Who Is Better Off Under Obama's Energy Policy?

While Americans Struggle At The Pump, Green Energy Investors Benefit From Crony Capitalism


SKYROCKETING GAS PRICES HAVE AMERICANS STRUGGLING AT THE PUMP

Since Obama Took Office, The National Average For A Gallon Of Regular Gasoline Has Increased From $1.85 To $3.80. ( Energy Information Administration , Accessed 3/12/12; AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report , Accessed 3/13/12)

"Last Month Turned Out To Be The Most Expensive January Ever At U.S. Gasoline Pumps ..." (Ronald D. White, "Average U.S. Gas Prices Hover At Record-High Levels," Los Angeles Times , 2/7/12)

"2011 Closed Out As The Year With The Highest Average Annual Oil Price In The 150-Year History Of The Modern Oil Industry" And U.S. Gasoline Prices Hit An All Time Record Annual High For A Gallon Of Regular. "Already, 2011 closed out as the year with the highest average annual oil price in the 150-year history of the modern oil industry at $111 for a barrel of Brent crude, 13 percent higher than the previous record of $98 a barrel in 2008. U.S. gasoline prices also reached a record annual average high at $3.52 for a gallon of regular." (Coral Davenport, "Rising Oil Prices Could Fuel Political Rage," National Journal , 1/7/12)

  • "Government And Industry Analysts Predict That Those Prices Will Only Continue To Rise In The Coming Year." (Coral Davenport, "Rising Oil Prices Could Fuel Political Rage," National Journal , 1/7/12)

" Most Americans Say Higher Prices Are Already Taking A Toll On Family Finances, And Nearly Half Say They Think That Prices Will Continue To Rise, And Stay High ." (Dan Balz And Jon Cohen, "Gas Prices Sink Obama's Ratings On Economy, Bring Parity To Race For White House," The Washington Post , 3/11/12)

  • 63 Percent Of Americans Say Rising Gas Prices Have Caused Financial Hardship In Their Lives, Compared To 37 Percent Who Say They Have Not. ( The Washington Post/ABC Poll, 1,003A, MoE 4%, 3/7-10/12)

89 Percent Of Americans Are Concerned With Rising Gas Prices, Compared To 10 Percent Who Say They Are Not Concerned. ( The Washington Post/ABC Poll, 1,003A, MoE 4%, 3/7-10/12)

Two-Thirds Of Americans Disapprove Of Obama's Handling Of Gas Prices. "Gas prices are a main culprit: Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the situation at the pump, where rising prices have already hit hard." (Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, "Gas Prices Sink Obama's Ratings On Economy, Bring Parity To Race For White House," The Washington Post , 3/12/12)

WHILE AMERICANS ARE STRUGGLING, OBAMA CRONIES ARE GETTING BILLIONS IN TAXPAYER DOLLARS

"$3.9 Billion In Federal Grants And Financing Flowed To 21 Companies Backed By Firms With Connections To Five Obama Administration Staffers And Advisers." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

"$16.4 Billion Of The $20.5 Billion In Loans Granted As Of Sept. 15 Went To Companies Either Run By Or Primarily Owned By Obama Financial Backers." "In the 1705 government-backed-loan program, for example, $16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in loans granted as of Sept. 15 went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers-individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama's National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party." (Peter Schweizer, "Obama Campaign Backers And Bundlers Rewarded With Green Grants And Loans," Newsweek , 11/12/11)

  • "Their Political Largesse Is Probably The Best Investment They Ever Made In Alternative Energy. It Brought Them Returns Many Times Over." (Peter Schweizer, "Obama Campaign Backers And Bundlers Rewarded With Green Grants And Loans," Newsweek , 11/12/11)

The Energy Department's Inspector General Found That Contracts Were Steered To "Friend s And Family." "The Department of Energy's inspector general, Gregory Friedman, who was not a political appointee, chastised the alternative-energy loan and grant programs for their absence of 'sufficient transparency and accountability.' He has testified that contracts have been steered to 'friends and family.'" (Peter Schweizer, "Obama Campaign Backers And Bundlers Rewarded With Green Grants And Loans," Newsweek , 11/12/11)

"The Recipients Of Loans And Grants Were, Overwhelmingly, Obama Cronies." (Peter Schweizer, "Obama Campaign Backers And Bundlers Rewarded With Green Grants And Loans," Newsweek , 11/12/11)

Steve Westly

"Steve Westly, An Obama Fundraising Bundler For Both His 2008 And 2012 Campaigns, Is A Founder Of The Venture Firm Westly Group And Served Part Time On Energy Secretary Steven Chu's Advisory Board." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

  • Westly Group's Portfolio Companies Received $600 Million In Funding. "Westly's firm also fared well in the agency's distribution of loans and grants. Its portfolio companies received $600 million in funding." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

Westly Is Linked To The Solyndra Scandal. "The list also includes two bundlers linked to Solyndra, the controversial solar company that received a $528 million federal loan and later declared bankruptcy - Steven Spiner and Steve Westley. The White House decision to approve the loan triggered a congressional probe on whether the deal smacked of political favoritism." (Carle Campanile, "Obama's 'Bundled' Up With Corzine," New York Post, 2/1/12)

Westly E-mailed With Valerie Jarrett Warning Her Of Solyndra's Potential Political Fallout. "Steve Westly, a California venture capitalist who raised more than $500,000 for Obama's campaign, exchanged emails with Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama's closest advisers, to warn her about political fallout that could ensue if the president visited the factory being built by Solyndra." (Matthew Mosk And Ronnie Greene, "Obama on Solyndra: 'Hindsight Is Always 20/20,'" ABC News, 10/3/11)

  • Westly E-Mail To Jarrett: "Could you perhaps check with [the Energy Department] to make sure they're comfortable with the company? I just want to help protect the president from anything that could result in negative or unfair press." (Matthew Mosk And Ronnie Greene, "Obama on Solyndra: 'Hindsight Is Always 20/20,'" ABC News, 10/3/11)
  • Westly E-Mail To Jarrett: "If it's too late to change/postpone the meeting, the president should be careful about unrealistic/optimistic forecasts that could haunt him in the next 18 months if Solyndra hits the wall, files for bankruptcy." (Matthew Mosk And Ronnie Greene, "Obama on Solyndra: 'Hindsight Is Always 20/20,'" ABC News, 10/3/11)

Steve Spinner

Before Joining The DOE, Spinner Was A Venture Investor And Helped Raise $500,000 For Obama As A Member Of His National Campaign Finance Committee. "Before joining the administration, Spinner, a venture investor and start-up adviser, also helped raise $500,000 for Obama as a member of his national campaign finance committee. He has pledged to raise a half-million dollars or more for Obama's reelection effort." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

  • "Spinner, Who Raised At Least $500,000 For Obama In 2008, Is Leading Efforts To Raise Money From The Technology Industry For The President's Reelection Campaign." (Matea Gold And Stuart Pfeifer, "Obama Fundraiser Linked To Loan Program That Aided Solyndra," Los Angeles Times , 9/16/11)

Spinner Monitored The Energy Department's "Green" Loan Guarantees. "Steve Spinner, who helped monitor the Energy Department's issuance of $25 billion in government loan guarantees to renewable energy projects, was one of Obama's top fundraisers in 2008 and is raising money for the president's 2012 reelection campaign." (Matea Gold And Stuart Pfeifer, "Obama fundraiser linked to loan program that aided Solyndra," Los Angeles Times , 9/16/11)

  • "'Steve Spinner Acted As A Liaison Between The Recovery Act Office And The Loan Programs Office,' Energy Department Spokesman Damien Lavera Said In A Statement Friday." (Matea Gold And Stuart Pfeifer, "Obama Fundraiser Linked To Loan Program That Aided Solyndra," Los Angeles Times , 9/16/11)

Spinner Was Responsible For Doling Out Energy Grants To The Same Silicon Valley Investors That Backed Obama's Campaign. "After the 2008 campaign, Spinner joined the Department of Energy as the 'chief strategic operations officer' for the loan programs. A lot of the money he helped hand out went to that same cadre of wealthy Silicon Valley campaign donors. He also sat on the White House Business Council, which is made up of Obama-supporting corporate executives." (Peter Schweizer, "Obama Campaign Backers And Bundlers Rewarded With Green Grants And Loans," Newsweek , 11/12/11)

The Wife Of Steve Spinner Worked For Wilson Sonsini, Which Helped Its Clients Receive $2.75 Billion In DOE Grants And Financing. "The Energy Department came under criticism from Republicans earlier this year when agency e-mails raised questions about a possible conflict of interest involving Steven J. Spinner, a former department loan adviser who disclosed that his wife worked for Wilson Sonsini, a Silicon Valley law firm that handled funding applications for several clean-tech companies. Wilson Sonsini's clean-tech clients reaped $2.75 billion in Department of Energy grants and financing, the Post analysis found." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

  • "One Of The Firm's Clients Was Solyndra." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

Spinner Was "Deeply Involved" In The Planning Of Solyndra's Loan Guarantee Announcement. "Emails show that Spinner was deeply involved in coordinating a 'big event' to announce the approval of Solyndra's loan guarantee. He envisioned 'golden shovels, bulldozers, hardhats, etc.,' according to an Aug. 20, 2009 email." (Peter Nicholas and Tom Hamburger, "Solyndra-Linked Fundraiser Still Boosting Obama Campaign," Los Angeles Times, 10/24/11)

  • Spinner Was "Actively Involved" In Solyndra's Loan Despite Promise To Recuse Himself From The Deal. "Emails released last week show that Spinner was actively involved in a $528 million federal loan for Solyndra Inc., despite pledging to recuse himself because his wife's law firm represented the company." (Matthew Daly, "Solyndra Loan Figure Raises $500k For Obama," The Associated Press, 10/14/11)

Sanjay Wagle

Sanjay Wagle, A Venture Capitalist And Obama Fundraiser In 2008, Left His Firm Shortly After Obama's Election And Joined The Energy Department. "Sanjay Wagle was a venture capitalist and Barack Obama fundraiser in 2008, rallying support through a group he headed known as Clean Tech for Obama. Shortly after Obama's election, he left his California firm to join the Energy Department, just as the administration embarked on a massive program to stimulate the economy with federal investments in clean-technology firms." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

"[W]agle Shifted From The Private Sector, Where His Firm Hoped To Profit From Federal Investments, To An Insider's Seat In The Administration's $80 Billion Clean-Energy Investment Program." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

Wagle Was One Of Several Venture Capitalists That Was Providing Financial Backing To Start-Up Clean-Tech Companies When The Industry Has A Huge Stake In Department Of Energy's Decisions. "He was one of several players in venture capital, which was providing financial backing to start-up clean-tech companies, who moved into the Energy Department at a time when the agency was seeking outside expertise in the field. At the same time, their industry had a huge stake in decisions about which companies would receive government loans, grants and support." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

The Energy Department Provided $2.4 Billion In Public Funding To Clean Energy Companies In Which Wagle's Former Firm Has Invested. "During the next three years, the department provided $2.4 billion in public funding to clean-energy companies in which Wagle's former firm, Vantage Point Venture Partners, had invested, a Washington Post analysis found." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

  • Wagle's Former Firm Invested In Companies That Received Federal Money, Such As Bright Source, Which Received A $1.6 Billion Loan And Tesla Motors, Which Won A $465 Million Loan. "Wagle's former employer had invested in several companies that received federal money: Brightsource, which won a $1.6 billion federal loan for a solar-generating plant; Tesla Motors, which won a $465 million loan to build electric cars; and biofuels firm Mascoma, which in 2011 received $80 million for a Michigan ethanol plant." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

David Prend

David Prend Advised The Obama Administration While Chairing A Panel That Helped Advise The DOE On Solar Technologies. "Prend had worked closely with the Energy Department since the Bush administration, when he was first appointed to an advisory panel for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He continued to advise the Obama administration, while also chairing a panel that helps advise the department on solar technologies." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

Prend's Firm, Rockport Capital Partners, Was Among The Investors In Solyndra. "David Prend also surfaces in the e-mails as a venture capital investor who had White House access. His firm, Rockport Capital Partners in Boston, was among the investors in Solyndra, with a 7.5 percent stake." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

  • Prend Pushed The Obama Administration To Talk About Solyndra As The Company Looked For The DOE Loan. "One investor in the failed solar firm Solyndra pushed for White House support of the start-up in early 2009, as the company sought a half-billion-dollar Energy Department loan, documents show. David Prend, a co-founder of the Boston venture capital firm Rockport Capital, met with Obama's climate czar, Carol Browner, in early March to talk about Solyndra's innovative solar panels. He followed up by e-mailing a junior White House aide to 'help get the word out' about the company's desire to ramp up production and its pending partnership with the Obama administration. Prend's Boston-based venture capital firm held 7.5 percent of the company's equity." (Carol Leonning, "Solyndra Investor Asked For White House Publicity As Firm Sought," The Washington Post , 10/13/11)
  • Prend Wanted The White House To Help Solyndra Raise Private Capital By Helping With Publicity. "Prend's correspondence with the White House, released last week by a government source, shows that he suggested that the White House also could help the company meet the requirements for winning the Energy Department-guaranteed loan. 'Solyndra must still raise over $200 million in matching private equity according to the terms of the loan guarantee program,' Prend wrote on March 13 to Greg Nelson, a White House liaison for business leaders. 'In the current economic environment, they could use all the positive publicity they can get.'" (Carol Leonning, "Solyndra Investor Asked For White House Publicity As Firm Sought," The Washington Post , 10/13/11)

"The Agency Provided $550 Million To Several Firms In Which Rockport Had Invested At The Time." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

Ener1, Which Was Partnered With Rockport Portfolio Car Company Think, Received A $118 Million DOE Grant. "The department gave an additional $118 million grant to an electric-car battery company, Ener1, that was partnered with Rockport portfolio car company Think. (Rockport soon after invested in Ener1.)." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

David Sandalow

David Sandalow, Who Was Paid $239,000 For Consulting Work For Venture Capital Firm Good Energies, Joined The Energy Department As Assistant Secretary For Policy And International Affairs. "David Sandalow, a former Clinton administration official and Brookings Institution fellow, had been paid $239,000 for consulting work for a venture capital firm, Good Energies, in 2008 before joining the Energy Department as assistant secretary for policy and international affairs, his disclosure form shows." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

SolarReserve, A Good Energies-Backed Firm, Won A $737 Million DOE Loan. "A Good Energies-backed firm, SolarReserve, won a $737 million agency loan. Officials say Sandalow played no role in arranging it and LaVera, speaking on behalf of Sandalow, said the assistant secretary had no financial interest in Good Energies or SolarReserve." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

David Danielson

David Danielson, A Venture Capitalist Formerly Of General Catalyst Joined The Energy Department Office In Charge Of Funding Breakthrough Energy Technologies. "In a 2009 article, venture firm leader Jim Matheson said Wagle, along with another Washington-bound venture capitalist, David Danielson, would help ensure commercial successes from 'the steady flow of dollars coming out of D.C.' … Danielson, formerly of General Catalyst, joined an Energy Department office whose mission was to fund breakthrough energy technologies." (Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

Danielson's Firm, General Capitalist, Received $105 Million In Funding. "Officials say he had no role in arranging $105 million in funding for three general catalyst portfolio firms."(Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Venture Capitalists Play Key Role In Obama's Energy Department," The Washington Post , 2/14/12)

John Doerr

John Doerr, "A Very Big-Ticket Obama Donor," Is On The Board Of Kleiner Perkins, A Top Investor In Fisker Automotive. "Fisker, meanwhile, counts among its top investors Kleiner Perkins, which has both former Vice-President Al Gore and John Doerr, a very big-ticket Obama donor, on its board of directors. Of course, it's not entirely surprising that people involved in green manufacturing happen to be left-leaning and wealthy, but the optics of those monetary ties aren't great. And unless Tesla and Fisker can demonstrate that they are on the steady road to profitability - which neither appears to be right now, though of course it's still early - the administration is probably going to face even more Solyndra-esque scrutiny." (Noreen Malone, "Does Obama Have Another Solyndra On His Hands?," The New Yorker, 10/21/11)

Fisker Received A $529 Million Loan Guarantee. "A $529 million federal loan guarantee to an electric car company manufacturing automobiles in Finland is drawing more unwanted attention to Energy Department loans. A report by ABC News on Thursday said Fisker, a startup electric car company, is making cars in Finland after receiving the loan because it could not find a contractor in America to actually manufacture its electric vehicles." (Keith Laing, "Energy Defends Loans For Electric Cars," The Hill , 10/21/11)

George Kaiser

"The Leading Investors In Solyndra Were Two Investment Funds With Ties To George B. Kaiser, A Major Campaign Fundraising 'Bundler' For Obama." (Carol D. Leonning And Joe Stephens, "Solyndra Employees: Company Suffered From Mismanagement, Heavy Spending," The Washington Post, 9/21/11)

Kaiser's Argonaut Ventures Are The "Single Largest Shareholder Of Solyndra." "Kaiser's Argonaut Ventures and its affiliates have been the single largest shareholder of Solyndra, according to SEC filings and other records. The company holds 39 percent of Solyndra's parent company, bankruptcy records filed Tuesday show." (Ronnie Greene And Matthew Mosk, "Obama Officials Sat In On Solyndra Meetings,"iWatch And ABC News ,9/9/11)

  • Kaiser's Argonaut Ventures Will Be Able To Recoup Losses Before Taxpayers, Or Other Investors. "Under terms of the bankruptcy filing, investors including Argonaut -- which led a $75 million round of financing for Solyndra earlier this year -- will stand in line before the federal government and other creditors to recoup its losses." (Ronnie Greene And Matthew Mosk, "Obama Officials Sat In On Solyndra Meetings,"iWatch And ABC News , 9/9/11)

"George Kaiser, The Billionaire Investor And Fundraiser For President Barack Obama, Discussed Solyndra LLC In A Meeting With Administration Officials, According To An E-Mail Released Today." (Jim Snyder, "Kaiser Spoke To White House About Solyndra," Bloomberg, 11/9/11)

  • The Kaiser Emails Directly Contradict The Obama Administration's "Repeated Assurance" That Kaiser Played No Role In The Solyndra Loan Guarantee. "Emails released by a House committee appear to show that a major donor to President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign discussed with White House officials a federal loan to a failed California solar company. That's despite repeated assurances by Obama administration officials that the donor, George Kaiser, didn't discuss the loan with the White House." (Matthew Daly, "Obama Donor Discussed Solar Loan With White House," The Associated Press, 11/9/11)