Against the backdrop of the Solyndra bankruptcy, what might have seemed innocuous a few months ago seems more than a little sketchy now.
Tom Carnahan is at the helm of Wind Capital Group, an investment firm that received a $107 million federal tax credit to develop a wind power facility in his home state of Missouri. In October, he’s scheduled to host a $25,000-per-person fundraiser to aid Obama’s reelection effort.
Politico, with more:
Republicans argue that it’s inappropriate for the Obama campaign to raise money from a donor who has benefited directly from the Recovery Act.
Missouri Republican Party executive director Lloyd Smith compared the situation to the Solyndra affair, in which the Obama administration reportedly rushed federal support to a green-energy firm that subsequently collapsed.
“At a time when Barack Obama is under fire for steering hundreds of millions of dollars in stimulus funds to a failed company linked to a major campaign donor, it is stunning that he would come to Missouri and raise money with another recipient of stimulus cash,” Smith said in a statement to POLITICO. “Sadly, Missourians have come to expect this kind of pay-to-play from the Obama administration. November 2012 can’t come soon enough.”
Which came first — Carnahan’s support for Obama or his receipt of a substantial federal subsidy? Either way, it doesn’t really matter. It’s inevitable, with how much money Obama’s administration dispenses through swollen government programs, that some of it will go to former donors — or that it will convert some would-be apathetics into enthusiastic Obama supporters. But, while donors shell out their own cash to help the Obama campaign, he’s able to return the favor only with taxpayer dollars. In other words, they play; we pay.
It’s to be expected that voters will support the candidate whose policies most benefit them — and maybe Carnahan supports Obama because, to him, the stimulus worked. But we’re talking about direct infusions of cash in both directions here. As Smith implied, it just smacks of the crony capitalism we’ve seen on a grander scale with Solyndra and LightSquared. And “crony capitalism” — like class warfare — makes for poor economics. Put simply, picking winners and losers doesn’t work — except politically.