Green Energy Execs Got Rich Off Aid From Obama Administration
November 2, 2012
Callista and I will be signing books (including Callista’s new children’s book, Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride) at the Books-A-Million in McLean, Virginia tomorrow at 4:00 pm. We’d love to see you there if you’re in the area. Learn more here>>
Second, stay tuned for our plans on election day – especially if you enjoyed Newt University at the Republican Convention. We’ll be announcing more details in the next few days.
When I noted last week the cascade of green energy scandals piling up on President Obama, I didn’t know it would turn into an avalanche just days later.
These two late breaking stories should be the nails in the coffin of President Obama’s green energy agenda. The failure and the dishonesty totally discredit this staple of the President’s plan for a second term.
The Washington Examiner reported on Wednesday on their analysis of the SEC filings of 15 publically traded companies that received taxpayer assistance from the Obama administration. The Examiner found that executives and corporate insiders had “pocketed tens of millions by selling their stock after the government’s money poured in and before their companies’ values plummeted.”
These executives bet against their companies after asking taxpayers for help, and cashing out as taxpayer money went to waste.
In two cases, insiders sold off stock worth nearly the amount of their government funding. Executives at Amyris, which received $24.3 million in government support, sold off $21 million worth of stock since 2009. At Solazyme, which received $21.8 million from taxpayers, executives made $18.4 million selling their stock in the company.
These profits by executives dependent on taxpayer support underscore one of the fundamental problems with the President’s green energy initiatives – a problem his administration has been curiously uninterested in addressing: the President’s programs ask taxpayers to take all the risk of funding “green” startups, but let the private individuals who asked for help keep all the profits.
In an even more outrageous example reported earlier this year, the CEO of First Solar – recipient of $3 billion in government loan guarantees – sold nearly half a billion dollars with of stock in his company as the price fell.
Despite the President’s determination to continue funding green energy companies on the taxpayer dollar, the Washington Examiner found that so far his “investments” have performed abysmally:
“The Obama administration gave more than $700 million in grants and guaranteed an additional $500 million in loans to publicly traded green energy companies through its 2009 stimulus package. If Obama had invested all that money in a Standard & Poors index fund of the top 500 publicly traded companies, his investment would have seen a 73 percent return since he took office. In contrast, the Obama “green energy” stimulus portfolio has fallen by 78 percent — performing about five points worse than green energy companies that didn’t get subsidies.”
Unfortunately, this weak performance didn’t prevent insiders from cashing out – and it’s not preventing Obama from touting these programs as a big part of his second term agenda.
Newly Released Emails Show Obama Personally Made Decisions About Green Energy Loans
Just one week ago, President Obama claimed in an interview on Colorado television that he had nothing to do with decisions in the troubled green energy loan program that financed Solyndra and other high-profile stimulus recipients. He said they were “decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics.”
But emails released this week by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform strongly suggest that what the President said was untrue – that he didn’t leave loan decisions up to Department of Energy professionals, instead he and other White House officials put significant political pressure on the program.
In one email, a senior DOE official says the President personally “imposed” a policy fast-tracking loan approvals. The official writes: “I am growing increasingly worried about a fast track process imposed on us at the POTUS level based on this chaotic process that we are undergoing…by designing the fast track process and having it approved at the POTUS level (which is an absolute waste of his time!) it legitimizes every element and it becomes embedded like the 55% recovery rate which also was imposed by POTUS.”
In another email, it seems President Obama personally intervened on behalf of a loan applicant. An official writes to a DOE colleague, “Jonathan [Silver, Executive Director of the Loan Program] just said at our staff meeting that, opposite the message received on Thursday, AREVA is now a “go” (seems on Friday POTUS himself approved moving it ahead).”
If President Obama was indeed involved in individual loan cases, it suggests his public claims that he wasn’t involved in the details of the program are simply dishonest.
He was, in fact, playing investor-in-chief. And considering the Examiner’s analysis, he was doing a terrible job.