No kidding: DOE mismanaged $1.5 billion in stimulus-backed “investments,” report says

posted at 4:41 pm on March 26, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

In yet another of a wide array of examples demonstrating just how deeply the Obama administration’s especial penchant for frivolously dropping taxpayer dollars on favored projects whose only profitable returns come in the form of political capital, a new IG report details some glaring mismanagement of one of their stimulus-backed, climate-change minded green tech ventures.

The Energy Department’s (DOE) internal watchdog is attacking DOE management of a $1.5-billion stimulus program to help develop technology that captures industrial carbon dioxide emissions.

An Office of Inspector General (IG) audit made public Tuesday examines $1.1 billion in funding for 15 projects.

The audit notes three project recipients together received $90 million even though reviews of the proposals “identified significant financial and/or technical issues.”

“For example, the Department awarded more than $48 million to one recipient whose financial condition precluded it from obtaining a satisfactory merit review score. Rather than addressing the underlying issues, the Department accepted increased risk and lowered the recipient’s required cost share,” the IG states.

The report also finds that DOE’s monitoring of some funds was not robust enough, noting up to $18.3 million in “questionable reimbursement claims” from funding recipients.

So, how excited are you about the president’s recent plan to devote still more oil and gas revenues (hint: “Revenues from profitable oil and gas companies” is synonymous with “taxes on the consumers of oil and gas,” but “revenues” just sounds better) toward more brand-new green-energy “investments,” despite the DOE’s poor track record? I don’t suppose we could perhaps just cut down on the DOE’s budget and maybe use that money for — oh, I don’t know — reducing the deficit?

President Obama's Energy Security Trust

And I can’t say I’m any more jazzed about incoming Energy Secretary Moniz’s prospects for managing the departments misadventures in subsidization, since the basic premise is flawed: For the umpteenth time, it is a disservice to taxpayers, the economy, and green energy’s future prospects for the federal government to “invest” our money into projects that are based on wishful thinking rather than competitive merit.


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