Did the White House use “green loans” to favor fundraisers?

posted at 11:36 am on March 30, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Normally, the reward for large-scale fundraising in winning presidential campaigns is an ambassadorship or a spot on an advisory panel, but Barack Obama came to Washington on a promise to change “business as usual.”  And he has, according to ABC News and the Center for Public Integrity.  Not only did rainmaker Steve Westly get a spot on an advisory committee on energy, his business got hundreds of millions in loans from the Obama administration’s green-energy push, announced by none other than Obama himself:

When the White House announced the federal government would loan $465 million to Tesla, a California start-up company with plans to develop an all-electric sedan, President Obama called it an “historic opportunity to ensure that the next generation of fuel-efficient cars and trucks are made in America.”

The loan also represented a lucrative opportunity for Steve Westly, a major investor in the car company who had raised more than $500,000 for the president’s campaign.

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy lent more than half a billion dollars to companies backed by Westly’s California venture capital firm. In 2010, the White House tapped Westly for a seat on a special energy advisory panel that gives him regular access to Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Westly boasts on his website that his firm is “uniquely positioned” to take advantage of the Obama administration’s interest in green energy.

Nor was Westly an isolated case.  John Doerr and George Kaiser actually got more than Westly in green loans, and between the three received more than $1.5 billion.  Doerr also got an advisory panel position as well:

The department lent $528 million to Fisker Automotive, whose electric car is being financed by a venture capital firm run by billionaire Obama supporter John Doerr — a firm that touts former Vice President Al Gore as a board member. And, a $535 million federal loan guarantee was used to help a California solar cell company whose major investors include George Kaiser, an Oklahoma billionaire who raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for Obama during the 2008 election.

CPI revisits the curious case of Solyndra as well, another half-billion-dollar bust in which the new Congress has taken an interest:

Doerr and Kleiner Perkins executives have contributed more than $1 million to federal political causes and campaigns over the last two decades, primarily supporting Democrats, and Doerr serves on Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Doerr did not respond to multiple interview requests about his dinner with Obama.

Another beneficiary of Energy Department aid is Solyndra Inc., a California solar power firm whose financial backers include Oklahoma oil billionaire George Kaiser, a bundler who raised at least $50,000 for the president’s campaign in 2008. Solyndra, a recipient of a $535 million 2009 loan guarantee to help create jobs, laid off some 180 temporary and fulltime workers the following year, prompting questions in Congress over whether its new manufacturing plant will spur the 1,000 fulltime U.S. jobs the company promised.

Nor are these the only ways in which Westly and Doerr were able to cash in their fundraising for a perch at the government trough:

Obama’s focus on environmentally promising technologies while gaining support from clean tech titans comes at a time when the Energy Department’s handling of government largesse is gaining scrutiny. The Government Accountability Office, the investigatory arm of Congress, raised concerns in a report last year about favoritism in the awarding of some loan guarantees. The Energy Department’s inspector general told Congress this month that some stimulus contracts may have been steered to “friends and family.”

A GAO report to be released this week is expected to focus on a specific automotive loan program that benefited five companies, including two supported by the Westly and Doerr venture firms.

The GAO warned the Democratic Congress of potential abuse and cronyism at the White House?  What exactly did Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid do to address it?  Oh, right — they fought to give even more blank checks to the White House, blank checks that appear to have been used to pay off well-connected donors.

Looks like business as usual squared at 1600 Hopenchange Avenue.  It also looks like a great argument for an end to all subsidy programs at the federal level.


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Obama: “Let me be clear opaque…..”

portlandon on March 30, 2011 at 11:38 AM

The joke that is the democrats ethics tells itself.

WitchDoctor on March 30, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Isn’t Issa supposed to be investigating crap like this?

What the hell is he doing anyway, he should have filled a prison by now, with the ridiculous lawlessness exhibited by the Soetoro regime.

Rebar on March 30, 2011 at 11:43 AM

More fodder for the impeachment trial that’s not gonna happen.

The disgusting level of corruption, cronyism, incompetence and hatred for America displayed by the Osama Obama regime is only matched by the unwillingness of Congress and so-called pundits to confront the evil that is doing so much damage to the nation.

But it gives the squishy “conservatives” something to tut-tut about, doesn’t it? I guess that’s all that matters.

MrScribbler on March 30, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Any lefty troll going to defend this?

And if you say “Haliburton” you have lost.

Barack Obama came to Washington on a promise to change “business as usual.”

Defend it, lefties.

rbj on March 30, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Obama’s turning out to be the biggest crook ever to occupy the White House.

Thanks again, 52%ers, for electing this corrupt fool.

AZCoyote on March 30, 2011 at 11:46 AM

And who gets screwed? Everyone else. Because in order to make this green technology even remotely competitive in the free market, Obama and the Dems have to make oil as unpalatable as possible. Which is in no small part why we’re paying around 4+ bucks a gallon right now and likely for the foreseeable future.

Doughboy on March 30, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Hey! It’s “the Chicago way”.

GarandFan on March 30, 2011 at 11:51 AM

The Present President is talking about oil now —- say’s we are running out … Ingenuity is our great weapon for fuel — and Drill baby Drill is just a slogan ..

wheels on March 30, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Is this madness ever going to end? This is OUR money we’re talking about!

While I’m all for energy alternatives, I don’t believe shutting down oil is going to make it happen any faster. Drill now, and research alternatives. But not on the tax payers dime.

ENOUGH!!!!!!!!

Oh…and every person involved in this should be seeing the inside of a prison cell as far as I’m concerned.

capejasmine on March 30, 2011 at 11:54 AM

The Present President is talking about oil now —- say’s we are running out … Ingenuity is our great weapon for fuel — and Drill baby Drill is just a slogan ..

wheels on March 30, 2011 at 11:52 AM

We’re running out because we’re not tapping our own resources. Is this man certifiable? Not only is he telling an easily debunked lie. But he’s offering up the biggest softball imaginable to Sarah Palin. If you make energy a central theme for 2012, she’s gonna steamroll the guy.

Doughboy on March 30, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Isn’t Issa supposed to be investigating crap like this?

What the hell is he doing anyway, he should have filled a prison by now, with the ridiculous lawlessness exhibited by the Soetoro regime.

Rebar on March 30, 2011 at 11:43 AM

There are probably way to many things to investigate.. It would probably take hundreds of people to investigate everything the O admin has done.. It is so disheartening to see the fraud, that it’s Dem’s as usual and no one on their side cares.

reshas1 on March 30, 2011 at 12:02 PM

MSM:

*** crickets ***

pain train on March 30, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Oh NO! Crook County politics from the WH? Say it ain’t so!

Eren on March 30, 2011 at 12:13 PM

There will be no impeachment. Impeachment requires real crimes, not shady corrupt deals that are a part of politics. Little Bammie will take it to the nth degree of course, as Alinsky instructs. He did the same with his ‘small campaign donations’ scam and the phone banks in ‘palestine’.

If we could impeach him for incompetence, that would already have been done.

slickwillie2001 on March 30, 2011 at 12:14 PM

How far will the press allow this nation to sink into the banana republic sink hole?

There was time when a story just like this would be headline news.

Speakup on March 30, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Oh, course. I just wish I could get some of this money that is being doled out all the time.

Blake on March 30, 2011 at 12:17 PM

There are probably way to many things to investigate.. It would probably take hundreds of people to investigate everything the O admin has done.. It is so disheartening to see the fraud, that it’s Dem’s as usual and no one on their side cares.

reshas1 on March 30, 2011 at 12:02 PM

I don’t buy that.

There is so much low hanging fruit to pluck, that he could get quick convictions on, the fact that there isn’t even one, means he’s deliberately holding back.

I think the Soetoro regime has gotten to Issa.

Rebar on March 30, 2011 at 12:20 PM

slickwillie2001 on March 30, 2011 at 12:14 PM

The Constitutional bar for impeachment is set at “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Osama Obama qualifies, if not on the first count — which is an odd make-of-it-what-you-will statement — at least on the second.

He has participated in (or orchestrated) plenty of misdemeanors, from campaign-finance violations to obstruction of justice (via Holder, et al). As a “co-conspirator,” the law sees him equally culpable with those who actually did the dirty work.

Yes, you can parse that any way you want, but Bubba Clinton was impeached for “perjury,” and one can safely say the Mohammedan Mouthpiece equals, if not surpasses, President Slick Willie on that score.

IMO, Congress simply doesn’t have the Dangling Courage Units to put the Traitor-in-Chief in the dock for crimes and subversive activities that would not have been tolerated from any other president.

It takes far less energy to simply look the other way and focus on the “optics” than to do what is right. Neither Congress nor the so-called conservatives have the guts to do what’s right, and that’s sad for our country.

MrScribbler on March 30, 2011 at 12:23 PM

I’m ready to shut down federal level subsidy programs

Just do it!

cmsinaz on March 30, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Speakup, if there is an R next to the name, 24/7 lsm outrage….now?, meh….gotta get dear leader te elected doncha know

cmsinaz on March 30, 2011 at 12:27 PM

The same people who said Bush wanted high gas prices so his oil buddies could get rich consider this nothing more than a coincidence.

John Deaux on March 30, 2011 at 12:30 PM

I don’t know why anyone would expect anything different from a graduate of the Chicago school of sleazy politics. It’s like the Clinton admin on steroids.

JimK on March 30, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Any lefty troll going to defend this?

And if you say “Haliburton” you have lost.

Barack Obama came to Washington on a promise to change “business as usual.”

Defend it, lefties.

rbj on March 30, 2011 at 11:46 AM

The Left can’t use Halliburton as a punching bag any more, ever since George Soros bought $62 million worth of the company.

Del Dolemonte on March 30, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Dirty, crooked low life.

petefrt on March 30, 2011 at 1:04 PM

HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY…………CHECK

AUTO INDUSTRY………………CHECK

ENERGY INDUSTRY…………….CHECK

Busy two years remaining for the American Wrecking Ball.

PappyD61 on March 30, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Green Politics: the color of money.

That is all you need to know about ‘environmentalism’ and the crony and corrupt politics that go with it.

ajacksonian on March 30, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Amazingly brazen. Just fling this $hit right out in the open, flaunt it.
Holy crap this admin stinks like $hit more & more everyday.
I didn’t think that smell could get stronger.
I was mistaken.

Badger40 on March 30, 2011 at 2:42 PM

That is all you need to know about ‘environmentalism’ and the crony and corrupt politics that go with it.

ajacksonian on March 30, 2011 at 2:00 PM

This little diddy only scratches the surface a little.

Why doesn’t anyone DO anything?

Badger40 on March 30, 2011 at 2:43 PM

Looks like business as usual squared at 1600 Hopenchange Avenue. It also looks like a great argument for an end to all subsidy programs at the federal level.

Loans aren’t exactly the same thing as subsidies, but it is a highly politicized process. In its favor, the Energy Department also gives loans to companies who want to build Nuclear power plants – a prohibitively expensive enterprise without loans. Here’s a list of 2010 loans which included $8.33 billion to a Georgia nuke plant (along with b.s. claims about jobs created or saved and stats about CO2 emissions nobody should care about). Obama’s energy department also denied loans which seem worthy.

I don’t know what the answer is, beyond exposing the cronyism which won’t make a ripple in the news – except to put a Republican in the W.H. who won’t waste money on green programs which probably won’t stand the test of time.

Buy Danish on March 30, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Badger40 on March 30, 2011 at 2:43 PM

Write your congresscritters.

Help with the local Tea Party.

Make sure questions get asked about ‘Green Policy’ at the local level WRT local government policy, particularly school curricula.

Buy old fashioned things made the old fashioned way. Junk yards and scrap yards are your friends, and need your custom.

And whenever anyone tells you that they are doing something ‘for the environment’ ask them how much they are being paid off to do it: that goes for tax breaks, local incentives and federal kickbacks on products. If someone is doing something ‘green’ for a tax break, ask them how much it really costs to get that ‘benefit’. If that doesn’t work, you can smile, politely, and say ‘Thank you for the information, Mark’.

The Mark is the last one to realize that there is a scam going on. If the Marks catch on they would stop being Rubes and start looking for the scammers. All Marks are Rubes, but not all Rubes are Marks as some Rubes are actually helping to run the scam.

This approach has finally gotten through to relatives I LIKE on things like SSA, Medicare, Medicaid, and now ‘Green’ kickbacks and bribes.

Plus, if you got any cash laying around, see if you can start a suit against those getting government bribes at the highest levels via ‘Green’ initiatives. Like GE. That place needs a RICO investigation against it.

Every bit helps. Just talk openly about the scam and act surprised when anyone (and I do mean ANYONE) is clueless and actually believes the scam. Our part is to stay informed, keep friends and family informed, work together with our neighbors and resist the corruption at the lowest level so the highest can be kept to OUR standards, not THEIRS. That means not giving in to easy corruption.

Its a hard way to live.

Bur really worth it as the Marks realize what the scam is… and that they are being taken.

ajacksonian on March 30, 2011 at 3:07 PM

The GAO warned the Democratic Congress of potential abuse and cronyism at the White House? What exactly did Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid do to address it?

They said they were gonna drain the swamp, we just assumed it would be drained OUT, when they really meant drained IN.

tinkerthinker on March 30, 2011 at 3:12 PM

And this is the same damn bunch of moneybags VCs who so lavishly funded the campaign against Prop 23 (which would have temporarily shelved the AB32 climate fraud) in the last election.

JEM on March 30, 2011 at 3:46 PM

Look, the guy isn’t stupid enough to really think that “green” energy and bio fuels (which are not green) can replace fossil fuels, so he’s obviously following this path for other reasons.

SukieTawdry on March 30, 2011 at 7:10 PM