Monday, June 11, 2012

Obama-Tied Troubled First Solar $3 Billion DOE Loans Produce Majority of Jobs Oversees, CEO Sold His Own Stock –– Plus More "Clean-Energy Dirt" Exposed

Since the finalization of three DOE loan guarantees at a price tag of over $3 billion of taxpayer money, First Solar has "experienced serious financial problems," in October 2011 fired their CEO Robert Gillette (replaced by former CEO and company founder Mike Ahearn), suffered from declining stock value, and back in April 2012, you guessed it, "laid off 2,000 workers and closed factories." If that wasn't bad enough, now in May, "the firm announced a massive round of furloughs," but it gets more convoluted...

Follow the Obama Bundlers and Donors –– First Solar Investors
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 –– not to mention the Obama administration "is infested" with Goldman Sachs executives.

Furthermore, two Goldman executives sat on Obama's 2008 Finance Committee –– Bruce Heyman and David Heller, while Jennifer Scully and Bruce Heyman were 2008 Obama bundlers. According to the Wall Street Journal in 2009, Obama’s Wall Street Buddies, "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."

NOTE: JPEG is what I found during my research in 2010 and 2011 (Goldman Sachs Environmental Markets)
which is no longer available on the Goldman Sachs site.

Also, in Peter Schweizer’s New York Times bestseller, Throw Them All Out, is recorded more interesting data on First Solar. For example, another First Solar investor is billionaire Paul Tudor Jones, who was a 2008 Obama bundler, and the CEO of First Solar, Michael Ahearn, "gives generously (and exclusively) to Democrats."

Troubled First Solar Under Extreme Oversight Heat,  Including its CEO Michael Ahearn
Speaking of Mr. Ahearn, during the May 16, 2012 House Oversight Committee hearing, CA Representative Darrell Issa surmised that First Solar is "not an American company." It turns out that the numbers don't lie because Ahearn admitted, "in sheer numbers, most of our full time [employees] are outside the US." Yep folks, the majority of the jobs that the DOE funded with taxpayer money are going oversees.  

More outrageous information came out of a brutal "House Oversight" confrontation, where Mr. Ahearn, admitted to selling over 700,000 shares in August 2011, of which he personally raked in a whopping $68.5 million! Yet, according to, this has been going on for a while, "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."  

Yet, two weeks after this hearing, where Ahearn had told members of the House Oversight committee that his company “remains financially strong and well positioned to execute through the current market environment," First Solar announced that they have "furloughed half of the 240-person workforce at its Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One (AVSR1) power plant near Los Angeles" as reported by The Washington Free Beacon –– FIRST SOLAR FURLOUGH.

Oh, but as Fist Solar sinks and taxpayers lose, the CEO Ahearn is not the only one cashing in. Another Obama ally, 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" –– again unraveled by The Washington Free Beacon just today. 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." 

And, the DOE is not the only government agency that played favorites with First Solar...

First Solar has been facing scrutiny by the Senate Budget Committee over the fact they are part of the "Special Solar Seven" that in March 2009 "received fast-tracked approval by the Department of Interior (DOI) to lease federal lands in a no-bid process," story also tracked by The Washington Free Beacon.  As reported last week by the Washington Examiner, "Lawmakers fear that several politically connected green energy companies received special treatment from the Interior and Energy departments due to their relationship with Obama. [Last November], they focused their inquiry on six companies in particular: Abengoa Solar, BrightSource Energy, First Solar, Nevada Geothermal Power, NextEra Energy Resources and SolarReserve." However, as of late, President Obama's Interior Department –– Interior Secretary Ken Salazar –– is "following the same playbook" as Energy Secretary Steven Chu: "stall, and give Congress as little information and documentation as possible." 

First Solar and Energy Secretary Chu's "DOE's Junk Bond Portfolio"
First Solar is not directly in the "DOE junk bond inventory" that I reported on in April (Green Corruption: Department of Energy “Junk Loans” and Cronyism –– Intro), but are they are linked to three of the projects on that list. 
  1. Agua Caliente, Arizona –– Rating BB+ by Fitch, Aug 2011 for $967 million –– was purchased by NRG Solar, LLC, and a subsidiary of NRG Energy. It turns out that the plant would supply power to PG&E, and be made with panels from the Temp-based First Solar inc. See my NRG and George Soros post, BREAKING: NRG Energy on the DOE Cronyism Hot Seat, Also Tied to George Soros. Also, electricity from Agua Caliente will be sold under a 25-year power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric Co, (another Big Energy firm making BANK off of green energy, including government subsidies that just so happens to be politically connected to the president and the Democrat party)
  2. Antelope Valley Solar Ranch, California –– Rating BBB- by Fitch, Sept 2011 for $646 million –– was purchased by Exelon Corpyet First Solar, which developed the project, "will build, operate, and maintain the project." Interesting that Exelon Corp. was another 2008 Obama donor, and the AVR project has a 25-year purchase power agreement from PG&E as well.
  3. Desert Sunlight, California –– Rating BBB- by Fitch; Sept 2011 for $1.2 billion (or $1.46 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." Coincidentally, 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 a whopping $529,855 to his 2008 campaign and reaping billions of green-energy dollars), and there is much to report on both GE and NextEra, in the near future. 
Initially, the DOE had granted conditional loans guarantees to three First Solar projects totaling over  $4.5 billion, yet First Solar's Topaz project located in San Luis Obispo, CA (for $1.5 billion) was not finalized. Later the Topaz project was purchased by (Obama buddy") Warren Buffet for $2 billion, and somehow the Agua Caliente project ended up snagging that $967 million loan guarantee, thus giving First Solar over $3 billion of green-government loans.

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 wells as "persistent pressure" with even a "threatening" letter to Jonathan Silver documented. And Silver, the former DOE Loan Adviser, according to WSJ Barron’s Magazine (July 10, 2010), had been a managing partner at Core Capital Partners in Washington. Coincidentally, one of Silver's colleagues there was Tom Wheeler, another Obama-Biden fund 2008 bundler. While Silver was supposed to help Chu accelerate loan reviews, he resigned from the DOE this year, amidst the Solyndra Scandal.

Also, within the pages the report released last month by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, evidence emerged "indicating that DOE manipulated analysis and strategically modified evaluations in order to get the [First Solar] loans out the door."

Goldman Sachs DNA all Over "Green" 
Besides First Solar, there are two more Goldman investments that happen to be on the "DOE junk bond list" that received government loans:
  • Cogentrix of Alamosa, LLC (a wholly owned subsidiary of Goldman Sachs), which had a "B Rating" by Fitch, in September 2011 snagged a $90.6 million DOE loan for a solar site in Colorado. 
  • U.S. Geothermal, Inc (Malheur County, Oregon) with a "BB Rating" by S&P, in February 2011 got a $97 million DOE loan. Schweizer' book notes that Goldman Sachs is the second largest shareholder of U.S. Geothermal. Yet, in 2010 I found more green-government subsidies for U.S. Geothermal...
Since my 2010 and 2011 research, it seems that Goldman Sachs' website has gone through a makeover, and their “Environmental Markets Financing and Advisory ” section clients include at least two green firms that stand out immediately. Both were also recipients of millions of DOE money and have meaningful connections to President Obama, the DOE, and Democrats

While this opens up a need to unveil more "Big Green Favored Portfolios," and much more, here is a snippet:
  • Tesla Motors IPO: Obama Bundler and DOE Advisor, Steven Westly snagged a $465 million ATVM DOE loan (one of five), and in 2011 was tagged as the "Green bundler with the golden touch." While IWatch points to "a trail of [green] loans, grants and tax breaks," I found more –– as of January 2012, over 40% (and counting) of The Westly Group portfolio were winners in the "Obama's Green Spending Spree."
  • Amyris, Inc. IPO: Not only is this company a Westly investment, but also a Kleiner Perkins and Khosla Ventures investment –– both comprise of "heavy-weight" Obama supporters, whose firms snagged multiple green-government contracts, another trail we will expose in due time. Also, according to Peter Schweizer, "California Senator Diane Feinstein and her husband invested $1 million into Amyris Biotechnologies just weeks prior to the company receiving a $24 million grant from the Department of Energy (DOE)." 
Furthermore, it has been reported that Goldman Sachs is credited as the “exclusive financial adviser” for Solyndra, and in June 2009, SpectraWatt, another Goldman Sachs investment, received a $500,000 grant from National Renewable Energy Lab via the stimulus. However, SpectraWatt filed for bankruptcy in 2011, but not before giving "five company executives, including Richard J. Haug, SpectraWatt's President and COO, six-figure 'insider payments' totaling more than $745,000," a very disturbing trend that seems to accompany many taxpayer-funded green firms that go bust!   

Back in 2009 –– since the passing of President Obama's Taxpayer Funded Stimulus Spending Spree, of which over $80 billion was earmarked for alternative energy –– is when I began following the green money. At that time, I uncovered some riveting revelations and connections about Goldman Sachs. But what I found most fascinating came from Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone Magazine piece and video, where he exposed Goldman Sachs' "long-standing and very deep ties to the Democratic Party," and their "long history of putting their former employees in Democratic administrations." 

I won't reiterate, but it can be found in my 2010 blog, Green Corruption: The Plot Thickens, yet worth repeating are some other Goldman Sachs' firms and projects that received "green dollars" that I found when I took a brief look. 
  1. One of the early investments reported by Matt Taibbi in his July 2009 Rolling Stone Magazine article –– The Great American Bubble Machine, warning that Goldman Sachs is "helping create the next bubble, 'global warming' –– was Horizon Wind Energy. Back in 2010 Horizon was still on the Goldman Sachs Environmental Markets portfolio, but reported as owned by Portuguese EDP Renewables. Still, it turns out that they won a $229.8 million grant from the "green stimulus package," as reported by in December 2009, pointing out that it was one of the "top grant recipients." The article also notes, "European companies have scooped up the majority of U.S. stimulus money set aside for wind power projects."
  2. Nordic Windpower, funded by Goldman Sachs and Khosla Ventures (and others) –– Vinod Khosla, an affiliated partner of Kleiner Perkins  –– in July 2009 announced that it had "received a conditional commitment for a $16 million loan guarantee offer from the US Department of Energy (DOE), supported through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."
  3.  U.S. Geothermal Inc. –– an Idaho-based geothermal energy developer with three main projects in the works (San Emidio in Nevada, Raft River in Idaho, and Neal Hot Springs in Oregon) with plans for more –– are a Goldman Sachs investment and they are a 5.98% shareholder in the company. 
  • Back in October 2009, the San Emidio Project, a 3.6 megawatts power plant in Nevada was awarded $3.77 million in federal stimulus money.  
  • Also, in February 2010 it was declared that "work has begun" on USG's Raft River Project –– a $10 million Enhanced Geothermal System grant program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.  
  • Lastly, June 2010, USG announced that it “was offered a conditional commitment for a $102.2-million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy," slated to build a 22-megawatt power plant in the eastern Oregon desert –– the Neal Hot Springs Project. The Associated Press reported that "once it [the Neal Hot Springs Project] is done (around 2012), the company is counting on a separate, $34 million federal tax rebate" –– money that's part of the 2009 federal stimulus act meant to help spur investment in renewable energy, which will help pay down the federal loan as well as pay off some private investors."
Make no mistake my taxpayer friends, I'm sure there is much more than the close to $5 billion of green government subsidies that Goldman Sachs has received from the Obama administration –– this is just what a "concerned citizen" found, and from what I gather, Goldman isn't done yet...Green Alert by Reuters on May 23, 2012: "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." 


It's clear what $1 million in Obama campaign donations buys –– billions in taxpayer money funneled to Goldman Sachs investments. While it's obvious that cronyism and corruption are the driving forces behind the "clean-energy" money doled out by our government since Obama became president. And, the majority is going to President Obama and Democrat "friends," mainly campaign donors –– yep, tens of billions of green taxpayer dollars used as political payback! 

However, there is another problem with this picture, President Obama's rhetoric does NOT match reality on a quite a few fronts...

Vilifying the Rich
As President Obama continually vilifies "fat cat bankers at Wall Street," then pandering to "Occupy Wall Street," using class warfare as part of his 2012 campaign strategy, he is clearly comfortable taking Wall Street donations and having them occupy high-level important positions in the within his administration –– All the president’s Goldman Sachs men; Update: A look at the White House visitor logs 
Maybe worse (or very upsetting at best) is the fact that most of the green dollars were steered toward millionaires and billionaires, as divulged in Schweizer’s New York Times bestseller, Throw Them All Out –– released last November and featured on 60 Minutes –– where he devotes an entire chapter to alternative-energy, "Spreading the Wealth... to Billionaires!" Schweizer analysis, –– Obama Campaign Backers and Bundlers [were] Rewarded With Green Grants and Loans" –– was startling, "71 percent," yet, another look by the Heritage Foundation, quotes Schweizer's findings at 80%!

Be that as it may, I concluded through my extensive research in April of this year that over 85% of the "DOE junk bond" portfolio from the 1705 Loan Program alone, (where 21 energy companies are behind the 27 projects found in the House Oversight investigation) are politically connected to President Obama (15 alone) and the Democrat Party, in the realm of campaign donations, support and more!

Broken Promises –– Corruption Abounds
President Obama railed against the culture of greed and recklessness practiced by Wall Street, even in 2009 stating, "Wall Street Arrogance and Greed Won't Be Tolerated!" Yet, despite the fact that "Obama came into office vowing to end business as usual," and hold Big Banks accountable for their part in the 2008 financial crisis, where's the justice

And what about the practices being used by those taxpayer-funded green companies that "go bust" or are in serious trouble? Like paying their executive bonuses, selling there stock in the midst of financial trouble, "green" insider trading, and so much more yet to report.

Bain Capital vs. Obama's Public Equity Record
Lastly, as the 2012 election recently heated up, the Obama Team (and their surrogates) attempted to brutalize GOP nominee Mitt Romney via his time at Bain Capital (although he took donations from Bain), yet many on the "right" fired back attacking Obama’s public-equity record!

Some predict that "Bain is a dead," issue in the 2012 presidential race, yet Byron York of the Washington Examiner, sees a much different scenario –– Obama will bang on Bain Capital as fight heats up.

I happen to agree with Mr. York, and believe that since the economy is the number one issue in our country, the comparison will be central to this coming election. It's fair others and I say, "BRING IT," and How About the Record of DOE Capital? 

It's obvious as the to cronyism and corruption happening on the "green front" –– both federally and the state levels –– however, the actual figure of Obama-subsidized FAILED clean-energy companies is yet to be realized, but I have tracked close to 30 at this point.  

What About Those Promised 5 Million Green Jobs?
On the campaign trail in 2008, "Obama promised that a $150 billion investment would generate 5 million jobs over 10 years." However, according to Politico last May, "Nearly three years into Obama's presidency, the White House can't point to much solid evidence that significant numbers of Americans are scoring the green jobs the president has been touting." Even Reuters' recent analysis states, "Obama's 'green jobs' have been slow to sprout."

And to add insult to injury, many of those taxpayer-funded green companies like First Solar, Al Gore and John Doerr's Fisker Automotive, and others are sending jobs oversees. Furthermore, the House Oversight recently released revelations on how the DOE touted “misleading job creation statistics," and the Obama administration's Department of Labor's ludicrous method of calculating "green jobs."

Stay tuned, I'm just getting started...


  1. The Tesla example is the one counter-instance: it will begin accelerated loan repayments this year. No thanks to the Administration, it just happens that Elon Musk, engineer, founder, and CEO, is a workaholic genius whose projects (SpaceX, SolarCity, Tesla) get huge bang for the buck and produce superior products.

    TeslaMotors is a public company, now. If you think it's a scam, short the stock. And be prepared to take a scalding hot bath.

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