“The Department of Commerce gave One Economy Corporation over $28 million to increase fast internet service in areas without it. One Economy then directed $1.5 million to a film production company owned by actor/director, Robert Townsend, and $230,000 was used to produce an internet soap opera. The stated rationale was that the soap opera would create an incentive for people, especially minorities, to use the internet.”
“A $529 million loan guarantee went to an electric car company, Fisker, which produces its cars in Finland. The company was backed by a venture capital firm where former Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore is a partner. Among many challenges faced by the company were safety recalls and the bankruptcy of its battery maker, A123 Systems, which also received stimulus funding.”
“In all, an estimated one quarter of the green energy stimulus dollars went to foreign-owned companies. This contrasts with President Obama’s stated justification for the program: “I’m not going to . . . cede our position to China or Germany . . . who [sic] are making massive investments in clean energy technology. . . .””
“The Congressional Research Service concluded that the green energy grants had created 8,000 jobs, although some temporary, at an average cost of $1.2 million each.”
“How did these companies qualify for assistance? It appears that their primary qualification was that they made campaign contributions and hired lobbyists who also made campaign contributions. But sometimes the relationships went deeper. A small California green building supply company, Serious Materials, got stimulus money. It also got personal endorsements from President Obama and Vice President Biden. The vice president visited the company and proclaimed that it made “the most energy efficient windows in the “world.”
How did this happen? The company’s executives had indeed made political contributions to the Democrats. But, interestingly, a vice president of the company is married to Cathy Zoi, who gave out grants from the Obama Energy Department. Disclosure documents reveal that she and her husband held stock options on 120,000 shares of the company stock.
When Ms. Zoi left Energy, she went to work for George Soros, one of the Obama administration’s and Democratic Party’s largest campaign donors. Soros was opening a new fund to invest in—what else?—green energy. Would some of the investments also be backed by the government employee who had succeeded Ms. Zoi? We do not know yet.95
Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig noted that $2.5 billion in loans, grants, and tax breaks went to fourteen green-tech firms in which former US vice president and green tech advocate Al Gore invested. She also noted that his net worth increased from $2 million when he left office to an estimated 150 million in 2012.”
Excerpt From: Lewis, Hunter. “Crony Capitalism In America.” AC2 Books. iBooks.
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