Surprise! Another Obama bundler benefits from “green-tech” subsidies

posted at 4:05 pm on October 28, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Well, surprise isn’t really the correct word in this case.  A better phrase would be, “To no one’s great shock …”  On the heels of the Solyndra fiasco and the Fisker grant that created jobs in Finland, the Washington Post discovers that a “major fundraiser” for Barack Obama — and a member of his 2008 campaign team — ended up benefiting from $50 million in taxpayer-backed green-tech loans:

An investment firm whose vice chairman has been an adviser and fundraiser for President Obama saw one of its portfolio companies win approval this year for $50 million in loans from the administration’s clean-energy loan program.

Washington-based Perseus says its affiliation with James A. Johnson, a major fundraiser for Obama’s campaign, played no role in persuading the Energy Department to award the loan to Vehicle Production Group, a Miami start-up that is manufacturing wheelchair-accessible cars and taxis.

Johnson wasn’t just some faceless contributor to Obama’s campaign, either.  As Hot Air readers might recall, Johnson played a major role in the campaign:

Johnson headed Obama’s vice presidential selection committee in 2008 and is the former chairman of housing mortgage giant Fannie Mae. He was listed as a campaign fundraising bundler for Obama in the 2008 race, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and committed to raising $200,000 to $500,000 for the upcoming presidential race. …

Johnson had supported Obama as a young senator and, later, was briefly part of a three-member team leading his vice presidential search committee. But Johnson resigned in June 2008 amid revelations that he had received $7 million in deeply discounted mortgage loans from the chief executive of Countrywide, a company that had helped fuel the rise of subprime home mortgages. He said the controversy was a distraction for Obama’s campaign.

Johnson has personally donated $55,400 to Obama’s two presidential campaigns, federal donation records show, including a $35,800 check listed on Aug. 29 to Obama’s reelection effort. Pearl donated $1,500 to Obama’s campaign in 2008.

Perseus denies that Johnson had anything to do with its loan, but then again, George Kaiser denied he had anything to do with getting Solyndra its loan, too.  How coincidental would it be that two men who raise money for Obama also managed to make money from Obama through subsidies at the Department of Energy?

On the other hand, Jonathan Alter argues that Obama’s tenure has been remarkably … scandal-free:

President Barack Obama goes into the 2012 with a weak economy that may doom his reelection. But he has one asset that hasn’t received much attention: He’s honest. …

Although it’s possible that the Solyndra LLC story will become a classic feeding frenzy, don’t bet on it. Providing $535 million in loan guarantees to a solar-panel maker that goes bankrupt was dumb, but so far not criminal or even unethical on the part of the administration. These kinds of stories are unlikely to derail Obama in 2012. If he loses, it will be because of the economy — period.

Even so, the president’s Teflon is intriguing. How did we end up in such a scandal-less state?

Perhaps Alter is thinking in terms of personal scandal.  It’s true that Obama has done nothing to dent his reputation as a good family man while President, but it’s equally true that only one President in the past nine have had a personal-scandal problem while in the White House.  In fact, since JFK’s peccadilloes came to light years after his death, one might have to go all the way back to Harding for any hint of personal scandal in the Oval Office.  Saying that one has been able to clear the Bill Clinton bar is practically the definition of damning with faint praise.

However, Obama’s administration has hit at least two major scandals, and yes, Solyndra is one of them.  Despite ABC’s excellent reporting on the story, Alter never even mentions George Kaiser or his fundraising on Obama’s behalf, or the curious and almost certainly illegal DoE decision to subordinate taxpayers in Kaiser’s favor, guaranteeing a total loss for taxpayers in the bankruptcy.  Alter also conveniently ignores Operation Fast and Furious, which resulted in a dead Border Patrol agent and hundreds of victims in Mexico, a scandal that already has connections to the White House.  In fact, his essay never mentions guns, the ATF, or anything connected to OF&F.

It’s easy to declare a politician scandal free when refusing to pay attention.  Unfortunately for Obama, actual news outlets have begun looking at the connections between Obama’s green-tech subsidies and political cronies, and the media is starting to take a closer look at OF&F as well.

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Why isn’t the Occupied With Socialism mob upset about these developments?

Chip on October 28, 2011 at 4:08 PM

With the deficit so high this is just a drop in the bucket no big deal. That is the meme.

tomas on October 28, 2011 at 4:08 PM

The Obama administration conducts overt cronyism.

DrStock on October 28, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Johnson headed Obama’s vice presidential selection committee in 2008

And look how that turned out: Bite Me.

Dingbat63 on October 28, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Surprise! Another Obama bundler benefits from “green-tech” subsidies
Ed Morrisey

C’mon Ed, that’s just false advertising.

Ain’t nuthin’ surprising ’bout that.

listens2glenn on October 28, 2011 at 4:12 PM

“… and the media is starting to take a closer look at OF&F as well.”

Guess who doesn’t like answering questions…?

Seven Percent Solution on October 28, 2011 at 4:13 PM

But don’t worry, now the AP is reporting that:

“White House to review Energy Department loans”

rotflmao!

You mean they will now review the loans, just weeks after rushing billions of additional loans out the door, to meet the sept 30th deadline?

#WeCantWait for Jan 20, 2013!

shanimal on October 28, 2011 at 4:14 PM

How many McCain bundlers have received government backed loans from the Obama Administration?

BKeyser on October 28, 2011 at 4:15 PM

actual news outlets have begun looking at the connections

You mean Current TV is on it?

BacaDog on October 28, 2011 at 4:16 PM

You mean this James A. Johnson…?

Seven Percent Solution on October 28, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Occupy Big Green!

BobMbx on October 28, 2011 at 4:19 PM

It’s easy to declare a politician scandal free when refusing to pay attention.

Funny, that’s how they declared him qualified as well.

John Deaux on October 28, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Seven Percent Solution on October 28, 2011 at 4:18 PM

That’s the one.

Johnson, Franklin Raines and Barney Frank should all be sharing a cell together.

BacaDog on October 28, 2011 at 4:21 PM

it’s almost like selling missiles to islamic radicals to fund latin american fascists.

sesquipedalian on October 28, 2011 at 4:21 PM

We read earlier this week that the justice department filed a brief in support of a lawsuit intended to require all new New York taxi-cabs to be built to accommodate wheel chairs, even though there is no demand for that product. Looks like this bundler for Obama would do very well with such a requirement.

GaltBlvnAtty on October 28, 2011 at 4:22 PM

What is it about this particular corrupt piece of garbage that he continues to be allowed to rape society for millions in ill gotten gains?

Why isn’t he in jail for what he did at Fannie/Freddie, to literally steal tens of millions from taxpayers by manipulating earnings, let alone start the dominoes of the whole housing mess, to fall?

This guy is to finance, what Jamie Gorelick is to national security.

MNHawk on October 28, 2011 at 4:24 PM

Why isn’t the Occupied With Socialism mob upset about these developments?

Chip on October 28, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Because, I’m guessing, a majority of them are simply drones, bought and paid for by ACORN, Soros, and other insidious , far left, commie groups that are working toward the demise of the U.S. Govt.

The outrage of this should be from everyone, and I don’t give a rats arse whose side does this crap, it should be criminal. Stealing from tax payers should be a crime and prison time should be the punishment!!!

capejasmine on October 28, 2011 at 4:24 PM

it’s almost like selling missiles to islamic radicals to fund latin american fascists.

sesquipedalian on October 28, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Can’t argue with that… you know, except the part where we’re talking about now and not 25 freaking years ago. But, I guess if a Republican President made a mistake back then, today any dem President should get a pass, seems moral.

WitchDoctor on October 28, 2011 at 4:26 PM

it’s almost like selling missiles to islamic radicals to fund latin american fascists.

sesquipedalian on October 28, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Well, that certainly does it. You just proved…er…what did you just prove? That a corrupt piece of garbage, is exactly what it takes, to adequately represent trash like yourself?

MNHawk on October 28, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Um, James Johnson was implicated by Gretchen Morgensen in “Reckless Endangerment” as one of the key figures responsible for the 2008 financial collapse. He is much more than a big Obama supporter. I’m surprised Ed didn’t know or catch that. The WSJ did a big article on it a few weeks back.

DaydreamBeliever on October 28, 2011 at 4:37 PM

it’s almost like selling missiles to islamic radicals to fund latin american fascists.

sesquipedalian on October 28, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Its almost like you have critical thinking skills.

Almost.

Midas on October 28, 2011 at 4:37 PM

Johnson, Franklin Raines and Barney Frank should all be sharing a cell together.

BacaDog on October 28, 2011 at 4:21 PM

The political elite ruling class like their little perks…

… don’t they?

I remember learning school when I was a little boy over forty years ago that what makes the United States special is that no one is above the law…

… That even the President has to follow the same rules and laws that everyone else has to or he has to pay the price.

I guess they don’t teach that anymore… :(

Seven Percent Solution on October 28, 2011 at 4:37 PM

I don’t care. Obama is awesome.

BobMbx on October 28, 2011 at 4:41 PM

This guy is to finance, what Jamie Gorelick is to national security.

MNHawk on October 28, 2011 at 4:24 PM

“Though she had no training or experience in finance, Gorelick was appointed the Vice Chairman of Fannie Mae and served in the role from 1997 to 2003. During that six-year period, she earned over $26 million.”

Seven Percent Solution on October 28, 2011 at 4:42 PM

it’s almost like selling missiles to islamic radicals to fund latin american fascists.
sesquipedalian on October 28, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Someday, we have got to have a open debate on this blogsite about the definition of ‘Facism.’

The word is thrown around so flippantly, that it’s true meaning has become ‘gray.’.

listens2glenn on October 28, 2011 at 4:42 PM

it’s almost like selling missiles to islamic radicals to fund latin american fascists.

sesquipedalian on October 28, 2011 at 4:21 PM
Can’t argue with that… you know, except the part where we’re talking about now and not 25 freaking years ago. But, I guess if a Republican President made a mistake back then, today any dem President should get a pass, seems moral.

WitchDoctor on October 28, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Hell, it’s not even that. Even leaving aside the ever-present moral equivalency play our daft leftists colleagues are so fond of, the fundamentals of each situation are dramatically different.

On the one hand there’s a national security issue that may have been questionable – on the other hand is yet another situation that involves close-linked cronies of the President overtly getting graft/payback from the public coffers. And don’t think for a minute that some of that money isn’t making its way from there, laundered back into Obama’s campaign warchest.

Midas on October 28, 2011 at 4:43 PM

“Though she had no training or experience in finance, Gorelick was appointed the Vice Chairman of Fannie Mae and served in the role from 1997 to 2003. During that six-year period, she earned over $26 million.”

Seven Percent Solution on October 28, 2011 at 4:42 PM

I can’t even attempt a smart@$$ed comeback to that. :-(

MNHawk on October 28, 2011 at 4:44 PM

This guy is to finance, what Jamie Gorelick is to national security.

MNHawk on October 28, 2011 at 4:24 PM

Yes, isn’t it interesting how the same names always seem to pop up whenever there is crooked dealing being discussed? Johnson made off with something in the neighborhood of $90 million while he was heading up the Democratic pig trough known as Fannie Mae (where Gorelick also showed up to slop up millions of taxpayer dollars), and here he is, ripping off taxpayers yet again.

WTF is wrong with our legal system that these crooks can rob us blind over and over again, and never be held accountable?!???

AZCoyote on October 28, 2011 at 4:45 PM

You just proved…er…what did you just prove?

MNHawk on October 28, 2011 at 4:33 PM

i’m giving you perspective. iran contra was an actual scandal, these are stories that conservatives desperately want, and fail, to manufacture into scandals.

remember gerald walpin, whose firing was relentlessly hyped here in hopes of implicating the administration in some kind of wrongdoing? so much fail.

sesquipedalian on October 28, 2011 at 4:46 PM

sesquipedalian on October 28, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Yes, boy. You sure showed Gerald Walpin. Proud of yourself? Proud of the trash that is today’s left, crapping over career civil servants for just doing their jobs?

Like I said, it takes corrupt trash to represent the sesquipedalians of the world, which is why in the end, the Jim Johnsons walk, no matter how much they steal from taxpayers.

You fail, boy. You failed the instant you realized how much it sucked, to show pride in your own beliefs and world view, and could only lob red-herrings.

MNHawk on October 28, 2011 at 4:55 PM

sesquipedalian on October 28, 2011 at 4:46 PM

You’re forgetting one of El Presidente Downgrade’s other scandals – Walkergate.

But since you’ve got your head in yo…. In the past (25 years worth) I can see why you would have forgotten it, that and the fact that Obama has so many scandal coming on Fast and Furious, it hard to keep track of them.

Chip on October 28, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Seven Percent Solution on October 28, 2011 at 4:42 PM

I can’t even attempt a smart@$$ed comeback to that. :-(
MNHawk on October 28, 2011 at 4:44 PM

I didn’t know what became of Gorelick, after she left the White House.
And I sure didn’t know she collected that kind of salary.

Now I’m depressed. : (

listens2glenn on October 28, 2011 at 4:57 PM

the only thing that cheers me up on a daily basis is looking at the Rasmussen tracking poll (well, except for the glorious game 6 of the WS, and, well, the glorious hitting of one Albert P…5 hits and 4 hr…GO CARDS)

Anyway, like I was saying, obviously, the hack press and ows, SEIU, Podesta, Axe are all going to mount an historic war against the evil doers, the unreconstructed reactionaries of the right.

Honestly, i’m not seeing the fire power on our side yet. there are some fine moments, newt for example. But the left/media have volumes of oppo research to drop on orders from the top

community organizers are pretty much shakedown artists…and ows is part of that effort. like barry said to AIG…i’m the guy standing between you and the mobs. That’s SOP for an agitator…so I think a big part of the ows is just this…Obama shaking down the big boys…and saying you better pony up and support me…you got a nice business, be a shame if something happened to it

r keller on October 28, 2011 at 5:04 PM

Jim Johnson, while at Fannie Mae, was the architect of the Subprime Loans fiasco that brought our economy to its knees when the housing bubble burst.

According to a New York Times reporter’s book, Johnson is as dirty as they get when it comes to damaging the country while enriching himself.

iurockhead on October 28, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Our next president must promise to prosecute all of this crap to the fullest. That would include bo, mo and anyone else that he hadn’t pardoned by the time he leaves office ( preferably perp walked).

tim c on October 28, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Unexpected!

DamnCat on October 28, 2011 at 5:12 PM

This guy is to finance, what Jamie Gorelick is to national security.

MNHawk on October 28, 2011 at 4:24 PM

She is what he is to finance, also. She was another high-level exec at Fannie Mae that was getting huge bonuses from cooked books. It’s a tangled web.

iurockhead on October 28, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Why isn’t the Occupied With Socialism mob upset about these developments?

Chip on October 28, 2011 at 4:08 PM

..because they are NUTLESS EUNUCH brown-rice-eating, drum-beating, socialist scum ignoramuses and pawns of the Obama rabble-rousing re-election effort.

(Note to self: discard NUTLESS EUNUCH; find another descriptive derogatory slur.)

The War Planner on October 28, 2011 at 5:14 PM

it’s almost like selling missiles to islamic radicals to fund latin american fascists.

sesquipedalian on October 28, 2011 at 4:21 PM

OK. So… Lessee here… Obama’s scandals are A-OK because a Republican administration had a scandal 25 years ago. Got it. You lefties sure are smart!

stvnscott on October 28, 2011 at 5:20 PM

Johnson, Franklin Raines and Barney Frank should all be sharing a cell together.

BacaDog on October 28, 2011 at 4:21 PM

I think that Barney would like that.

Special Forces Grunt on October 28, 2011 at 5:20 PM

FDR did have a mistress. But he was discrete about it.

rbj on October 28, 2011 at 5:22 PM

one might have to go all the way back to Harding for any hint of personal scandal in the Oval Office.

What about Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, Franklin Roosevelt’s long-time miustress, who was with him when he died? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucy_Page_Mercer_Rutherfurd)

bgoldman on October 28, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Just more Chicago style politics.

GarandFan on October 28, 2011 at 5:31 PM

it’s almost like selling missiles to islamic radicals to fund latin american fascists.

sesquipedalian on October 28, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Yeah, let’s see. Selling missiles to radicals in order to fund anti-communists in Latin America in order to keep the Soviets from getting another toe-hold in the Western Hemisphere because a ball-less Democrat congress refused to see the threat and even sympathized with communists (see Ted Kennedy correspondence with the Soviet Communists). Compared to allowing criminals to buy guns in contravention of existing US laws in order to arm narco-terrorists on our borders resulting in the deaths of hundreds of Mexican civilians and at least one US Border agent dead. All in order to “prove” that US citizens’ exercise of second amendment rights is contributing to arming Mexican drug lords and therefore needs to be curtailed.

Yeah, you’re right, exactly the same thing.

/Well, no it’s not. But then you know that; or you are incredibly stupid.

AZfederalist on October 28, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Johnson wasn’t just some faceless contributor to Obama’s campaign, either. As Hot Air readers might recall, Johnson played a major role in the campaign

The fact that Johnson was a bundler for Obama is the smallest part of this scandal. He (along with Franklin Raines) is Mr. Reckless Endangerment. This is from a NYT book review:

The authors, Gretchen Morgenson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning business reporter and columnist at The New York Times, and Joshua Rosner, an expert on housing finance, deftly trace the beginnings of the collapse to the mid-1990s, when the Clinton administration called for a partnership between the private sector and Fannie and Freddie to encourage home buying. The mortgage agencies’ government backing was, in effect, a valuable subsidy, which was used by Fannie’s C.E.O., James A. Johnson, to increase home ownership while enriching himself and other executives. A 1996 study by the Congressional Budget Office found that Fannie pocketed about a third of the subsidy rather than passing it on to homeowners. Over his nine years heading Fannie, Johnson personally took home roughly $100 million. His successor, Franklin D. Raines, was treated no less lavishly.

If there truly was such a thing as “social justice” he’d be rotting in jail right now.

Buy Danish on October 28, 2011 at 5:47 PM

Alter = hack. Good to know.

exdeadhead on October 28, 2011 at 5:49 PM

Ha! I didn’t notice that review was written by Robert B. Reich.

Buy Danish on October 28, 2011 at 5:50 PM

How would Alter know about Obama’s scandals when no one knows anything about Obama? If that little twerp had done his job during the 2008 campaign he might have uncovered many many scandals. The number of people benefiting from being fund raisers for Obama is getting to be a joke. Everyone talks about how Republicans are so chummy with big business, which is private money, but just look at how the Dems use taxpayer money like it was confetti! Once they are in power they use federal money for all of their pet projects and to reward their loyal friends and union thugs. Does anyone remember the billions that came into the Obama coffers because someone FORGOT to set the credit card filter on for their campaign donations? Money poured into his camp and no one will ever be able to track who and where the money came from nor how much was given. Jesus! The man is a scandal!

inspectorudy on October 28, 2011 at 5:52 PM

Seven Percent Solution on October 28, 2011 at 5:05 PM

You know what, I did know that she served on the 9/11 commission.
It somehow slipped my mind. Wouldn’t most of us here just LOVE to put her on the witness stand, and ask some very pointed questions.
I have a digitized copy of the ‘Gorelick memo’ on my hardrive, thanks to one of the posters here providing the link some years back.

listens2glenn on October 28, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Al Gore isn’t getting any ‘Solyndra’ type loans. Did he cheap-out on the Obama campaign contributions?

DANEgerus on October 28, 2011 at 6:46 PM

(Look right) You elected me President and now I can do whatever I want with taxpayer money, so stuff your complaints. (look left) We need solar energy and I don’t care about blackouts, brownouts or any other kind of outs. (look right)I said I would bankrupt the coal industry and that’s what I intend to do. (look down, then left) If we can put a man on the moon, we can subsidize solar energy and contributors to my 2012 campaign. (look right) I will not rest until we have pretended to investigate the Solyndra capital investment for as long as it takes for citizens all across this great country to become bored with the whole thing. (look left) It’s the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing I think of when I go to bed. (look right) It’s the last thing I thing I think of when I arrive at the golf course and the first thing I think of when I shoot hoops. (look out at my vast audience of admirers and smile then look left) Let me be perfectly clear: Some say that we shouldn’t feed starving children, dogs and senior citizens. Some say that we should drill for oil instead of providing jobs for the middle class. (look right) Some even say that we should poison the water supply and club baby seals and fuzzy bears. (point finger and look left). I say that Republicans are wrong about this and I reject their greedy love of millionaires and billionaires. (look right) Let’s put away this Republican demonizing of our opponents and move together as a nation. Not a red nation or a blue nation, but rather as a purple nation as symbolized by our “purple mountain majesties across the fruited plain” (look straight ahead) I’m Oback Arama and I approved this message.

stefano1 on October 28, 2011 at 7:33 PM

Who cares if he had anything to do with the loan process. Name recognition carries more weight. And that’s all that matters.

djaymick on October 28, 2011 at 9:28 PM

The NYT reported today that O’s biggest campaign bundlers work as lobbyists. Go figure.

onlineanalyst on October 28, 2011 at 9:37 PM

Alter also conveniently ignores Operation Fast and Furious, which resulted in a dead Border Patrol agent and hundreds of victims in Mexico, a scandal that already has connections to the White House.  In fact, his essay never mentions guns, the ATF, or anything connected to OF&F.

Why does J. Alter hate Mexicans?

Danny on October 28, 2011 at 11:04 PM

They’re all leeches sucking the life out of the country. If we could get one of them to turn on the others, that would be a juicy scandal even the msm would love to cover.

Kissmygrits on October 29, 2011 at 8:58 AM