Skip to comments.Issa deepens probe into solar loans
Posted on 10/10/2011 8:54:49 AM PDT by maggief
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is demanding Energy Department documents relating to more than $4.7 billion in loan guarantees for solar projects approved Sept. 30, the deadline for financing under the stimulus law.
Issas quest for documents spelled out in an Oct. 7 letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu obtained by The Hill on Monday signals a deepening of his loan guarantee probe, which joins a separate House Energy and Commerce Committee investigation of the failed solar panel manufacturing company Solyndra.
Issas letter, noting concerns that the $535 million guarantee for Solyndra in 2009 was rushed, says the same questions apply to the four solar power generation projects approved at the end of September.
$4.75 billion in loan guarantees given on the last day of the program raise similar concerns that the evaluation of loan guarantees may have been rushed to meet the deadline, Issa writes.
The letter seeks documents about the financing for First Solar Inc., SunPower Corp. and Prologis Inc. by Oct. 21. The documents include Energy Department communications with the companies involved, internal department communications, and communications with the White House.
Issa said on "Fox News Sunday" that his panel is looking for political interference in the loan guarantee decisions.
(Excerpt) Read more at thehill.com ...
* A total of $2.1 billion in guarantees for two California projects developed by First Solar Inc., which promptly announced it was selling both ventures one to Exelon, one to NextEra.
Obamas Exelon ties merit close look
January 25, 2008|By JAY HANCOCK
Pay no attention to whether Sen. Barack Obamas ties to Exelon Corp. might make him sympathetic to storing nuclear waste in Nevada. That argument, aired before that states Democratic caucuses last week, is a sideshow.
But the Exelon-Obama link is especially strong. Exelon employees and others close to the company have given almost $195,000 to Obama, according to the latest records. Exelon is surpassed among corporate Obama donors by only Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Lehman Brothers and a couple of other companies, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
One of Obamas biggest fundraising bundlers, packaging money from multiple individuals, is Frank M. Clark, chairman of Commonwealth Edison, the big Illinois utility owned by Exelon. Exelon director John W. Rogers Jr., chief of mutual fund company Ariel Capital Management, also has given thousands to Obama.
There are other reasons to ask if an Obama administration might be too sympathetic to big electricity.
Last year Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, frequently described as Obamas mentor, single-handedly killed a bill that would have extended price caps for customers of Commonwealth Edison and other utilities.
When he was Bill Clintons energy secretary, Obama campaign co-chair Federico Pena vigorously promoted electricity deregulation, promised it would save consumers money and - according to a 2002 story in The Washington Times - personally urged Enron crook Kenneth Lay to lobby the president on the matter.
Exelons chief lobbyist, Elizabeth A. Moler, was Penas deputy at the Energy Department.
As a new member of the Illinois Senate in 1997, Obama voted for an electricity-deregulation bill that his staff says was supported by consumer groups and was far less than what power providers wanted. Nevertheless, just as in Maryland, deregulation set the stage for price increases beyond what can be explained by higher costs for generation fuels such as coal and natural gas.
Obamas Exelon ties, Ayers connection
Obama accepted Exelon lobbyists cash
In An asterisk to Obamas policy on donations, Dan Morain, of the Los Angeles Times, wrote April 22, 2007:
Exelon spent $500,000 to influence policy in Washington last year. Although Obama took no money from Exelons Washington lobbyists, he accepted $1,000 checks from lobbyists John P. Novak and James Monk of Springfield. In Springfield, Novak represents Exelon., and Monk is president of the Illinois Energy Assn., a trade group that represents Commonwealth Edison.
Monk and Novak said they do not lobby in Washington. But their clients care about federal issues, including where to store nuclear waste and what restrictions to place on coal-fired plants.
In the 2008 election cycle alone, we turn to OpenSecrets.org, which on August 29, 2008, found 216 entries for Exelon totalling $185,761 for Sen. Obama. A second search that included both Obamas name and that of his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, found 261 entries for Exelon totalling $228,361.
Quick math shows that only 45 Exelon entries are for McCain for a total of $42,600.
Obamas Exelon contributions outnumber those of McCain by more than five times.
The bundlers, the contributors
We have at least two Exelon bundlers for Obama.
Public Citizens White House for Sale website provides general information about the identities of and amounts raised:
* Frank Clark, confirmed most recently as a federal lobbyist in 2000, has raised at least $200,001.00. Additionally, as a Mega-Donor, Clark has contributed an additional $28,500.00 to political action committees supporting Obama.
* John W. Rogers Jr. has raised at least $500,001.00.
In fact, Del Jones wrote August 20, 2008, at USA Today of John Rogers:
John Rogers,.... is an Obama bundler of significance, one of only 36 people who have raised more than $500,000, according to Obamas website. ....................
((NOTE: Com Ed is owned by Exelon Corp.))
Obamas Lobbyist Connection
When Illinois utility Commonwealth Edison wanted state lawmakers to back a hefty rate hike two years ago, it took a creative lobbying approach, concocting a new outfit that seemed devoted to the public interest: Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity, or CORE.
CORE ran TV ads warning of a “California-style energy crisis” if the rate increase wasn’t approvedbut without disclosing the commercials were funded by Commonwealth Edison.
The ad campaign provoked a brief uproar when its ties to the utility, which is owned by Exelon Corp., became known.
“It’s corporate money trying to hoodwink the public,” the state’s Democratic Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn said.
What got scant notice thenbut may soon get more scrutinyis that CORE was the brainchild of ASK Public Strategies, a consulting firm whose senior partner is David Axelrod, now chief strategist for Barack Obama.
Neither Axelrod nor his partners at ASK ever registered as lobbyists for Commonwealth Edisonand under Illinois’s loose disclosure laws, they were not required to. “I’ve never lobbied anybody in my life,” Axelrod tells NEWSWEEK. “I’ve never talked to any public official on behalf of a corporate client.” (He also says “no one ever denied” that Edison was the “principal funder” of his firm’s ad campaign.)
But the activities of ASK (located in the same office as Axelrod’s political firm) illustrate the difficulties in defining exactly who a lobbyist is.
Sidebar ~~ another Axelrod dalliance:
U. of C. shunning poor patients?
Sen. Barack Obama’s wife and three close advisers have been involved with a program at the University of Chicago Medical Center that steers patients who don’t have private insurance — primarily poor, black people — to other health care facilities.
Obama’s top political strategist, David Axelrod, co-owns the firm, ASK Public Strategies, that was hired by the hospital last year to sell the program — called the Urban Health Initiative — to the community as a better alternative for poor patients. Obama’s wife and Valerie Jarrett, an Obama friend and adviser who chairs the medical center’s board, backed the Axelrod firm’s hiring, hospital officials said.
The beat goes on. Only the faces are changed. Axelrod lobbied, as opposed to BO’s anti-lobbyist campaign staff statements, and has been a surrogate for MO and BO’s interests. Now, BO wants Valerie Jarrett to be his IL senatorial replacement.
Regarding the nuclear/energy issues, I bet public records are available showing whom in Snowbama/Pelosi/Reid et al’s clan are investing into various energy companies.
I need to see if Chu and DOE will loan me a couple million to paint my roof white.
I guess we now know why USEC (the uranium refiner) was denied a loan guarantee to build a big uranium centrifuge plant....and promptly laid off a bunch of workers.....
Look for Excelon to take over USEC at depressed prices...
Kantele Franko, Associated Press, On Friday September 30, 2011, 7:10 pm EDT
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The developer of a uranium enrichment project in southern Ohio said Friday it is suspending contracts with some suppliers and notifying about 450 workers in Ohio, Tennessee and Maryland that they might be laid off if uncertainty about funding means it has to stop most activity on the project.
Bethesda, Md.-based developer USEC Inc. has had trouble securing a $2 billion federal loan guarantee it says is needed for construction to move forward on the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, about 65 miles south of Columbus, and it's taking the first steps toward possibly demobilizing the project.
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