Saturday, April 11, 2015

Energy Department Fuels More Corporate Welfare: Awards politically connected corporate giant Alcoa $259 million 'green' car loan

Photo from The Motley Fool site:
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz (L)
"experiences the all-new Ford-F150." 
Just as I was about to take an extended hiatus from my green corruption work, another "green" crony car deal was hatched.

Last month, the Department of Energy (DOE), with $16.5 billion lending power left, and despite funding flops, refueled its green car loan program and doled out $259 million of taxpayer money to the “multinational conglomerate” Alcoa Inc., of which, according to Paul Chesser of National Legal and Policy Center, wait for it… “Doesn’t need the cash.”

Chesser goes on: “Alcoa’s expansion project for which the funding is targeted – to produce special aluminum for automotive companies in Tennessee – has already been underway for 19 months and was first revealed almost two years ago.”

Worse is that this Big Corporation “had $23 billion in revenues in fiscal year 2013 and ended the year with $35.7 billion in assets,” which adds another corporate welfare recipient to the list of green car loans. The two previous were Ford Motor Co., which in September 2009, scored $5.9 billion (more like a bailout), and Nissan Motor Corp. that in January 2010, snagged a $1.45 billion.

Known as the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program, it was established in Section 136 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to support the production of fuel-efficient, advanced technology vehicles (ATVs) and qualifying components in the United States. While it was created under President Bush, the Obama administration, from 2009 to 2011, dished out five loans (out of 100 applications) totaling $8.4 billion of taxpayer money.

Three of the five loans are directly tied to President Obama's political pals; meanwhile, "both Ford and Nissan were heavily engaged in negotiations with the administration over fuel economy standards for model years 2012- 2016 at the time DOE was considering their applications." Moreover, "both companies eventually expressed publicly their support for these standards, which the administration described as the 'Historic Agreement.'"

Those facts and more can be found inside the March 2012 House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Report, which laid out a compelling case of cronyism and corruption behind the entire DOE's Loan Guarantee Program, including a series of issues, mismanagement as well as collateral damage in regards to the ATVM loans (pp. 68-74).

It's the same government program that fueled the Fisker Automotive fiasco, which was once the "green car dream" of President Obama's ultra-rich friends Al Gore and John Doerr. Long story short: Awarded $529 million from the Energy Department in April 2010, Fisker failed in November 2013 when it crashed into bankruptcy. Second is Vehicle Production Group –– tied to another wealthy and politically connected Obama bundler –– won $50 million in March 2011, and was shut down in February 2013.

Meanwhile, documented Chesser, “Nissan and Ford Motor Company received billions of dollars to spur electric vehicle production, but none of their models have taken off and none would be sustainable without massive subsidies.”

Lastly, there’s the president's billionaire buddy Elon Musk and his green car company “Tesla Motors –– the one alleged 'success' story from the program –– paid back its $465 million ATVM loan and has plenty of stock market fanatics, but is far from profitable and is largely surviving on hype and other subsidies,” notes Chesser.

In fact, my February 2015 Green Corruption File chronicled all the dirty details on the green car loans and much more: Obama Administration Fueling Friends and Failure: At least $10 billion of taxpayer money blown on ‘green’ cars, NOT so ‘green.’

Energy Department Loan Program Touts Job Creation: $234,000 per "green car" job 

Chesser writes that the “excuse for this financing –– considering that ATVM’s purpose was to support production of alternative energy-powered automobiles –– is to produce “high-strength” aluminum for automakers “looking to lightweight their vehicles.” Yes, they used “lightweight” as a verb, and claimed the funding would create an additional 200 factory jobs and 400 construction jobs in the process.”

Republican Senator Lamar Alexander –– a "top candidate recipient" of Alcoa contributions in 2013-2014 ($7,500) –– praised the move the day of the March 26, 2015 DOE announcement, stating, “This is good news for Alcoa and Tennessee." “Today, more than one-third of Tennessee manufacturing jobs are auto related, and investment in advanced manufacturing is an important part of how our state will continue to attract good-paying jobs.”

However, as Chesser points out: "A $259 million 'investment' for 200 factory jobs and 400 temporary construction jobs works out to high-six figures per job; if you count just the 'permanent' jobs produced, the taxpayer backing comes out to $1.2 million per job."

Yep, more Energy Department delusion...

I wonder if that high-paying job comes with a taxpayer subsidized Ford F-150. If so, sign me up!

For those following my work know that I've shared these startling statistics before, but it's worth a reminder: In April 2013, Veronique de Rugy from the Mercatus Center, addressed the green car loan program in her piece, "Cronyism: Green Car Edition," of which she wrote: 

The DOE touted the ATVM loan program as a tool for boosting America’s “clean energy economy” by adding nearly 38,700 jobs. Far less attention was paid to how the loan commitments exposed taxpayers to excessive risk, to the tune of about $217,028 per job “created or saved.” [See chart left].

  1. Fisker Automotive: $529 million in April 2010 / Bankrupt: November 2013 = 2,000 jobs: Taxpayer lost = $160 million plus $21 million from the state of Delaware 
  2. The Vehicle Production Group LLC (VPG): $50 million in March 2011 / Shut Down: February 2013 = 900 jobs / taxpayer lost = $50 million 
  3. Tesla Motors: $465 million in January 2010 / Paid back loan: May 2013 = 1,500 jobs 
  4. Ford Motor Company: $5.9 billion in September 2009 = 33,000 jobs 
  5. Nissan North America, Inc.: $1.45 billion in January 2010 = 1,300 jobs 

Now, if we take away the 2000 Fisker jobs ($160 million loss) and the 900 VPG jobs ($50 million loss), this means that the Energy Department still spent about $8.4 billion. But at the end of the day, all we got out of the deal was 35,8000 green car jobs, which places the per job figure over $234,000. And now with Alcoa on our radar (it's conditional after all), we'll see where the Energy Department's green car jobs land.

In addition, it's interesting that Ford lobbied for and benefited from (as did Nissan) the stimulus-created $3 billion "Cash for Clunkers" disaster, which at the time (2009), many jokes circled around the Obama program, yet some concluded that it was "more of a political maneuver than substantive help for the U.S. auto industry — or the environment."

And it seems Ford, which as mentioned, was awarded that $5.9 billion DOE partial bailout, they also get a boost from the Alcoa DOE deal, because Alcoa is Ford's aluminum supplier, as documented by The Motley Fool:
Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is at the leading edge of this shift, using aluminum to reduce the weight of its uber-popular F-150 pickup. Now the Blue Oval and other companies could get a boost from the Department of Energy, which this week announced a conditional commitment for $259 million in funding to enable Ford's aluminum supplier, Alcoa (NYSE: AA), to expand its manufacturing capacity. This loan would keep Alcoa's costs down so it can provide affordable aluminum to automakers.

But there’s more….

Alcoa: "Corporate giant and its leaders have deep ties to the Obama administration"

Alcoa Inc. ("contributions and spending by affiliates of this organization"), according to Center for Responsive Politics, over the years has given generously to both sides of the political isle. However, 2008, 2010, and 2012 were predominantly blue –– with Tim Scott (R-SC), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Bruce Braley (D-IA), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) top recipients of Alcoa campaign cash during 2013-2014.

In 2008, we find that Alcoa funded more Democrats than Republicans, with both Senator Hillary Clinton ($15,901) and Senator Barack Obama ($14,413) leading the top of the list. Meanwhile, for the 2012 presidential election, Alcoa gave $13,102 to Barack Obama and $7,575 to Mitt Romney.

Also according Center for Responsive Politics, as of 2014, there were six members of congress that own Alcoa shares:
  1. Cantor, Eric (R-VA)
  2. Castor, Kathy (D-FL)
  3. Coble, Howard (R-NC)
  4. Grijalva, Raul M (D-AZ)
  5. Pelosi, Nancy (D-CA)
  6. Price, David (D-NC)

On the other hand, there are some key executives that have shared access and influence with the Obama White House, which was well documented by Jillian Kay Melchior at in her April 1, 2015 piece, "More taxpayer money goes to another ‘green’ Obama backer."

Daniel Cruise: Corporate Vice President for Business Development and Global Affairs, Alcoa Inc. since October 2009
Daniel Cruise — who became Alcoa’s vice president of government and public affairs the same year Obama took office — has been a big Obama bundler, raising between $50,000 and $100,000, according to He has also donated thousands of dollars to Democrats, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

According to his bio, "Prior to joining Alcoa, Daniel was Managing Director of the Albright Stonebridge Group, a global business advisory group. Prior to that he served in the White House as Assistant Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs and was on the staff of the National Security Council. He started his career working for JP Morgan & Company."

Jake Siewert: Alcoa executive from 2001 to 2009
Then there’s Jake Siewert. A former press secretary for Bill Clinton, Siewert worked as an Alcoa executive from 2001 to 2009, when the Obama administration tapped him to serve as a special adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

While Siewert, in 2001, became Alcoa's Vice President Global Communications and Public Strategy, in 2008 he was named "Vice President, Business Development and Public Strategy," giving him credit for his 2004 creation of the company’s first sustainability office.

Alcoa also notes that, "prior to joining Alcoa, Mr. Siewert served as the White House press secretary from 2000-2001, where he was principal spokesperson for President Clinton’s foreign and domestic policy. Earlier, he was special assistant to the President for Economic Affairs for the National Economic Council at the White House."

Yep, Siewert is part of "Obama's Revolving Door" ––  exposed Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner back in March of 2012: 
Jake Siewert was VP for "public strategy" at Alcoa, a supporter and beneficiary of President Obama's proposed climate and fuel-economy policies, when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner hired him up as a "counselor" in 2009. Siewert, an alumnus of the Clinton White House, left Treasury last summer, and today we learn that he is headed to Goldman Sachs to be "managing director and head of global corporate communications."

Klaus Kleinfeld: Current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alcoa since April 2010 (lots in between and Alcoa director since 2003)
President Barack Obama tours the Alcoa factory 
in Bettendorf, Iowa, June 28, 2011. 
(Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
The Obama administration has also repeatedly partnered with Alcoa to promote its manufacturing initiatives. In 2011, the president toured Alcoa’s facilities in Davenport, Iowa, using the plant as a setting for a speech that promoted his half-trillion-dollar [I found over $500 million] Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP).

This special June 2011 visit was promoted as a means to "Highlight the Role of Advanced Manufacturing in U.S. Job Creation and Exports," of which Alcoa Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld (also reported to be a big Obama donor), "bragged that he was excited to share with the president "[their] American manufacturing success story."
Two years later [September 2013], President Obama chose Alcoa’s chairman and chief executive officer, Klaus Kleinfeld, to serve on the partnership’s steering committee.
This is the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee that was created by President Obama in 2011, and includes additional Corporate Big Wigs. also pointed out the following:
By 2014, Alcoa had also become the founding member of the National Lightweight and Modern Metals Innovation Institute in Detroit, an Obama-administration program that will receive $140 million in federal funding, in addition to $140 million from Michigan taxpayers.

And last year, Alcoa, along with Dow Chemical Corp. and Siemens [both also part of the AMP steering committee], helped the White House develop a national guide for apprenticeship programs.

Alcoa's Inside Lobbying Job 

It's important to note that Alcoa has been a die-hard lobbyists dishing out anywhere from $600,000 to $1.9 million each year, totaling $29,862,000 since 1998. However, since 2010, there was a significant increase, which places their recent four-year total (2010 to 2014) north of $13 million.

And where do they spend all their lobbying cash?

Toward "Misc Manufacturing & Distributing," which again is found at Center for Responsive Politics. Since 2005, the annual lobbying for that industry either nears or exceeds a $100 million  –– and Alcoa, since at least 2007, is always in the top 10.

But exposes how inside lobbying works:
As Alcoa cozies up to the White House, it has been playing a cynical political game, pushing for more-stringent fuel-efficiency standards and decreased U.S. emissions. Keep in mind these are the very regulations that spawned the Advanced Technologies Vehicle Manufacturing Fund, from which Alcoa will now receive taxpayer cash.
Additionally, they bring to the forefront key points which were exposed by Tim Carney in the Washington Examiner, in his 2010 piece: "Alcoa's loves green, but not the environment." 

"The policies for which Alcoa has lobbied “act as energy taxes — effectively taxing the weight of a car.” 

“Absent such regulations, an aluminum car frame is much more expensive than a steel car frame,” Carney wrote. “With these regulations, aluminum, which is lighter, becomes more desirable.”
Carney goes on:

So what's the problem? Alcoa is getting rich, but more people are driving lighter-weight, more efficient cars, right? Industry and the Earth both win, right? Hardly. 
And, Jillian Kay Melchior summarizes the deception here: 
And never mind that purifying aluminum is extremely carbon-intensive, he notes; that part of the process takes place in Australia, where U.S. environmental regulations don’t apply. In the end, Carney rightly concludes, “Alcoa’s green agenda not only costs consumers more, but it also leads to more greenhouse-gas emissions and more coal being burned — and those who oppose this agenda are demonized for selling out the planet.

In closing...

Still, demonization may be the least of our problems in fighting the Green Left's radical environmental agenda, which is engulfed in mass hypocrisy –– as reflected in my last exposé: "Climate Change: The Obama Regime’s never-ending fear mongering campaign."

What difference –– at this point, what difference does it make?
Photo from The Examiner (12/2013) via
"Obama administration won't prosecute
wind farm eagle deaths"

Well, as our Nation drowns in debt, it does matter, because with an agency, under the Obama administration, that has already disbursed in excess of $252 billion, this is another "green" corporate welfare check to keep our eyes on –– even as the entire $32.4 billion DOE loan program (both stimulus and non-stimulus funds) has been used for political payback, robbing us in order to boost their BIG "green" corporate cronies and billionaire buddies.

During tax season (and year round), this should upset all Americans.  Well, at least the ones that pay taxes anyway.  

Not to mention that our hard-earned cash continues to be funneled to President Obama's "save the planet slush fund," which has topped $200 billion so far, and includes climate change money in conjunction with this gigantic green energy (clean, renewable and alternative) scheme. 

Yet, considering that transparency is an issue with this White House, who knows the real cost –– financially as well as the freedom and prosperity of regular Americans. You know, those of us that don't have special access and influence "Inside the Beltway".

Even so, despite the fact that the climate debate is NOT settled (is the Earth going to blow up in a massive fireball, or is our planet about to freeze over?), the Obama administration is on fire, crafting climate legislation, rules, regulations, mandates, and executive orders, which benefit special interest groups and prop up the rich, while adversely affecting American families, and dramatically hurting the poor –– all the while pimping mass hysteria in order to justify it all.

Let's remember, too, that much of it –– wind, solar, electric cars, biofuels, etc. as well as Alcoa's light-weight aluminum –– is NOT so green, clean, smart, cheap, safe, stable, or even environmentally friendly. But in reality, it's mostly a ruse (a green racket) for a big, intrusive and corrupt government, with some wanting, as I've stated before, to ultimately usher in a very dark and destructive political system (maybe even world dominance), leading its Earth People and those of us unwilling Americans into the abyss.

Lastly, while The Green Corruption Files, since late 2009, has been exposing this "Green Heist" as the largest, most expensive and deceptive case of crony capitalism in American history, this new development not only vindicates my warnings, but is more evidence that this scheme is endless.

That's unless Americans stand up and say (vote), "ENOUGH!"