Constellation, an Exelon Company, which is labeled as “the president’s utility,” was another top 2008 Obama donor and big winner of “green” funds. Constellation received a $200 million stimulus grant, of which since they are (were) the parent of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co, I’m assuming the $200 million smart-grid grant (awarded in October 2009) that went to BGE is the one Schweizer had mentioned in his book (unless they got another $200 million for something else).
Moreover, according to the Washington Free Beacon, “Constellation is one of the most prolific providers of green energy to federally owned facilities, sporting contracts with the General Services Administration (GSA) for the U.S. Capitol building, the Federal Reserve, the Smithsonian Institution, the United Nations building in New York, and a host of federal buildings in several states.”
#11) Dow Corning (Silicone Manufacturing/Solar):
In January 2010, two manufacturing tax credits were awarded from the 48C stimulus-created program for solar projects in Michigan. The tax credits included “$141.9 million for Hemlock Semiconductor’s (a joint venture of Dow Corning Corporation and others) expansion of its Michigan polycrystalline silicon operations, and $27.3 million for a monosilane plant Dow Corning is building.”
By 2012, Hemlock Semiconductor announced that they “were postponing three of the four phases of their $1.2 billion plant in Tennessee,” of which the state of Tennessee had committed $245 million to Hemlock –– some of which was stimulus funds. In 2013, the company began laying off hundreds of workers at their Clarksville plant –– even 100 were from their facility in Michigan (March 2013), and 50 more in May 2013. With the future of their plants unknown, “Dow Corning Corp. announced [November 2013] that it is acquiring a bigger stake in Hemlock Semiconductor.” So, here we have two more failing stimulus-funded projects that we need to watch –– and a CAP donor ta boot.
#12) Duke Energy:
As duly noted, Duke Energy –– the nation’s largest electric power company –– has been a client of the Podesta Group since 2009. Jim Rogers, the chairman of Duke Energy, is another Obama donor, who was a major player at the 2012 Democratic convention, as a contributor, creditor, host, and even a speaker.
While Duke Energy is worthy of additional scrutiny, my January 2013, Big Wind Story documented that in 2011, Duke Energy was the recipient of a $22 million grant from the DOE’s ARPA-E advanced energy research program that was funded by the 2009 stimulus package. This was “to design, build and install large-scale batteries to store wind energy at one of its wind farms in Texas.”
Then in May 2013 (previously dated June 2010), Notrees Windpower –– a project of Duke Energy located in Texas –– was handed a stimulus grant from the 1603 Program for $103.6 million. And after a quick glance, I found three 1603 stimulus grants for Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC that were dished out in 2012 and 2013, totaling over $62 million for “hydropower” and “solar electricity.” Duke Energy was also privy to the “smart” money as well –– in 2009, the DOE awarded Duke Energy a $200 million stimulus smart-grid grant to support projects in the Midwest.
#13) Enel Green Power North America:
In July 2012, Enel Green Power, through its US subsidiary Enel Green Power North America Inc., was awarded a grant for approximately $99 million from the 2009-Recovery Act 1603 grant program for the construction of the Caney River wind farm in Kansas. The Caney River and the Rocky Ridge wind farm project includes J. P. Morgan as well as Wells Fargo Wind Holdings LLC and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.
#14) First Solar (Solar Manufacturing and possibly a 2011 donor):
As I’ve alluded to many times in this post and others, First Solar has considerable ties to the Obama administration, starting with the fact that this solar firm was an early investment of Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street giant mentioned above as a CAP corporate donor since 2012 (maybe sooner).
In the mix we find another First Solar investor –– Generation Investment Management (GIM), which as you know, is Al Gore’s sustainability firm tied to many green energy deals. Along the way we find a myriad of Obama billionaire cronies (donors and bundlers) that were also investors in First Solar: Ted Turner, Paul Tudor Jones, Whitney Tilson, David Shaw, as well as the fact George Soros bought First Solar stock sometime in late 2007, until about May 2011, as recorded at GuruFocus.com.
Prior to the $3 billion in DOE stimulus loans, in 2010, First Solar snagged $16.3 million “to expand its manufacturing facility to produce fully completed thin‐film solar modules,” in Ohio, which was part of the 2009-Recovery Act via the DOE / Treasury, Clean Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits (48C). According to reports, “The Ohio Department of Development also lent First Solar $5 million, and the state’s Air Quality Development Authority gave the company an additional $10 million loan” –– marking First Solar’s Ohio facility as taxpayer-funded with over $30 million.
But it gets better: First Solar, in 2011, “also scored $547.7 million in loan guarantees [by the controversial taxpayer funded Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im)] to subsidize the sale of solar panels to solar farms abroad,” as documented by Veronique de Rugy (senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center) in her stunning assessment of DOE’s Loan Program. Ms. de Rugy goes on, “More troubling is the fact that some of the Ex-Im money [$192.9 million] went to a Canadian company named St. Clair Solar, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of First Solar, meaning that the company received a loan to buy solar panels from itself.”
This Ex-Im transaction even hits closer to CAP, starting with Carol Browner –– CAP fellow, former DOE insider, and Al Gore’s pal –– who is sits on (and has for a while) the Advisory Committee of the Export-Import Bank.
Still, the Daily Caller last month, unearthed another alarming connection: “[First Solar] is not only listed as a CAP donor, but has also been listed as a client of the Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG) in 2011 — a lobbying firm founded by former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. ASG is also listed as a CAP donor.”
And, it gets better, as reported The DC
Coincidentally, Export-Import Bank President Fred Hochberg has spoken annually at CAP since 2011 — the same year First Solar got its loan. It is unknown whether the solar company was also a CAP donor at the time.
When Hochberg spoke at the progressive think tank in 2012, he mentioned that Alice Albright was in attendance — Madeleine Albright’s daughter and the Ex-Im’s chief operating officer from 2009 to 2013. Hochberg spoke on June 25 and First Solar was awarded $57.3 million in financing on July 18.
In 2011, Hochberg spoke on June 15 and, just over a week later on June 23, Ex-Im awarded First Solar millions more in financing. That year the taxpayer-backed export bank awarded First Solar nearly $573 million to make their products more competitive abroad and boost their sales — most of that financing came after Hochberg gave his speech. First Solar Vice President Frank de Rosa was likely bundling donations for Obama’s reelection campaign around this time.
Nevertheless, the big money came from the Energy Department: First Solar, an Arizona-based manufacturer of solar panels, in August and September 2011, won three 1705 DOE “junk rated” stimulus loans totaling over $3 billion. Marita Noon and I first covered the “First Solar Swindler” in the summer of 2012, which began by documenting how seven solar companies received fast-tracked approval by the Department of the Interior (DOI) to lease federal lands in a no-bid process:
Abengoa Solar, BrightSource Energy, First Solar, Nevada Geothermal Power, NextEra Energy Resources, Ormat Nevada, and SolarReserve.
Since then, we’ve tracked First Solar’s woes, which began since the finalization of these three large DOE loan guarantees –– projects, by the way, that were sold to more Obama “energy” cronies just after the taxpayer funds were approved. However, First Solar remained involved in all of them.
Exelon (Antelope Valley Solar Ranch): $646 million stimulus loan
In September 2011, the same day that the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch, located in California, received a DOE loan guarantee for $646 million, Exelon Corp. purchased it. First Solar, which developed the project, is still actively involved. The AVSR1 project, by the way, is expected to create 350 constructions jobs and 20 permanent jobs.
The Chicago-based Exelon Corp, a big Obama donor and labeled as “The President’s Utility,” by itself is a huge piece of the Green Corruption scandal, which I have alluded to in the past and a another piece of the scandal in the works.
NextEra Energy Resources, LLC (Desert Sunlight): $1.46 billion stimulus loan
The California Desert Sunlight, in September 2011 –– again the same day that this project received $1.46 billion offer for a partial loan guarantee from the DOE –– was sold to NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, the competitive energy subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc. and GE Energy Financial Services. Yet, the September announcement also stated, “First Solar will continue to build and subsequently operate and maintain the project under separate agreements.” Both CEO’s Jeffrey Immlet and Lewis Hay were featured in my “Green Five: Spreading the Wealth to Obama’s Ultra-Rich Jobs Council Members” series.
According to the DOE, Desert Sunlight, which is expected to create 550 construction jobs and 15 permanent jobs for the plant’s operation, “will deploy commercially available First Solar Series 3 modules and is projected to achieve commercial operation by February 28, 2015.”
NRG Solar, LLC (Agua Caliente): $967 million stimulus loan
In August 2011, as the $967 million DOE loan guarantee for the Agua Caliente, located in Arizona, was announced, it was purchased from First Solar by NRG Solar, LLC, a subsidiary of NRG Energy. At that time it was noted that the First Solar will be providing the solar panels for this project, and that the plant, when completed, would supply power to PG&E.
According to the DOE, the Agua Caliente project –– considered another jobs creator with an expected 400 construction jobs and 10 permanent jobs –– “currently generates enough energy to power 49,600 households annually.”
Keep in mind that documented much earlier was Steve Spinner –– the two-time Obama bundler DOE advisor ( April 2009 to September 2010) turned CAP fellow (September 2010 to October 2011) –– and his part in the First Solar deal making, which included advocacy for the at least the Antelope Valley project. Nevertheless, there are additional CAP players here, starting with what The Nation revealed in May 2013:
José Villarreal — a consultant at the power- house law and lobbying firm Akin Gump, who ‘provides strategic counseling on a range of legal and policy issues’ for corporations — was on First Solar’s board until April 2012 while also sitting on the board of CAP, where he remains a member, according to the group’s latest tax filing.
#15) First Wind
In my January 2013 Big Wind Story –– also a client of the top DC lobbyists McBee Strategic Consulting –– I exposed a “twister of sweetheart deals” found in the Department of Energy’s junk bond portfolio, which included four risky wind projects. One of those was Kahuku Wind Power, LLC, a project of First Wind in Kahuku Oahu, HI, which in July 2010, was granted a $117 million DOE stimulus loan, estimated to create a whopping 200 jobs. And then on February 3, 2012 this same project received a 1603 grant for over $35 million [docket #2594 to $35,148,839].
Sadly, in August 2012 a fire that destroyed First Wind’s battery storage facility (built by Xtreme Power) and sent toxic fumes into the air, which left ratepayers in the dark over costs and safety. And, it was reported on January 23, 2014 that “Xtreme Power ran out of cash and filed for bankruptcy,” –– NOTE: Xtreme Power built the energy storage system for Duke Energy’s Notrees wind energy farm in Texas, another winner of stimulus funds, listed above.
The First Wind plan was to secure taxpayer money and then go public. Now they achieved their first objective with the help of U.S. taxpayers, because and as of July 2012, First Wind’s projects have also received over $452 million in grants through the stimulus’ 1603 Program.
- First Wind’s Stetson Wind Farm in Maine –– $40,441,471
- Cohocton Wind Farm in New York, $52,352,334
- Dutch Hill Wind Farm In New York, $22,296,494
- Milford Wind Corridor Phase I In Utah; $120,147,809
- Milford Wind Corridor Phase II In Utah, $80,436,803
- Rollins Wind Farm In Maine; $53,246,347
- Sheffield Wind Farm In Vermont, $35,914,864
- Kahuku Wind Farm In Hawaii, $35,148,839
- Steel Winds II Wind Farm In New York, $12,778,75
However, in November 2010, Bloomberg announced, “First Wind Holdings Inc., the operator of wind-energy projects backed by D.E. Shaw & Co. and Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, said it withdrew its initial public offering because of unfavorable market conditions” that’s code for “weak demand.”
Speaking of IPO’s…
Within the House Oversight leaked emails that were unleashed late October 2012, more specifically the 350+ page Appendix II (“2012 Internal DOE Email Dump”), we find that just months prior to the final approval of the Kahuka loan there was intense interaction within the DOE regarding this transaction…
“Someone is pressing Jonathan [Jonathan Silver is the former Executive Director of the Loan Program Office] who is now pressing hard on the everyone as the sponsor has an IPO in the works.”
This and more can be found in my Big Wind Story, including a the fact the first-rate, high-powered political ties to First Wind are vast, starting with D.E. Shaw & Co, a New York-based investment firm that is a backer of First Wind Holdings Inc. (also an investor in First Solar). This was noted when I profiled Larry Summers from CAP –– adding that, according to Peter Schweizer, “Larry Summers was part owner of First Wind.”
The founder of the hedge fund DE Shaw & Co., David Shaw, is a two-time Obama bundler, who employed Larry Summers before heading to the Obama White House, as the top economic advisor. It turns out that in 2011, according to BusinessInsider.com, Shaw, a computer scientist and computational biochemist, was “appointed by Obama to serve on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.”
As revealed by Peter Schweizer, “another 42 percent of First Wind is owned by Madison Dearborn Partners, an investment firm with close ties [and friend of] to then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. The founder of the firm, David Canning, had been a bundler for George W. Bush. But he switched sides in 2008 and gave heavily to Obama. Madison Dearborn gave more to Emanuel’s congressional campaigns than did any other business.”
While the GOP found that “Julia Bovey, First Wind’s Director of External Affairs, was formerly Director of External Affairs for Obama’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (June 2009 to June 2010),” there is much bigger fish here. All government backed green comes with a slew of lobbyists, and First Wind is no different –– enter in Larry Rasky’s Lobbying Firm with ties to the top.
Larry Rasky, “a longtime confidant and campaign strategist” of Vice President Joe Biden, was also a 2012 Obama bundler, and since Obama took office, “Rasky has visited the White House at least 21 Times,” half of which were during the course of the DOE loan review process (Data.gov, Accessed 7/18/12). Moreover, we know that in 2009, about the time the 2009-Recovery Act passed, First Wind retained lobbyists Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications as well as Brownstein, Hyatt et al, who is primarily a Democrat donor, with some Republicans in the mix –– and as of 2012, maintains the work of Rasky. .
#16) General Motors (donor in 2011)
As I divulged at the beginning of this post, General Motors (GM) –– a CAP donor in 2011 –– was a client of the Podesta Group from 2010 until 2012. Even after the taxpayers bailed out General Motors in 2009 (over $80 billion –– $17.5 billion under Bush and $63.4 billion from Obama), of which we lost at least $14 billion, green energy taxpayer money continues to subsidize the failed auto maker. This time, though, was for GM’s hybrid electric vehicle the Chevy Volt –– a car that’s not doing very well.
What I’ve tracked so far is that starting in 2009 until recently, GM has bagged hundreds of millions of stimulus dollars ( $471.6 million to be exact) to support the Chevy Volt as well as green car components, of which I’ll share the details when I dissect the CAP corporate donors.
According to the January 25, 2012 House Oversight Report…
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) appropriated $2.4 billion for domestic production of batteries and components for electric cars. Of this, $1.5 billion in grants were directed toward manufacturing the batteries, while the remaining $900 million went to building new facilities or improving existing facilities to produce electric drive components. This included $151.4 million to Michigan-based Compact Power, Inc., for production of lithium-ion polymer battery cells for the GM Volt; $105.9 million directly to GM for production of high-volume battery packs for the Volt; $105 million to GM to construct facilities for electric drive systems; and $89.3 million to Delphi Automotive Systems, a former division of GM, to expand manufacturing facilities for electric drive power components.
Also, “buyers of the Volt will receive a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 of per vehicle” as well as state tax credits.
Then, lo and behold, on December 12, 2013, Think Progress –– CAP’s propaganda machine –– announced, “Ford Motor Company and General Motors Company will receive a combined $50 million to support their respective manufacturing facilities that produce electric cars.” This was from the stimulus-created 48C Program, of which GM’s share was $20 million for “its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant where the company manufactures Extended Range Electric Vehicles— Chevrolet Volts and the Cadillac ELR electric luxury coupe — along with internal combustion cars.”
#17) Xcel Energy:
What’s interesting is that Xcel Energy was in the loop with Cogentrix Energy, a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, which in September 2011, snagged a $90.6 million DOE stimulus loan for the Alamosa Solar Generating Project. Then on July 16, 2012, Cogentrix bagged a $34.6 million stimulus grant (free taxpayer money) from the 1603 Grant Program –– I’m assuming this is for the same project.
What’s interesting (see graph with Goldman Sachs stimulus loans) is that the partners involved in this project included utility Xcel Energy (XEL), which signed a 20-year contract to buy enough CPV power to supply electricity to 6,500 homes; and Amonix, the California-based company that will supply the CPV panels –– Amonix (complete with Obama buddies) was subsidized with $29.6 million of taxpayer money before it went bankrupt in July 18, 2012. What a scam…
Also, according to MinnPost.com, in 2010, Minnesota’s Senator Al Franken visited Mulroy’s Body Shop “to highlight the use of federal stimulus funds in creating jobs and boosting the alternative energy economy.” It turns out that the owner had 174 solar panels installed on the roof of his Nicollet Avenue body shop in South Minneapolis. And that “Minneapolis-based Solarflow Energy installed the system and is leasing the equipment to Mulroy’s under contract with Xcel Energy. The lease agreement also includes installation, maintenance and support. The federal stimulus funds deliver a grant-in-lieu of a 30 percent tax credit on the value of the installation to Solarflow.” Solarflow start-up was partially funded through an Xcel Energy Renewable Development Fund grant of $1.5 million.
While Xcel was omitted from the $3.4 billion in stimulus smart-grid grants in 2009, for their highly touted $100 million “Smart Grid City” project in Boulder, Colorado did snag about $24.2 million in federal economic stimulus money for “Smart Grid” updates to the state’s power grid and customer meters. Still, Xcel Energy is slapping ratepayers with the bill: “In 2010, Xcel found itself asking Colorado regulators for permission to recoup $44.5 million in rate increases, but the Colorado Public Utilities Commission only gave it $27.9 million,” as documented by GreenTechMedia in 2012. And it seems that while they were seeking another $16.6 million in 2012 for their Smart Grid City mess, “The Colorado Public Utility Commission (recently) denied Xcel’s request to recover a big chunk of that $45 million,” reported Smart Grid News in August 2013.
What’s clear is that spending millions to elect the right president, while giving big money to other high-ranking politicians, pays big time. This game is played by also hiring high-powered lobbyists, while employing think tanks and organizations that have significant clout. Sadly, this is how crony capitalism works –– more like corporate welfare, because this game is rigged for the ultra rich and huge corporations, screwing the taxpayer all the way to the bank. In the meantime, career politicians continue in power; thus fueling the never-ending corrupt cycle of political payback.
Along the way, what counts is either a position or connection (friends and family) inside the White House or a particular government department. It’s all about “access and influence” –– thus those that play the game well are guaranteed millions, if not billions, of taxpayer money. It’s not for the feeble minded, the regular law-abiding citizen, nor the small business worthy of American taxpayer support.
However, Americans have the power to vote the bums out!
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