Thursday, July 26, 2012

Recent Oversight Hearing Reveals Shady Email Practices by Former DOE Loan Advisor Jonathan Silver; Abound Solar Blames China for its Demise

width=What struck me from last week's Oversight Committee hearing over "the Administration’s Bet on Abound Solar,” and its cost to the taxpayers, wasn’t the fact that Abound blamed China for its demise, a very misleading “jobs chart” used as Obama campaign propaganda, or the “from shovel ready to Shanghais” visual aide. It was Jonathan Silver, former DOE loan advisor, whom in 2010, became a “person of interest” –– along with at least a dozen other “DOE Insiders” –– in my “green corruption” research, of which I will be exposing in the very near future.

Jonathan Silver, Former Executive Director of the Loans Programs Office at the Department of Energy (DOE) 

Silver, who resigned in early October 2011, amidst the "Solyndra $535 Million Saga" (FBI raid and all) –– even testifying in September 2011–– was also one of the “stars” of the May 16, 2012 House Oversight Committee hearing. This was part of the BrightSource Energy story that Marita K. Noon and I wrote about a few weeks ago. Yet, we were not the only ones that picked up on the details surrounding the email exchange between the CEO of BrightSource John Woolard and Silver, during the time they were seeking final approval of their $1.6 billion DOE loan.

Woolard, on behalf of John Bryson (then-BrightSource chairman, who later became Obama’s Commerce Secretary) reached out to Silver, asking for “help” with a drafted email, which was intended for White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley. The email included other requests: “the need for a commitment” as well as “guidance and support” from the White House, however, according to testimony from Woolard, it was never submitted.

Well, I had wondered, did Silver ever help edit that email? Oh yes he did –– "modest edits" from his private email account, which was made known during Silver's testimony last Wednesday. We also discovered that Silver has known John Bryson for many years, and has visited the White House over 70 times. Those visits did include a couple (or a few?) meetings with Energy Secretary Chu and Mr. Daley. However, Silver informed the Committee that the discussions at the White House were "general" in nature, mainly about the "logistics" of the DOE loan program, and not specific to any deal.

But more compromising Silver emails surfaced during the July 18th Oversight hearing, introduced by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) in his opening statement, and expanded upon during the course of the hearing. A remarkable hearing that revealed “shady” email practices by Mr. Silver and others "inside" the DOE.

Emails disclosed that just days prior to Silver’s September 30, 2009 interview with an array of DOE officials, for the DOE advisory role that he was about to embark on, including Steve Isakowitz, chief financial officer at the DOE, Matt Rogers, a senior adviser on the Recovery Act, and a few others, Silver invited Isakowitz and Rogers to a party he and his wife were hosting to promote Al Gore’s environmental advocacy group, the Alliance for Climate Protection.

“At the risk of seeming presumptuous, I want to mention that my wife and I are holding a small event for Al Gore at our home this coming Thursday evening, October 1,” Silver wrote to Isakowitz. Silver went on to explain that Gore would be speaking about his Alliance for Climate Protection and a projected called RePower America.

According to email transcripts provided by The Washington Free Beacon, Silver continued, “Repower America advocates and invests in energy efficiency, clean renewable energy sources, a unified smart energy national grid and clean air technology, and I thought you and/or Matt Rogers might find the conversation interesting. You are both welcome to join us.”

Isakowitz replied, “Thanks for the invite but I need more details.” Of which Silver later responded, “It’s a reception (not a fundraiser, although that is the obvious longer-term goal) at our home." “I expect there will be about 40 people or so, generally folks we know who are interested in this issue and have the capacity to write significant checks and a couple of others with professional involvement in the topic.”

Ultimately, Isakowitz declined to attend the event.

More astonishing, Silver seemingly had a “habit” of using his personal email account to “handle” DOE business, where he would forward emails from his DOE account to his personal email, and then respond from his personal email account. Now, Mr. Silver reasoned that it was out of “convenience,” however; this practice clearly violates the Federal Records Act of 1950.

When questioned by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) on how pervasive this practice was; Silver responded with, "Not terribly," then followed, "I received tens of thousands of emails while I was in the program." Congressman Gowdy then inquired about the percentage. Silver stated, "I don't know the answer to that..."

During his testimony, Silver asserted that he had turned over all of his DOE correspondences (government documents), yet it was only after the House Oversight Committee requested them. Still, this leaves us with many critical questions. Why did Silver handle DOE business in this fashion –– convenience or concealment? Is g-mail better than DOE e-mail? Did he forget his DOE password? I don’t know.

But what I do know is that "ultimately" the decisions to issue loan guarantees –– the majority of which were “junk rated,” including Abound Solar –– “fell on the shoulders of the DOE.” Chairman Jordon goes on, “To a large degree this decision [the Abound risky loan] rested with the two individuals testifying here today, the former and current heads of the DOE’s loan program office: Mr. Silver and Mr. David Frantz,” both of which strenuously defended, and even praised the loan guarantee program throughout the hearing.

"These two political appointees at the front lines of the loan program were responsible for safeguarding taxpayers from undue risk, and they failed in that task," Jordon went on. In the case of Silver, Jordon insisted, “Instead of protecting taxpayers, evidence has emerged that he actively aided companies in pushing through their loan guarantees, despite the risk to taxpayers.”

During House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa's (R-CA) opening statement, he too expressed his grave concern over the email practices within the DOE, of which he declared, "Jonathan Silver and others were scheming to ensure that the right people got their loan guarantees, and in fact many of the emails are clearly outside the element of pure merit and public accountability.”

Also, "for nearly two months" the House Oversight Committee has been requesting that Secretary Chu come back to testify and explain developments uncovered by the House investigation, and thus far “Chu has been unwilling” to show.

After Issa acknowledged Mr. Silver and his attorney’s cooperation, he expressed his frustration over the Obama administration's attempt at blocking their "legitimate discovery.” Issa expanded, "The DOE specifically tried to prevent us from getting these documents, asking Mr. Silver’s attorney (ordering him effectively) to deliver the documents to them so they could limit and redact them –– so they could decide what Congress was entitled to."

Silver’s background is quite impressive, as Ranking Member Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) will attest to. As noted by Barron's Magazine (in 2010), Silver had been a managing partner at Core Capital Partners in Washington. "Coincidentally, one of his colleagues there was Tom Wheeler, a 2008 Obama bundler." Even Peter Schweizer, in Throw Them All Out, recorded Silver's association to Wheeler, adding that Silver formerly served in the Clinton administration, and that he is a “strict partisan when it comes to his own campaign contributions, the recipients have all been Democrats.” Plus, I guess in between those Al Gore parties, –– Mrs. Silver “served as a financial director for the Democratic Leadership Council.”

Silver has held key positions in business, finance and government, including McKinsey & Company –– another 2008 Obama donor –– and its Global Institute, a firm that seems to have acquired quite a few White House positions under the Obama administration. Even Silver’s former “DOE cohort” Matt Rogers came from McKinsey & Co., and after Rogers left the DOE in September 2010, he returned to McKinsey & Co. at their San Francisco Office.

Which brings me to an interesting observation; where have all the DOE advisors and officials gone? You know, the “DOE Insiders” that I referred to at the beginning of this article, where plenty of “VC Guys” and “Gore Acolytes” held key positions –– a dozen on my radar, where at least ten are connected to billions of green-government subsidies.

Ironically, many have fled since their 2009 appointment, even Steve Isakowitz and Matt Rogers as well as Steve Spinner, Cathy Zoi, Kristina Johnson and others –– a vital piece to the Green Corruption scandal, which will be tackled once I get through the DOE “junk bond” Portfolio.

Side Note:  Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers was a big winner of government clean-energy funds, where Al Gore is a partner with his buddy John Doerr –– both campaigned for Obama in 2008. Billionaire Doerr, not only helped shape what went into the energy section of the 2009 economic stimulus package, but sits on members of President Obama’s Job Council, and served on the President Obama’s 2009 Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB). 

Gore's Kleiner Perkins is a firm that I began to unravel in 2010, stressing that over 50 percent of their Greentech Portfolio secured all kinds of loans, grants, and special tax breaks –– placing them in an "elite green society;" yet it’s a firm to eventually revisit, because since 2010, they have tripled their "investments" and there is much more to expose. 

Abound Soar 

Although Jonathan Silver stole my attention in the recent House Oversight hearing that ironically seemed to be lacking in committee members, Abound Solar deserves some notoriety. Abound is now the third major bankruptcy recorded from the $16 billion 1705 Loan Guarantee Program –– and they won't be the last. A DOE portfolio, where "23 of the loans were rated Junk grade due to their poor credit quality, while the other four were rated BBB, which is at the lowest end of the investment grade of categories.”

To get you up to speed on Abound, just over two years ago, during his weekly radio address, President Obama touted Abound Solar as a huge jobs creator project, stating that it would create "2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs" between Abound's two plants in Colorado and Indiana. Then in December of 2010, Abound Solar was awarded a $400 million loan guarantee from the 1705 DOE Loan Guarantee Program, despite the fact that in November 2010, it was rated “B” by Fitch: highly speculative, worse than Solyndra’s rating of BB-. And in July 2011, Abound was awarded $9.2 million loan from the Export-Import Bank, you know, the federally funded bank that makes riskier loans financed with taxpayer money.

Since the end of February of this year, troubling Abound reports circulated; massive layoffs and a compelling case for a pay to play scheme surfaced, causing more energy headaches for the DOE and the White House. When March came, the House Oversight investigation confirmed that cronyism most likely ruled the Abound loan. May rolled around with another green energy Oversight hearing, including the appearance of then CEO Craig Witsoe, explaining Abound troubles, but no mention of a bankruptcy on the horizon. Because two months later (Jun 28, 2012), Abound went down!

This was after Witsoe, in December 2011, made sure to inform American taxpayers that his company was the “anti-Solyndra." Well, the silver lining may be that the taxpayer loss will only be about $70 milllion, but what about that $9.2 million?

During the course of the hearing, Abound blamed China for their demise. As reported by The Washington Times, Witsoe told the committee, “With over $30 billion in reported government subsidies, Chinese panel makers were able to sell below cost and put Abound out of business before we were big enough to pose a real competitive threat to China’s rapidly growing market share.”

However, Witsoe forgot to mention, “While cheap imports from China have crippled much of the U.S. solar panel market, Abound’s problems appear to have been rooted in the quality of its own products, the competitiveness of its business model and its inability to retain top talent,” as documented this month in The Daily Caller by Todd Shepherd, an investigative reporter for Colorado Watchdog.

Cronyism Abounds 

Congressman Jordon asserted (as he has done at previous green energy hearings), "The close political and financial ties many of these companies had to the Obama administration are remarkable," and Issa labeled it as a "scandal, that will go on..."

Yet, the House Oversight Democrats perceive a different scenario; Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), called the Republican questioning "an alleged conspiracy in search of the facts." Meanwhile Congressman Kucinich "sees no scandal at all," and was more concerned about China's "solar panel selling plot" than the DOE's shady email practices.

In full disclosure, according to Bloomberg (confirmed during this hearing), Abound Solar "is also backed by Invus Public Equities Advisors LLC, which was co-founded by Raymond Debbane, who has donated to Republican candidates including Representative Darrell Issa." Also, "Abound, formerly known as AVA Solar won part of a $60 million grant" under the Bush administration.

Well, I wasn't born yesterday. The Republican Party is not immune to crony capitalism. In the summer of 2010, I covered a high profile venture capitalist who got his foot in the  green door under the Bush administration, a firm I will revisit due to their close relationship to the Obama administration. However, there is a much larger cronyism, corruption scandal going on here, as presented in my April 2012 release, Department of Energy junk loans and cronyism; and plenty more to expose in the coming weeks.

Through months of analysis of just one DOE program (the 1705 Loan Guarantee, created by the Obama administration via the 2009 stimulus package), I found that over 90 percent have meaningful  ties to President Obama (at least 16), and other high ranking Democrats, or both. Senator Harry Reid alone is connected to four. This study included the March 2012 House Oversight investigation coupled with years of my personal research.

Still, the Abound loan didn’t come without its share of Democrat political ties, as illustrated within the pages of the House investigation, released March 20, 2012:
Abound Solar has ties to Democratic politicians at the federal level and the state level in Colorado. Bohemian Companies, LLC, founded by Pat Stryker, became an early investor in Abound Solar (at the time AVA Solar) in October 2008. In addition to the initial funding, the CEO of Bohemian Companies, Joseph Zimlich, has served as both a director and a board member of Abound Solar. Pat Stryker is a major Democratic donor who Forbes included on its 2011 list of top liberal spenders. In 2008, Stryker donated $50,000 and bundled $87,500 for President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, and has given $35,800 to the 2012 Obama Victory Fund. Abound Solar also developed ties to Congressional Democrats. The company hired then Democratic Congressman Paul Kanjorski’s nephew Russell as its vice president for marketing. Abound Solar supported the 2009 cap and trade bill in the House of Representatives and funded an advertisement thanking then-Colorado Democratic Congresswoman Betsy Markey for her vote in favor of the bill. At the state level, then Democratic Colorado Governor Bill Ritter strongly supported Abound Solar and its application for a DOE loan guarantee. When Energy Secretary Chu visited Colorado, Governor Ritter handed Secretary Chu a letter urging him to approve Abound Solar’s loan guarantee because it would allow the company to expand and hire new workers.
No jobs here; not even a CEO.
No Smoking Gun Found at Abound; What About those "Burnt" Emails?

While this piece of the clean energy dirt received little media attention, a few reports have claimed, “no smoking gun found at the Abound hearing,” which leaves me pondering if maybe they skipped the hearing and went to a “Silver Gore Party.”

What about those "burnt" emails found at the Abound scene?

Chairman Issa appeared on Fox News the day after the July 18th hearing, and summed up a few key points that he had sternly addressed during the hearing. When asked about Abound, here is what Issa had to say, “Thanks for covering yet another failed solar project –– one that again went outside the bounds and the rules for making the loan, and the American people are paying for it.”
Issa went on, “I think the most important thing that we saw was the discovery of Jonathan Silver and his various other Department of Energy employees deliberately producing an outside web of private emails in which they exchanged documents, strategized on how to get these loans approved, and so on…”

What do you think they are doing?

Issa’s answer, “I say it was pretty transparent, they’re being opaque…by circumventing these systems, they’re taking things out of what is statutorily required to be there…”

As we wait for additional green energy House Oversight hearings, anticipating more Silver Emails to surface out of the abyss, stay tuned. Marita over at, and I will be completing the final installment of the Special Seven series, and I will be preparing to expose the Dozen DOE Insiders.

Next though, is the other DOE loan that went bankrupt, besides Solyndra –– The Beacon Bust, another DOE risky loan worth $43 million of taxpayer money. And you'll never guess which Obama bundler is connected to that one.

This is Part Three of DOE “Junk” Loans and Cronyism, exposing the over 90% that have “meaningful” ties to President Obama and other high-ranking Democrats –– or both! Plus, layoffs, pay to play, cronyism and a lack of disclosure make Abound Solar another good example of the green corruption problem.

First published at Blogcritics Magazine in two parts: 
DOE Loan Advisor Jonathon Silver –– Published: Jul 25, 2012 at 9:38 am

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The First Solar Three Billion Dollar Swindle

As we dig deeper in the green-energy crony corruption-story, it begins to sound more and more like the making of a big-budget Hollywood thriller. Today’s installment on First Solar includes billionaire investors, corporate welfare, favoritism, threats, exaggerations, lawsuits over inferior quality, layoffs and outsourcing, and even a romantic dalliance. The screenplay would be riveting. Too bad it is not fiction. The film would have to be a documentary.

The trailer would open: “What do Goldman Sachs, several Goldman executives, and quite a few billionaire investors have in common? Add in millions of campaign donations followed by billions doled out of the 2009-stimulus package along with a ‘who’s who’ list of high-powered energy connections. Throw in a lead lobbyist with frequent White House visits and an active, yet connected board member.” Dark clouds would roll in as the music comes to a crescendo. The narrator continues: “Along the way, drama and trouble emerge. The CEO sells his own stock, jobs are going overseas. Accusations of money laundering materialize, and inside investigations point to a shady scheme within a solar energy company. The firm in question is implicated—as well as the Department of Energy.” Bold text pops up on the screen: “The First Solar Swindle” Smaller text: “Opening in theaters nationwide…”

Yes, all of this drama can be found in one company with interconnected ties to the Obama White House!

Last week, we wrapped up Senator Harry Reid’s connection to four firms—representing billions in taxpayer money—also part of the green-energy, crony-corruption story. Three of the four are in Reid’s home state: Nevada Geothermal, Ormat Nevada, and SolarReserve; while both SolarReserve and BrightSource Energy have multiple and significant ties to the President.

Now, we move on to the next three of our Special Seven series––those that received the Department of Energy loans (even though the companies were rated as “non-investment” grade) and grants, as a part of the stimulus spending spree. Additionally, these seven companies received “special” Department of Interior (DOI) treatment through a March 11, 2009 Secretarial Order, which the Washington Free Beacon described as a means “To fast track the siting of renewable energy projects on public lands managed by the agency.”

This chapter exposes First Solar.

From the introduction of this serialized book, the thumbnail says:

First Solar manufacturers “thin film” solar modules and is now moving into project development. While First Solar is not in the “junk bond” list, they do hold the unique distinction of being the single worst performer in the SPX in 2011. Additionally, they are linked to three junk-bond projects: Aqua Caliente (AZ), BB+; Antelope Valley Solar Ranch (CA), BBB-; and Desert Sunlight (CA), BBB-. First Solar was an early green investment of Goldman Sachs—which gave more than $1 million to the 2008 Obama campaign. Goldman Sachs executives sat on Obama’s 2008 Finance Committee and others were bundlers. In Throw Them All Out, Peter Schweizer reports on First Solar investor Paul Tudor Jones, who was a 2008 Obama bundler, and First Solar CEO Michael Ahearn, who “gives generously (and exclusively) to Democrats.”

First Solar Swindle cast of characters:

Goldman Sachs Investor and Top 2008 Obama Donor
First Solar was an early investment of Goldman Sachs, the number two Top Obama Donor that gave more than $1 million dollars to his 2008 campaign––plus, the Obama administration “is infested” with Goldman Sachs executives.

Bruce Heyman and David Heller sat on Obama’s 2008 Finance Committee 

Bruce Heyman and Jennifer Scully were 2008 Obama bundlers
Two Goldman executives sat on Obama's 2008 Finance Committee, Bruce Heyman and David Heller, while Heyman, along with Jennifer Scully, was also a 2008 Obama bundler. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Ms. Scully raised $100,000, but didn’t make any large donations personally; Mr. Heyman bundled $50,000 in donations, including a $10,000 contribution he made and Goldman executive, David Heller, donated $25,000.”

Michael Ahearn CEO First Solar 

Pages 91-92 of Peter Switzer’s book Throw Them All Out says: “Ahearn gives generously (and exclusively) to Democrats.”

Ted Turner Billionaire Investor
From Throw Them All Out: “The biggest investors [in First Solar] include billionaire Ted Turner, a big financial backer of Obama’s 2008 campaign.”

Paul Tudor Jones Billionaire Investor
“Another Obama bundler, also owns a stake in First Solar.”

Whitney Tilson Ultra-wealthy Obama Supporter
Obama ally and a member of “Patriotic Millionaires” (a group of wealthy Obama supporters backing the president’s effort to raise taxes on high-earners), is “Ultra-wealthy Obama supporter Whitney Tilson,” reports the Washington Free Beacon. It turns out that “One of the few ‘winners’ in Tilson’s portfolio was his short position in First Solar, a company on the brink of collapse, despite receiving more than $3 billion in federal loan guarantees from the Obama administration.”

Former Vice President Al Gore Generation Investment Management co-founder
Other Wealthy First Solar Shareholders who are heavily involved in clean-energy include: Generation Investment Management (GIM) co-founded in 2004 by former chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Former Vice President Al Gore.

David Shaw Obama bundler
Founder of D. E. Shaw, an Obama bundler and one of the top 3 donors to the Democratic Party, who happens to the largest shareholder of First Wind that “received $232 million in stimulus funds.”

Jose Villarreal First Solar board member
Also a board member for the Center for American Progress, a left-wing think tank, closely tied to the administration, which lobbied for green energy loans.

Kathleen Weiss Vice President of Government Relations
The lead lobbyist for First Solar, Kathleen Weiss, Heritage’s Scribe reports, “has had numerous meetings at the White House, according to visitor logs. She has met with senior White House official Valerie Jarrett, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Heather Zichal, among others.”

First Solar Swindle scene outline:
The First Solar Swindle takes place in several locations as they have three distinct projects.

Exelon Corp.

Antelope Valley Solar Ranch, California—Rating BBB- by Fitch, September 2011, DOE loan for $646 million––was purchased by Exelon Corp, yet First Solar, which developed the project, “will build, operate, and maintain the project.” Exelon Corp. was another 2008 Obama donor, and the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch project has a 25-year purchase power agreement from PG&E as well.
During Obama’s run for the presidency, Exelon’s employees continued to give, contributing at least $200,000 during Obama’s 2008 campaign. Exelon board member John Rogers Jr. was a top Obama bundler, hauling in at least $500,000. Bloomberg reported that former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel worked on the $8.2 billion merger that created Exelon in 2000, and former senior adviser David Axelrod had ownership in a consulting business that had Exelon as a client.

NextEra Energy

Desert Sunlight, California––Rating BBB, by Fitch; September 2011, DOE loan for $1.2 billion—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 states that “First Solar will continue to build and subsequently operate and maintain the project under separate agreements.” Both CEO's are on President Obama's Job Council, Lewis Hay of NextEra Energy and Jeffrey Immelt of GE (another top Obama donor, donating $529,855 to his 2008 campaign). GE has raked in over $3 billion of stimulus money, and counting.

Sherry Barrat, a director at NextEra, is also Vice Chairman of Northern Trust, the company that once owned the Obamas’ house.

NRG Energy

Agua Caliente, Arizona––Rating BB+ by Fitch, August 2011, DOE loan for $967 million––was purchased from First Solar by NRG Solar, LLC, and a subsidiary of NRG Energy. The plant would supply power to PG&E, and be made with panels from the Tempe-based First Solar Inc. Billionaire George Soros, a 2008 Obama donor, who “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,” owns more than half a million shares of NRG Energy.

First Solar Swindle synopsis:
First Solar sought to create turnkey projects with the assistance of DOE loan guarantees and direct loans.


A Government Accountability Office report found that the Energy Department loan program skipped steps in its review process when evaluating loans, while in some cases it was impossible to determine if the review steps were even completed. The DOE apparently manipulated its analysis and strategically modified evaluations in order to issue loans to First Solar. Through the funding of First Solar’s projects, favoritism was shown, as regulations may have been violated that required innovativeness and that allows for only one technology per project sponsor—which may have been why the projects were sold as soon as the loans were funded. (Did they think we wouldn’t notice?)

Layoffs and Outsourcing

Since DOE finalized First Solar’s three loan guarantees (for over $3 billion), First Solar has encountered serious financial problems that put the DOE funded projects in jeopardy. First Solar’s stock declined the greatest compared to any S&P 500 companies in 2011 and has lost more than $100 per share over the past year. First Solar has cut production of its solar panels worldwide.  Based upon the company’s financial troubles, First Solar fired its CEO in October 2011. In April 2012, First Solar laid off 2000 workers and closed factories. In May, a massive round of furloughs was announced. In a May 16, 2012 hearing, CEO Michael Ahern admitted: “in sheer numbers, most of our full-time employees are outside the US.” Delay, as listed below, means that the indirect jobs that the White House wanted to create with the three loan guarantees will likely never materialize.

Inferior Quality and Lawsuits

Problems that directly impact First Solar’s DOE loan guarantee projects have been revealed. It was announced in late February that First Solar would postpone manufacturing solar panels at its Mesa Arizona plant, which is still under construction, because of financial problems. First Solar intended for the Mesa facility to provide panels to the First Solar projects. This delay raises questions about whether First Solar will have problems supplying solar panels to its DOE loan guarantee projects.  Additionally, millions of dollars worth of its solar panels have had to be replaced under warranty because they did not last in hot climates. All three of First Solar’s DOE-based solar generation projects are located in hot desert climates—which raises serious concerns about whether the panels will work properly long term. According to the Phoenix Business Journal, “First Solar Inc. has been hit with an investor lawsuit in federal court, alleging the solar panel manufacturer misled investors over how much it would cost to replace defective panels.” Reports indicate that manufacturing flaws cost $253 million in replacement costs.

Corporate Welfare

First Solar received a US Taxpayer loan guarantee to sell solar panels to itself! The subsidy came from the Import-Export Bank. In 2011, First Solar received $455.7 million to subsidize the sale of solar panels to two solar farms in Canada—owned by a small corporation called St. Clair Solar. But St. Clair Solar was a wholly owned subsidiary of First Solar.

First Solar’s CEO has admitted to selling more than 700,000 shares of his own stock netting him $68.5 million—though claiming that the company “remains financially strong and well positioned to execute through the current market environment.” reports “between 2008 and 2012––a period when First Solar’s stock value dropped by almost 95 percent––Ahearn sold over $450 million of his own company’s stock.”

Obama’s insistence on green-energy subsidies manifests itself as rank corporate welfare.

Threats and exaggeration

First Solar came under extreme heat in the House Oversight Investigation—“The First Solar Scheme” (pp. 29-38), noting a series of violations and application misrepresentation as well as “persistent pressure,” with even documents of a “threatening” letter to Jonathan Silver.

A First Solar investor puffed up the potential of these green projects: “Goldman Sachs Group Inc. plans to channel investments totaling $40 billion over the next decade into renewable energy projects, an area the investment bank called one of the biggest profit opportunities since its economists got excited about emerging markets in 2001.”

A Romantic Dalliance

Every movie needs some love. This is provided in the First Solar Swindle through senior DOE official Steve Black who leads the Renewable Energy Policy Group and NextEra Lobbyist Manal Yamout—who are in a romantic relationship.
An application that should otherwise fail, but instead passes under improper influence and through the manipulation of analysis, results in the defrauding of taxpayers and misappropriation of assets.
As the reporter for the First Solar Swindle, I’d like to be played by Cameron Diaz or Renee Zellweger. As the investigator, Christine Lakatos pictures Julia Roberts of the Pelican Brief playing her part. Yes, the First Solar Swindle will be a blockbuster—or should I say, it is a bank buster?

Author’s note: Thanks to Christine Lakatos, the Green Corruption blogger, for research assistance.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

First published, July 21, 2012 
Part Four of Obama's Green-Energy, Crony, Corruption Story, The Special Seven 

UPDATE: During the course of writing this article, on July 19, 2012 Bloomberg News reported, "The U.S. Export-Import Bank approved $57.3 million to Solar Field Energy Two Private Ltd. and Mahindra Surya Prakash Private Ltd. to help finance the purchase of First Solar panels, according to a statement yesterday." 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Senator Harry Reid’s Part in Green-Energy Crony-Corruption, Part Three of The Special Seven

(L-R) President and CEO of the Center for American Progress John Podesta, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu
So far our chronicle of the green-energy crony-corruption story, has focused primarily on the connections the players have to President Obama. This chapter stars Senator Harry Reid. When looking at the whole story, it’s important to note that Senator Reid “led passage of the $814 billion stimulus bill and worked to include the loan guarantee program to help finance clean-energy projects”—projects to which, as we will show, he is connected.

In a DOE press release, Reid actually bragged about how he included the green loan guarantee in the stimulus bill: “As I led passage of the stimulus bill, I worked to include the loan guarantee program to help finance clean energy projects” that will “bring us closer to energy independence.”

We’ve already unveiled two of these expensive and politically explosive projects through our Special Seven series––those that received the touted loans as a part of the stimulus bill (even though they were rated as “non-investment” grade) and grants, as well as “special” Department of Interior treatment. As the “Special Seven” moniker indicates, there are more companies and/or projects to reveal.

Before we start on the new information, here’s a highlight of the previous players’ specific connections to Senator Harry Reid—the focus of this chapter.

Last week, we exposed BrightSource Energy that received a $1.6 billion DOE loan. BrightSource’s executives donated almost $4000 to Reid’s 2010 campaign, including $2400 from the CEO John Woolard, who in September 2010, along with Peter Darbee, then Chairman of PG & E, hosted a fundraiser for the majority leader in his corporate offices.

The week before, we uncovered the fact that a couple of SolarReserve (with its $737 million loan) board members are big Democrat donors, including contributions to Obama’s 2008 campaign as well as Senator Reid. The Washington Free Beacon divulged, “…Nevada Geothermal, Ormat Nevada, and SolarReserve—are located in Reid’s home state. Executives from all three companies have donated to Reid and his fellow Democrats, contributing more than $58,000 since 2008.”

However, what you are about discover is that the two projects we’ll profile in this chapter have similar direct ties, some sly connections to the Senator, and some stinky consequences.

Nevada Geothermal Power 

First we’ll look into Nevada Geothermal Power (NGP) as recent news exposes that its power is dimming. NGP may be the next green-energy bankruptcy.

Here’s the NGP thumbnail presented in the introduction to the green-energy crony-corruption story:
Nevada Geothermal Power (NGP) holds leasehold interests in six geothermal projects located in the Western United States. They hold a BB+ rating and received a $78.8 million loan, guaranteed by the DOE, in September of 2010. Executives from NGP contributed in 2008 to Harry Reid’s campaign. 

Additionally, since 2009, NGP was the recipient of more than $69 million in federal grants, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. 

The New York Times reports: “Reid was instrumental in securing that financing for Nevada Geothermal.” The NYT noted: “Mr. Reid has taken the nascent geothermal industry under his wing, pressuring the Department of Interior to move more quickly on applications to build clean energy projects on federally owned land and urging other members of Congress to expand federal tax incentives to help build geothermal plants, benefits that Nevada Geothermal has taken advantage of.” You might think Reid has altruistic motives, such as creating jobs for his state, however, as the NYT points out: “Mr. Reid has received some support from the industry, in the form of at least $43,000 worth of campaign contributions from the geothermal industry since 2009, according to an analysis of federal campaign finance records.” The “campaign contributions” could be why, in a 2010 press release, he declared “Northern Nevada is the Saudi Arabia of geothermal energy.” 

Despite the flowery rhetoric, at the time the DOE approved the conditional loan guarantee in September 2010, they were well aware of NGP’s “well-documented” financial difficulties. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (HOGRC) called the loan a “bailout”—which “violated the spirit and, quite possibly, the letter of the law” and provided “an opportunity for private industry to exit an investment, deleverage and transfer the extraordinarily high default risk to taxpayers.”

Less than a year after the loan was issued, leading accounting firm Deloitte & Touche did an audit of NGP and concluded: “significant doubt” about Nevada Geothermal Power’s “ability to continue as a going concern.” The company’s vital signs are not looking good: it “has incurred net losses over the past several years, has an accumulated deficit of $44.0 million and an anticipated inability to retire its long-term liabilities.”

The project continued to have “operational and financial problems.” In the October 2011 NYT article, it states: “Executives expressed confidence that they can recover” and that “the government investment is not at risk.” As CEO Brian D. Fairbank stated: “We’re doing OK.”

During Fairbank’s “Green Energy Gamble” May 16, 2012 testimony before the HOGRC, he spoke “about the many good things occurring at Blue Mountain” and stated that they “remained bullish on the future of geothermal resource potential” at Blue Mountain. However, the future of Nevada Geothermal is looking dim, it still faces financial problems, and the company’s internal auditors have questioned whether it can stay in business.

The audit report states: “NGP has incurred $98 million in net losses over the past several years, has substantial debts and does not generate enough cash from its current operations after debt-service costs.”

With the audit completed in March 2012, one as to wonder how much did Fairbanks actually know about the status of NGP during that May 16 testimony when he claimed he “remained bullish?”

Another angle, in that DOE press release, both Secretary Chu and Senator Reid praised the potential job creation of the NGP project. Chu said: “Our support for the Blue Mountain project is part of the Administration’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions while creating clean energy jobs,” and Reid: “clean energy projects like Blue Mountain geothermal that will put Nevadans back to work...” In conflict with these claims, the HOGRC report states: “It was known to him [Secretary Chu] at that time [of the press conference], however, that the loan would not create a single job, but instead would simply refinance an existing loan, despite DOE’s claim that it would create over 200 jobs”

Instead of using the loan as Title XVI, Section 1602 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, requires: “Recipients shall use grant funds in a manner that maximizes job creation and economic benefit,” the loan was used to pay off a creditor. According to the Washington Times report, “At the time the Energy Department announced its conditional approval of the guarantee, Mr. Issa said NGP would have defaulted on a loan from TCW Asset Management Co., then its primary lender, ‘had DOE not swooped in to save the failing company with taxpayer money.’ A committee report said the loan did not finance any new construction and ‘did not help to create a single job.’”

So, Senator Reid received money from the geothermal industry, he, apparently, then pressured the DOE to fund projects in Nevada based on the false promise of job creation—which he knew was not accurate at the time. Instead of creating jobs, Reid’s advocacy actually “bailed out” his cronies—that is really corrupt.

Ormat Nevada 

But the story continues. As we reported in the introduction, Kai Anderson, a lobbyist for NGP’s partner corporation, Ormat Technologies, Inc., is a former Senate aide to Harry Reid. Ormat’s CEO Paul Thomsen is another former Reid aide. Additionally, according to the Washington Times, “Mr. Fairbank denied knowing or lobbying Mr. Reid, but the House Oversight Committee said Ormat Inc., which was paid $80 million to build NGP’s Blue Mountain plant, has ‘strong ties’ to the senator.”

The thumbnail of Ormat in the introduction reads as follows:
Ormat Nevada is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ormat Technologies, Inc., whose website touts “green energy you can rely on.” They have an S&P rating of BB and received $350 million in partial loan guarantees. Ormat’s lobbyist Kai Anderson and Director of Policy and Business Development Paul Thomsen were both former senate aides to Harry Reid and donors to his campaign.
The May 2012 HOGRC report expands the connections: “During Senator Reid’s 2010 reelection campaign, Thomsen starred in a campaign ad for Senator Reid to advertise the benefits of Ormat’s loan guarantee for Nevada. In addition to Anderson and Thomsen, Ormat’s President, Yoram Bronicki, gave thousands in political contributions to Senator Reid. The strong ties between the company and the Senate Majority leader raise questions about whether the DOE acted in the best interests of the American people when it approved the loan guarantee.”

Yoram Bronicki is the son of Ms. Yehudit Bronicki (also known as Dita). She is CEO and Director of Ormat Technologies. In addition to the $350 million loan guaranteed by the DOE with John Hancock in aggregate principal amount, Ormat Technologies’ projects received more than $200 million in various DOE grants.

The 2010 campaign ad, starring former Reid staffer Thomsen, heralded “Geothermal means 16,000 Nevada jobs… Harry Reid saw the potential before just about anybody else.” With projects like NGP, it seems those jobs have never materialized and the reason Harry Reid was such a soothsayer is the same reason a fortune teller tells you what you want to hear: you are holding the money. With the geothermal industry “contributing more than $58,000 since 2008” and, in just these two stories, receiving $700 million in loans and grants, they’ve gotten an amazing return on their investment. In the bad economy, the best way to grow your money just may be to invest in green energy—just make sure you have friends in high places.

All this, and it does nothing to “bring us closer to energy independence.” Geothermal—and wind and solar—power generates electricity. America is already electricity independent. We have enough coal, natural gas, and uranium to power us for centuries! We even export coal, we have so much.

So why are we killing good-paying jobs in the coal industry, preventing thousands of union jobs the Keystone pipeline would create, and potentially putting thousands out of work with a pending ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas extraction, for the supposed jobs in green energy—when we are already electricity independent? These green-energy projects can only raise the cost of electricity and waste public money, while the energy sources the administration’s efforts are killing or blocking can actually reduce costs—without taxpayer investment.

The green-energy crony-corruption story is explains it all.

Author’s note: Thanks to Christine Lakatos, the Green Corruption blogger for research assistance.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and much more...

This is Part Three of Obama's Green-Energy, Crony Corruption and The Special Seven, a collaboration between Christine and Marita and exposed first at In case you missed any of the explosive parts.
Part Two: More Obama Green Energy Corruption covers BrightSource Energy ($1.6 billion DOE loan)
Part One: Obama’s Green-Energy, Crony-Corruption covers SolarReserve ($737 million DOE loan)
The INTRODUCTION gives an overview of the Special Seven: Eco Scare Scams Raise Obama Campaign Cash 
Also, on the Green Corruption Blog, exposing this entire scandal.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

General Electric Making “Bank” off Obama's “Green” Stimulus Money; Over $3 Billion and Counting

Part two of DOE “Junk” Loans and Cronyism, exposing how General Electric –– CEO Jeffrey Immelt, Chair of Obama’s Job Council –– has raked in over $3 billion, and counting, from the Obama "green" stimulus.

As I was preparing to expose one of the big fish in this green energy scheme –– how General Electric has raked in at least $3 billion of President Obama's "green" stimulus money  –– two more government-backed renewable energy projects made headlines.  Abound Solar went bust and it seems that Nevada Geothermal Power is going down the drain, both included in the Department of Energy's excessively risky loan portfolio, adding more embarrassment to the president’s “highly touted green energy initiative."

Last April, I began to unleash years of research starting with the "Department of Energy “Junk Loans” and Cronyism, Introduction," setting up the first in a series of at least five topics that will prove cronyism and corruption are the driving forces behind President's Obama's green energy agenda, with total disregard for our economy and national debt.

As a recap: the March 2012 House Oversight Investigation revealed that 23 of 27 recipients of the loan guarantees were rated as junk status investments. And according to GAO statistics (and emphasized in the June 19th Congressional hearing), "For the 460 applications to the Loan Guarantee Program (LGP), DOE has made loan guarantees for 7 percent and committed to an additional 2 percent."

And who were the "lucky" 7 percent? Of the 27 loans issued (26 as BrightSource was counted twice in the House Oversight report) through the 1705 LGP to 21 firms, virtually all of them have meaningful political connections (bundlers, donors, supporters) –– to either President Obama or other high-ranking Democrats — or both!

To add insult to "taxpayer injury," in that same June 19th House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Hearing, Dr. De Rugy (a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University), had some pretty damning testimony, including how the DOE justifies the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program. She even disputed the DOE's argument that "by investing in green technology, it would create up to 5 million green jobs." When in reality, De Rugy continues, "the DOE's own data shows that $16 billion in loans were guaranteed [under the 1705 LGP], and 2378 permanent green jobs were created" –– "that means that for every $6.7 million in taxpayer exposure, ONE job was created!"

Keep in mind that 1705 LGP is not the only DOE loan program to be analyzed –– there are three, and since 2009, the DOE has guaranteed a total of $34.7 billion. As you will see, there are also other government agencies and programs doling out billions more in "green" funds.

General Electric, CEO Jeffrey Immelt, Chair of Obama’s Job Council and the Billions They Raked in Through the 2009 Obama Stimulus Package 

Whereas General Electric (GE) is a heavy donor to both Republicans and Democrats, and Immelt himself "plays the role of typical corporate donor who hedges his bets on both sides of the fence," in 2008, GE gave the Obama campaign $529,855, marking them a top Obama donor. Nevertheless, GE is a major player on the clean-energy scene as well as in this green energy scheme. Even The New York Times recognized GE’s “green power,” noting that in 2009, 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.” In fact, you'll be "blown away" by the billions of "wind energy grants" that blew out of the stimulus package back in February 2010, of which GE is contracted to at least 26% of them as the "Turbine Manufacturer."

In late 2009, it was reported that GE became "one of the newer smart meter players," and that they "had been working with utility Oklahoma Gas & Electric on a 6,600 smart meter trial, and had procured "a contract with Pepco Holdings (PHI)," which received Smart Grid Investment Grants totaling $168 million. GE also has a big contract with Florida Power and Light," also the recipient of a $200 million stimulus grant.

Yet, this is just the beginning of the GE "green bucks"...

While a recent "news flash" was published by the Republican National Committee, confirming via that "General Electric received over $1.2 billion worth of stimulus loan guarantees, awards, contracts and grants" (the majority of which were for renewable energy projects), they missed billions more. Two large 1705 loan guarantees that I had outlined in April of this year, as well as a forthcoming $490 million cash grant and a $54.6 million loan from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Add in some smaller government subsidies and awards for a multitude of green projects, programs, and through some of their "green alliances," that I found during my 2011 research, and GE's "green tab" exceeds $3 billion in direct (some indirectly) taxpayer cash, and counting. ;

Let's take a look at GE's two projects from the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program, both of which are included the DOE's risky investment portfolio.
  • 1366 Technologies Inc, Rating B by Fitch, Sept 2011 –– $150 million
  • Caithness Shepherds Flat, LLC –– Rating BBB- by Fitch; Oct 2010 for $1.04 billion (or $1.3 billion)
GE sponsored the Caithness Shepherds Flat, and also supplied the project with 338 wind-turbines. On top of the $1.3 billion loan, the Caithness project is set to receive a cash grant of $490 million from the Treasury Department once those turbines start turning.

Later, another close associate of, and big donor to the president invested in Caithness. As uncovered by Peter Schweizer in his book, Throw Them All Out, "Google's CEO at the time, Eric Schmidt,  served as an informal advisor to President Obama.” Still, Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman, was an Obama donor in 2008, and since April 2009, is a member of the president's Science and Technology Advisory Council (PCAST). Interestingly, Google’s $814,540 contribution to Obama’s campaign made it the fifth largest donor in 2008. As of late, Google has aimed its "search engines" at green technology, many of which have received government "help" –– BrightSource, Solar City, Telsa Motors, and others, but we’ll stay focused on GE.

The House Oversight, March 2012 investigation reveals internal memos of concern over the fact that the Caithness Shepherds Flat project was receiving “an excessive amount of public subsidy (where grants, tax credits and loan guarantees provided 65% of the funding for the project), and that private parties did not have sufficient ‘skin in the game.’”

Further, it goes on to state, “Four months after the DOE approved the Caithness loan, President Obama named Jeff Immelt, the CEO of GE, as the Chairman of Obama’s Job Council” –– a council stacked with Democratic donors, and several Obama bundlers, both for the 2008 and 2012 campaigns.

It also discloses “General Electric’s broad access to loan guarantees,” and it gives a very illuminating account. “Since Immelt’s appointment as Chair of the Job Council, two additional government-backed transactions have occurred." "First the poorly rated 1366 Technologies, sponsored in part by GE, received a direct $150 million loan commitment from the DOE for its solar manufacturing plant." Second was the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) that 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 House investigation.

President Obama's Job Council 

However, Immelts’ “special entrée” to the White House started two years prior to that February 2011 "Job Czar" position, as a member of President Obama’s 2009 Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB). Besides Immelt’s direct access to President Obama since 2009, GE was privy to Valerie Jarrett’s September 2009 "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 Obama stimulus.

What's more is that GE personnel sit on the DOE’s Electricity Advisory Committee (EAC) of which “recommendations” from their 2008 and 2009 reports made its way into “the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and are being implemented in DOE policies and programs under the Obama administration.” Others on the EAC roster that were given DOE "green money" are American Electric Power (AEP), Austin Energy, NextEra Energy, CenterPoint Energy, to name a few.

As luck would have it, I've tracked at least five members of President Obama’s Job Council that are connected to firms that have cashed in on the green energyspending spree. Besides Immelt, winners include John Doerr partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Lewis Hay chairman and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy, Inc., Richard Parsons Chairman of the Board of Citigroup, Inc., and Penny Pritzker (also from the PERAB), whom wears many liberal hats, including a prominent position on Obama’s 2008 National Finance Committee.

As for billionaire Doerr, he too served on the PERAB, and in early 2009 extended his influence with Obama's transition team and leaders in Congress, ultimately shaping what went into the energy section of the 2009 economic stimulus package. Doerr is another big winner of government clean-energy funds through his venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, where Al Gore is also a partner.  Doerr and Gore strenuously campaigned for candidate Obama, including financial donations, and in February 2011, Doerr even hosted a lavish high-profiled "tech-exec dinner" for the president, and these days, is considered "a very big-ticket Obama donor."

Kleiner Perkins is a firm that I began to unravel in 2010, stressing that over 50 percent of their Greentech Portfolio secured all kinds of loans, grants, and special tax breaks –– placing them in an "elite green society;" yet it’s a firm to eventually revisit, because since 2010, they have tripled their "investments" and there is much more to expose.

In a twist of fate, Richard Parsons, is connected to SolarReserve and their $737 million DOE "non-investment" grade loan, of which was covered by my new ally, Marita K. Noon, Executive Director of Energy Makes America Great and columnist at As I attempt to cover the entire DOE "junk bond" Portfolio, together we will be tackling the Special Seven –– those that are not only part of the DOE's risky investments, but received millions (if not billions) from the 1603 Grant Program, both programs created by the Obama administration through the 2009 stimulus package. These firms also received fast-tracked approval by the Department of the Interior to lease federal lands in a no-bid process, and with little scrutiny over environmental issues. They include Abengoa Solar, BrightSource Energy, First Solar, Nevada Geothermal Power, NextEra Energy Resources, Ormat Nevada, and SolarReserve.
Needless to say, just last year, GE –– along with NextEra Energy (also in the House March 2012 investigation), whose CEO Lewis Hay, is also a member of Obama’s Job Council –– bought the California Desert Sunlight project from First Solar, a project that was the recipient of a $1.5 billion dollar DOE loan. Still, NextEra Energy's Genesis Solar project that received a $681.6 million DOE loan, and First Solar –– another "well-connected" solar company that was "awarded" $3 billion in DOE loan guarantees –– are both part of the Special Seven.

It's gonna be a hot summer...

Jeffrey Immelt and the American Energy Innovation Council  

2010 was a busy year for GE –– their Energy Portfolio hit $6 billion, doubling the amount it held in 2008, and Immelt formed American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC), and called for "a tripling of U.S. federal energy research budget,” a direction the president has been taking. Coincidently, this group consists of two Obama Job Council members, John Doerr and Ursula Burns, the chairman and chief executive officer of Xerox Corporation, another one that helped fill Obama‘s 2008 campaign coffers.

Additionally, principals of AEIC include Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates (along with other business bigwigs), another carbon tax pusher in cahoots with Secretary Chu, and an investor in Sapphire Energy that received a $54.4 million loan guarantee from the Department of Agriculture and $50 million grant from the DOE.

Topping the AEIC is Chad Holiday, the Chairman of the Board at Bank of America. Besides the fact that Bank of America/Merrill Lynch were both "top Obama contributors from 2003 to 2008," they also, along with NRG Energy, are investors in the San Francisco-based Prologis project that in June of 2011 secured a $1.4 billion DOE loan guarantee, which was considered non-investment grade. It's no surprise that Big Banks are not immune to the green corruption scandal, and there is much to say on that matter, yet we'll save that for later.

Nevertheless, in Schweizer's book  –– a must read by the way, naming a lengthy list of "Obama Contributors and the Stimulus Scandal" (yet, I've found more) –– Sapphire Energy has another Democrat tie, ARCH Venture Partners is a major investor, and Bob Nelson, the founding partner, served on President Obama's National Finance Committee during the 2008 campaign. However it's worth noting that Schweizer divulges that at least ten members are connected to companies that received billions of green energy money.

Obama's 2008 National Finance Committee
  • Bruce Heyman (Goldman Sachs): Gogentrix ($90 million –– Colorado), First Solar ($4.7 billion –– California), and U.S. Geothermal (96.8 million –– Oregon)
  • David Heller (Goldman Sachs): Gogentrix, First Solar, and U.S. Geothermal
  • Ian Cumming: Leucadia ($260 million –– Louisiana, $1.6 billion –– Indiana, and $1.6 billion –– Illinois)
  • Frank M. Clark and John Rogers:  Peco Energy ($200 million –– Pennsylvania)
  • Daniel Weiss and Zeb Rice: Power Span ($100 million –– N. Dakota)
  • Bob Nelson: Sapphire Energy ($135 million –– New Mexico)
  • Louis Susman: Solar Trust of America ($2.1 billion –– California) 
  • Steve Westly: Telsa, EdenIq, RecycleBank, and Amyris Biotechnologies, however, there is much more to tell about the "Green bundler with the golden touch" in another series.   

General Electric Lobbying Power and "Green Alliances": United States Climate Action Partnership, Advanced Metering Partners, Energy Technology Ventures, and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) pilot program

GE also used lobbying power to “green" their pockets. According to, in December 2010, Immelt was part of an "Obama Business Summit,” noting that GE had spent more than $32 million on lobbying, ranking them as the number three lobbying spender of 2010. Moreover, GE was extremely active in lobbying the 2009 economic stimulus package –– the "number one lobbied” piece of legislation since 2005.

In addition, GE is part of the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a cap-and-trade lobbying group comprised of more politically connected big "green" money winners –– AES, Duke Energy, Exelon Corp, NextEra Energy, NRG Energy, and PG&E, some of which GE is in cahoots with.

While cap-and-trade has yet to become law, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with Administrator Lisa Jackson and her “environmental justice” mantra , has been on a regulatory rampage. As of late, the EPA issued the First Carbon Pollution Standard, an extremely relevant area because the Obama administration’s energy policies will ensure that GE and many of these well-connected green firms, and their investors, gain more wealth at the expense of our economy and all Americans.

Not only is GE active in clean-energy advocacy and lobbying, they have 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.

Silver Spring Networks is one of Kleiner Perkins shining green companies, and they cashed in big time in 2009, when the DOE starting handing out $4 billion in Smart Grid grants, while NRG Energy –– also found in the House investigation –– is another politically connected energy company. As Schweizer's Throw Them All Out book reveals, billionaire George Soros (another 2008 Obama donor), "gave advice and direction on how President Obama should allocate so-called stimulus money," and then went on a "stock buying spree in companies that ultimately benefited from the federal stimulus," including NRG Energy.

Moreover, who benefits [the most] from the DOE's Loan Guarantee Program? "The recipient of the most 1705 loans was NRG Energy Inc., which received $3.8 billion (23.7 percent of the overall amount guaranteed under the 1705). Overall, just four companies received 64 percent, or $10.3 billion, of the total amount guaranteed under the 1705 program," states Veronique de Rugy's June 19, 2012 assessment and subsequent testimony, mentioned earlier in this article. However, there is much more astonishing data worthy of attention, but at a later time.

Meanwhile Energy Technology Ventures has its own energy tech portfolio, of which in 2009, Foro Energy “received one of the largest of the Department of Energy’s coveted ARPA-E grants with $9.1 million.” Amongst others that stand out besides 1366 Technologies, is Hara, “a company that sells software to help businesses measure and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions,” which is not only another Doerr investment (profiled in my 2010 Green Corruption series), but like many of these green firms, their massive payoff will come once mandates and regulations –– like cap-and-trade or a carbon tax –– are in place.

Further in 2009, Silver Spring Networks and GE joined forces with ComEd, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Exelon Corp., for the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) pilot program. In October 2009, ComEd was up for a $5 million DOE stimulus grant, and had applied for $175 million in ARRA federal stimulus for their AMI pilot project. It was confirmed that the AMI project was "initially funded by [the] $5 million DOE stimulus grant" and that additional federal funding was also received; yet the exact amount is unknown at this time. 

Besides Exelon making it on that "top Obama contributors list," in August of 2011, they were the recipient of a $656 million loan for the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch, one of the non-investment grade loans listed in the House investigation. It must be a Chicago thing, because as of July 2011, Frank Clark then CEO of the ComEd unit (their chief state lobbyist) had raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for President Obama and the DNC for 2012, marking Mr. Clark as an Obama bundler for both campaigns. However there is an even more complex Obama, Exelon story to share that includes Clark, Exelon CEO John Rowe as well as other high-profiled Democrats –– Obama's former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel and chief political strategist, David Axelrod –– uh, and more stimulus money. But again, I digress...

More GE "Green" Awards 

Now, if you spend some time at or snooping around any of the energy-trade magazines and news, you'll find more taxpayer funded GE "green awards." However, with a team of investigators, I'm confident much more would be discovered.

  •  June 2010: South Carolina Recovery Act Memo –– "General Electric Gas Turbines, LLC, based in Greenville, was awarded a clean energy tax credit for $26.9 million to manufacture heavy-duty gas turbines."
  • July 16, 2009: "DOE Announces Nearly $14 Million to go to 28 New Wind Energy Projects, including $12.8 million in Recovery Act funds" and General Electric's Wind Turbine Manufacturing Process Monitoring (Niskayuna, NY) was awarded $697,769.
  • July 20, 2010: "DOE Announces $30 Million for Energy-Efficient Housing
    Partnerships...and the following is a brief description of the selected teams, of which will each receive between $500,000 and $2.5 million depending on their performance." General Electric is on the Building Industry Research Alliance (BIRA) team.
  • July 29, 2009: "DOE Announces Awards for up to $11 Million for New Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems (PVPowered will partner with Portland General Electric)," and the DOE cost share is up to $3 million.
  • October 2010: "Department of Energy Announces Third Grant for U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center," whereas "$12.5 million will be given over the next five years to lead a consortium on energy-efficient building technologies under the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC)," of which GE is part of. 
  • August 2011: GE won $1.3 million DOE funding for Carbon Capture R&D
  • December 2011: GE won $10 million in DOE funding for a smart grid project in the town of Lessburg Florida
  • December 2011: GE Global Research in Niskayna, New York was awarded $1.36 million grant to improve the efficiency of EV’s 
  • And so on...
Yep, GE is making bank off "green" –– over $3 billion, and counting, adding them to that "elite green society," along with some of their co-conspirators and cohorts like NRG Energy, Kleiner Perkins, The Westly Group, Google, VantagePoint Ventures, Goldman Sachs, Big Oil, Big Banks, and others.

Moreover, as this scandal is unfolded, GE can also be placed into two more categories: "Five Obama Job Council Members" as wells as those "Stimulus Authors" that have cashed in on the president's "green" agenda, including the $800 billion stimulus package where over ten percent –– $80 billion taxpayer dollars –– was earmarked for renewable energy, which was meant to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

However, it is only stimulating the pockets of President Obama and high-ranking Democrat cronies. Oh, as for "those jobs"...that's another story. Still, those invited to this "green" table are the ultra-rich willing to "pay to play," even catapulting them into more wealth, while we the taxpayers are only allowed to pay the tab. That should anger all Americans.