by Wynton Hall
In the wake of Peter Schweizer’s explosive revelation that 80 percent of the Department of Energy’s $20.5 billion in green energy loans went to President Barack Obama’s fundraisers and donors, CBS News is now reporting that the Obama Administration spent billions of taxpayer dollars on 11 more Solyndra-style loans to so-called green energy companies that have since gone bankrupt or are facing serious financial difficulty.
CBS News’s Sharyl Attkisson, the reporter who originally broke the Solyndra story, notes that 11 other failed clean energy companies besides Solyndra received approval for $6.5 billion in taxpayer monies. Beacon Power, Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt, Eastern Energy, and Solyndra have all gone bankrupt. Others, such as Nevada Geothermal Power, a company that was personally touted by Sen. Harry Reid, is facing serious financial problems and warned of “multiple potential defaults” in its new SEC filings. Still, despite the fact that the company had already been struggling to “pay the bills,” Ms. Attkinson reports that Nevada Geothermal Power received $98.5 million in Department of Energy loan guarantees.
The CBS report also cites First Solar, a company that Breitbart News editor Peter Schweizer reported on extensively in his bestselling book, Throw Them All Out, as having been approved for billions in government loans. In 2011, First Solar won the inauspicious title as having been the biggest S&P loser in 2011.
Moreover, First Solar has strong ties to Mr. Obama’s top fundraisers. As Mr. Schweizer reported for Breitbart News, Obama bundler Bruce Heyman was with Goldman Sachs which, along with billionaire Ted Turner, are among the largest investors in First Solar. So far, Mr. Heyman has already raised $366,884 for Mr. Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. And Schweizer’s says in 2008, Mr. Turner’s companies donated more than $1 million in campaign contributions to Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign. Whether these political contributions helped First Solar land its whopping $4.7 billion in loan guarantees, the appearance at least of cronyism is certainly strong.
According to CBS News, the Department of Energy also knew that Beacon Power, a “green energy storage company,” was an all-but doomed investment that had received an embarrassing “CCC-plus” rating from Standard and Poor, making it little more than a “junk bond.” Economist Peter Morici told CBS that investments with that kind of rating have roughly a 70 percent chance of failing over the long term. Still, despite knowing how poor an investment Beacon Power was, the Obama Administration dumped $43 million of taxpayer dollars into it.
Mr. Morici told CBS that Secretary of Energy Steven Chu lies at the heart of the problem:
Tasking a Nobel Prize mathematician [Chu] to make investments for the U.S. government is like asking the manager of the New York Yankees to be the general in charge of America’s troops in Afghanistan. It’s that absurd.Unmentioned in the report was the fact that the men Mr. Obama put in charge of deciding which companies would receive the Department of Energy’s loans and grants were not scientists at all; rather, they were instead Mr. Obama’s top fundraisers, such as Steve Spinner who was on the Obama campaign’s National Finance Committee and was a bundler himself.
Perhaps that explains why the Department of Energy refused CBS News’s interview request.