While the media was “tripping out” over Energy Secretary Chu giving himself “an A grade on controlling the cost of gasoline at the pump” during his testimony before a House panel last month, they missed the real scandal!
As insulting as that seems (especially since gas prices have doubled under Chu’s watch), Gene Koprowski of The Daily Caller unleashed the most outrageous part of the House Oversight’s investigation –– “Obama energy officials funded solar firms despite ‘junk bond’ ratings from S&P and Fitch.” Koprowski detailed the Department of Energy’s (DOE) lack of caution in backing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans for “tainted solar power projects.” Also documented are “other dramatic abuses at the green energy firms,” the most egregious being those firms which, received DOE funding, went bankrupt, “but not before paying their executives bonuses.”
In fact, the report released last month by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (led by CA Representative, Darrell Issa) “painted a startling picture of mismanagement at the Department of Energy.” The most damaging is that of the 27 loan guarantees under the 1705 program, of which the DOE doled out in excess of $16 billion, “23 of the loans were rated “Junk grade” due to their poor credit quality, while the other four were rated BBB, which is at the lowest end of the ‘investment’ grade of categories.” According to Issa’s Team, the DOE’s 1705 loan portfolio overall average was BB-.” Now, I’m no financial guru, but I wouldn’t want that grade on my report card.
So why did the DOE back so many high-risk investments, particularly at a time when we are drowning in a tsunami of debt?
In a gripping line of questioning, Ohio Representative Jim Jordan confronted this issue head on during that same hearing where he pressed Secretary Chu on nine of the firms that received loans, revealing their political connections. Chu countered that the loans were based on merit. Yet Jordan was perplexed, “so if you weren’t helping your buddies, and you were basing your decisions on the merits of the loan, how do you explain the fact that 23 of 27 recipients of the loan guarantees were rated as junk status investments?” Jordan concluded, “If it wasn’t your political buddies, it had to be incompetence.”
Finally, the probe into the DOE and how they “pick winners and losers” for “green ventures” has gone in the right direction, however, Congressman Jordan overlooked the fact that it’s not just nine –– it’s the majority of the 27 projects recorded by Issa’s Team.
Political buddies indeed –– 21 energy firms are behind the 27 projects found in the House Oversight investigation, and 18 of them are politically connected to President Obama (15 alone) and the Democratic Party, that’s over 85%! 13 were bundlers, donors, and supporters for Obama’s 2008 campaign, and two are members of the president’s Job Council, while three are allied to Senator Harry Reid –– all with ample other Democrat links in the mix.
Nevertheless, before Congress caught on, Peter Schweizer’s New York Times bestseller, Throw Them All Out –– released last November and featured on 60 Minutes, exposing the “permanent political class” and the insidious practice of “Congressional insider trading” perpetrated from both sides of the political isle –– devotes an entire chapter to alternative-energy, “Spreading the Wealth… to Billionaires!” Whereas, others players in this clean-energy scheme are uncovered by Schweizer, this chapter digs into a few of the major DOE programs operating under the stimulus, including the tens of billions of dollars that was dished out through the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program.