Category Archives: Clean Energy
Part 1 :: How This Phony CIA Agent Pulled Off a ‘Scam’ to Impose Environmental Regulations on Americans
Kevin Mooney / @KevinMooneyDC / February 10 2015
Remember the EPA bureaucrat who got caught receiving $900,000 in pay without working because he claimed he also was employed by the CIA?
According to a report from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the man, former climate policy expert John Beale, “retired” when questions arose about his spotty attendance and expense records.
Only he didn’t file his retirement paperwork and continued to draw an active-duty salary for some time after. His boss at the time in the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, now-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, knew this for about seven months and did nothing to stop it.
>>> This is the first of a two-part series.
“On March 29, 2012, an OAR official raised concerns about Beale’s retirement when he informed McCarthy that Beale was still on payroll,” the report stated.
“Despite being aware of the fact that one of her subordinates was collecting a paycheck without providing any work product, this arrangement continued for seven more months before McCarthy ever contacted Beale.”
In December 2012, McCarthy met with Beale for the first time in nearly 15 months, and he informed her that he was no longer planning on retiring. Two more months passed before concerns with Beale were officially reported to the inspector general. On April 30, 2013, McCarthy had cause to fire Beale, but instead elected to allow him to voluntarily retire with full benefits.
Liz Purchia, press secretary for McCarthy, told The Daily Signal in an email: “[McCarthy] believed he was retired, and [that] was the reason he was not in the office.”
How Did He Do It?
According to the Senate report, Beale’s career at the EPA was marked by relentless dishonesty on matters large and small and a cadre of supervisors who, like McCarthy apparently in the matter of his retirement pay, enabled his self-dealing behaviors.
He claimed an injury so he could ride first-class on flights for government business, which in one case drove the ticket price from $1,000 to $14,000. He forged expense forms, claimed to be away on CIA business for 2½ years worth of work days and flew to Los Angeles and stayed in posh hotels on the EPA’s tab for family visits that had nothing to do with agency work.
Few even attempted to question Beale’s frequent absences, enormous expense reports, exorbitant salary—he retired as the agency’s highest-paid employee—and lack of accountability. He was personally popular, well-connected and believed to be among the agency’s most effective employees.
But Beale’s greatest deception has nothing to do with first-class flights and fancy hotels.
Beale, who is serving a 32-month sentence in the federal prison in Cumberland, Md., for pleading guilty to felony theft of government property, spent most of his career devising regulations under the Clean Air Act that are justified by science few have seen and no one has peer-reviewed, according to the Senate report.
“We should all question how John Beale became a senior official at the EPA and played a major role in long-lasting policy decisions while pulling off a scam I thought only Hollywood could make up,” Sen. David Vitter, R-La., told The Daily Signal.
“But this egregious case helped us successfully reveal how EPA has wasted taxpayer resources and mismanagement in a manner that is far too common.”
John Beale and the Clean Air Act
Beale’s penchant for bilking the EPA out of money eroded the trust Americans place in their government and EPA employees place in their superiors and coworkers. But it was the role he played beginning in the mid-1990s in creating and implementing regulations pursuant to Clean Air Act that continues to reverberate and linger at the expense of the American people.
Staffers with the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee set out last year to probe the relationship between “sue-and-settle” arrangements and evidence they had uncovered that pointed to the manipulation of scientific data.
What they discovered, as detailed in their report, titled “EPA’s Playbook Unveiled: A Story of Fraud, Deceit and Secret Science,” was how agency officials concealed and misled about the science that underpinned its most significant initiatives and silenced and marginalized their own internal watchdog offices, which enabled the agency to greatly overstate the benefits and underestimate the costs of its Clean Air Act rulemaking.
Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to create National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter and ozone. The American Lung Association sought to jumpstart this process with a so-called “sue-and-settle” suit filed in 1995.
The idea behind “sue-and-settle” is for friendly plaintiffs to sue a government agency, work out agreeable terms—perhaps even beforehand—and emerge with a court order to implement rules or regulations that could not have been achieved through the democratic or even regulatory process.
The American Lung Association suit resulted in a consent decree that called for the EPA to propose final standards for particulate matter by Nov. 29, 1996, and issue the standards by July 19, 1997. The decree set no deadline for ozone standards because they had been reviewed in 1993 and were not up for another review until 1998.
But Beale and Robert Brenner, his best friend and erstwhile boss, made what documents called a “policy call” and seized on the urgency to produce new particulate matter standards to rush through a new ozone standard as well.
This put the agency in the position of advancing two regulatory standards simultaneously, which it had never done. And it put the agency and those charged with reviewing such regulations, including the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, under impossible deadline pressure.
Why Beale Was Emboldened
The EPA admitted in court papers filed pursuant to the American Lung Association lawsuit that any period shorter than Dec. 1, 1998, for promulgation of the particulate matter standard “would require the EPA to reach conclusions on scientific and policy issues with enormous consequences for society before it has had an adequate opportunity to collect and evaluate pertinent scientific data” and that further time was needed to reach a “sound and scientifically supportable decision.”
Beale had no time for that. He needed an ally to move things along and found one in Carol Browner, the Al Gore acolyte and former staffer who served as administrator of the EPA through both terms of the Clinton administration. Beale formed a close relationship with her and met with her multiple times per week to discuss his progress on this.
The urgency, as well as his influence with the boss and an unwillingness of others at EPA to block him, gave Beale “the mechanism he needed to ignore opposition to the standards.”
Beale’s efforts to include ozone in the new regulations proved expensive for Americans.
The EPA estimated the cost at $2.5 billion, but its estimate was based on receiving the full benefits of cutting ozone but achieving only a partial attainment of the standards, which the law did not permit. The Council of Economic Advisers also measured the cost and found it to be $60 billion—24 times the EPA estimate.
Indeed, as was the case with him getting away with not showing up for work and submitting exorbitant expense reports, succeeding in this regulatory sleight of hand only emboldened Beale to go further.
‘Hidden and Unverified’
That first round of standards, which regulated coarse particulate matter, such as pollen and dust, became known as PM10. But Beale wanted more.
In 1997, with the backing of his superiors, he sought to engage the agency in regulating fine particulate matter—particles a fourth the size of those regulated under PM10 and too small to be visible to the human eye.
But to enact these regulations, EPA first had to produce scientific research that established these smaller particles posed a threat to humans.
To accomplish this, Beale pulled data from two controversial studies—the Harvard Six Cities Study and an American Cancer Society study known as ACSII. The data was not trusted. The air advisory committee pointed out it had not been peer-reviewed, and others indicated Beale was exaggerating the findings for his desired result.
Further undermining those studies’ credibility is that even now, 20 years later, EPA still refuses to release the data, despite McCarthy’s promise to do so during her confirmation hearings.
Though Beal is out of the picture and in prison, his rulemaking techniques he employed to advance the 1997 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone and particulate matter remain firmly entrenched.
“This effort codified EPA’s now customary practice of using fine particulates (PM2.5) to inflate the benefits of nearly all regulations issued under the Clean Air Act,” the Senate report concludes. “Yet the science supporting nearly all of EPA’s alleged benefits remain hidden and unverified.”
Part 2 :: EPA Under Fire for Concealing Controversial Scientific Data, Silencing Skeptics
Kevin Mooney / @KevinMooneyDC / February 11, 2015
For more than 15 years, the Environmental Protection Agency has resisted releasing data from two key studies to the general public and members of Congress. Government regulators used those studies to craft some of the most expensive environmental rules in U.S. history.
When skeptics within the federal government questioned and challenged the integrity of the studies—the Harvard Six Cities Study and an American Cancer Society study known as ACS II—they were silenced and muzzled.
That’s when the Republican staff on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee stepped in to shine light on the situation, revealing the scope of the scandal in in a report titled, “EPA’s Playbook Unveiled: A Story of Fraud, Deceit and Secret Science.”
>>> This is the second of a two-part series. Read the first part: How This Phony CIA Agent Pulled Off a ‘Scam’ to Impose Environmental Regulations on Americans
The key player in the scandal is John Beale, who was sentenced to serve 32 months in federal prison on Dec. 18, 2013, after pleading guilty to stealing almost $900,000 from U.S. taxpayers.
It was in 1994 that Beale first began to beguile EPA employees and supervisors into believing he worked for the CIA. When he failed to report for work, Beale would enter “D.O. Oversight” on his calendar, which meant he was a director of operations responsible for covert operations at the CIA.
But it was the role Beale played beginning in the mid-1990s in creating and implementing regulations pursuant to Clean Air Act that continues to reverberate and linger at the expense of the American people.
Two Allies at the EPA
Over the past decade, evidence has emerged to reveal the Six Cities and ACS II studies did not support enacting one of the most controversial, far-reaching and expensive regulations in American history. Otherwise, the agency would have provided access to the data without a fight.
The political appointees who led the EPA at the time feared the consequences of enacting such a regulation without being able to offer scientific evidence of its necessity.
Beale needed an ally. He needed someone to explain the problems with the research and the reasons the data could not be released. Someone who could run interference with various actors in Washington. He found one in top EPA official Robert Brenner.
Brenner had recruited Beale, his former Princeton University classmate, to the EPA as a full-time employee in 1989.
Brenner, then deputy director of the EPA’s Office of Policy Analysis and Review within the Office of Air and Radiation, hired his friend despite Beale’s lack of legislative or environmental policy background. He also placed Beale in the highest pay scale for general service employees—a move typically reserved for those with extensive experience.
He then allowed Beale to collect retention bonuses, which go to only the most highly qualified employees to keep them from jumping ship—an unlikely scenario for a man who had picked apples and worked in a small-time law firm in Minnesota before joining the agency. Employees are supposed to be eligible for such bonuses—potentially worth as much as a fourth of the employee’s annual salary—for only three years, but Brenner helped Beale receive them for more than 10.
The two would work together at the EPA for 25 years—during which time the Office of Policy Analysis and Review would grow “in both scope and influence” as Beale and Brenner worked in tandem to muzzle dissenting voices within the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee.
‘Beale Memo’ Details Regulatory Agenda
At the crux of their agenda—the initiative that would build their legend within the agency—was implementation of a fine particle standard regulating air pollution.
The formula had been set with the American Lung Association sue-and-settle agreement and codified in a confidential document known as the “Beale Memo,” which described how Beale pressured regulatory and clean air bodies to back off criticisms of EPA rulemaking both within the agency and in correspondence with members of Congress.
The EPA attempted to conceal this document from Sen. David Vitter’s committee investigators, but a conscientious whistleblower “turned it over surreptitiously,” the report said.
The memo outlined how Beale and Brenner would work to compress the time the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and the voluntary Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee had to review regulations so they could get away with using “secret science.”
The Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee opposed from the start the move to regulate fine particulate matter. Members claimed there was no precedent or court order to establish these regulations, that research had not distinguished between dangers posed by PM 10 particles and those a fourth that size under PM 2.5, and that the PM 2.5 target was arbitrary and tied to no known science. (PM stands for particle matter, a term “for particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets,” according to EPA.)
Further, the committee, known as CASAC, complained it was being asked to do the work that took eight years on the previous air quality review in 18 months.
“The Beale memo is interesting in that it provides evidence of Beale’s direct role in ensuring concerns raised by other agencies, CASAC members and OIRA were not considered in the final rulemaking,” wrote Luke Bolar, spokesman for Vitter, in an email to The Daily Signal.
“While there were major concerns with the science and the cost-benefit analysis as outlined in comments filed on the rule, the Beale memo was written to push back against OIRA publicizing those concerns,” Bolar added. “They didn’t have to directly ‘blunt’ criticism, as Beale got his way through his close ties to Mary Nichols (then head of the Office of Air and Radiation) and Carol Browner (EPA administrator.”
Efforts to slow Beale, Brenner and their highly charged regulations failed. As a result, today the “co-benefits” of PM 2.5 are used to justify almost the entirety of the Obama administration’s air quality initiatives even though the immediate benefits still have yet to be proven.
“There is no watchdog now inside the EPA,” laments Steve Milloy, the former editor of JunkScience.com, which has posted a fact sheet that debunks the EPA’s PM 2.5 claims. “Whatever the EPA wants it gets. The agency is allowed to run rampant. There was a time when OIRA use to have stopping power, but now it’s just ignored. OIRA has become a rubber stamp.”
This is especially true of PM 2.5, Milloy says. “There is no real world evidence” PM 2.5 has caused sudden or long-term death, he said. “The claim that PM 2.5 kills people is at the heart and soul of how the EPA is selling these regulations. But it’s a claim that’s not supported by the facts or evidence. The EPA has rigged the whole process.”
Indeed, the purported co-benefits have become the benefits, according to Vitter’s report.
“Historically, EPA used co-benefits in major rules as one of several benefits quantified to justify a rule in the RIA,” the report says. “Yet, at the beginning of the Obama administration, there was a ‘trend towards almost complete reliance on PM 2.5-related health co-benefits.’ Instead of being an ancillary benefit, EPA started using PM 2.5 co-benefits as essentially the only quantified benefit for many CAA regulations.”
The Senate report claims all but five air pollution rules crafted between 2009 and 2011 listed PM 2.5.
Lack of Transparency at EPA
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set air quality standards to protect public health with an “adequate margin of safety.” In its review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, the EPA considers factors such as the nature and severity of health effects, the size of the at-risk groups affected and the science.
Several exhaustive scientific reviews prior and subsequent to the 1997 standards were conducted following open, public processes that allowed for public review and comment prior to updating the standards.
EPA press secretary Liz Purchia told The Daily Signal in an email that the process is open enough.
The National Ambient Air Quality Standards are bolstered by “sound science and legal standards,” she said, and “several exhaustive scientific reviews prior and subsequent to the 1997 standards were conducted following open, public processes that allowed for public review and comment prior to updating the standards.”
Beale’s involvement in no way undermines the rational basis for the agency’s decisions nor the integrity of the administrative process. Reducing the public’s exposure to ground-level ozone and PM protects millions of Americans from costly and dangerous illness, hospitalization, and premature death.
All that may be true, but the EPA still won’t provide the underlying data to put the matter to rest.
Vitter and his team say this is because the EPA can continue to overstate the benefits and understate the costs of federal regulations—just as Beale did in the 1990s.
“This technique has been applied over the years and burdens the American people today, as up to 80 percent of the benefits associated with all federal regulations are attributed to supposed PM 2.5 reductions,” the report states.
Written by Warren Mass
The standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) deescalated on April 12, when the bureau announced that it will stop its operation to confiscate Bundy’s cattle.
But another aspect to this ongoing story is jumping: The blogosphere is alive with allegations that Senator Harry Reid (pictured), and his son, Rory, have motivations of their own for wanting Bundy’s cattle off the disputed lands.
Though the major media announced that a “deal” had been reached between Bundy and the BLM, Bundy explained what transpired differently in an interview with KLAS TV in Las Vegas: “There is no deal here. The citizens of America and Clark County went and took their cattle. There was no negotiations. They took these cattle. They are in possession of these cattle and I expect them to come home soon.”
The BLM stated in its statement released on April 12: “Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public.”
The BLM’s language made apparent that the bureau still regarded its actions “to remove illegal cattle from federal land consistent with court orders” as being legally justified:
This is a matter of fairness and equity, and we remain disappointed that Cliven Bundy continues to not comply with the same laws that 16,000 public lands ranchers do every year. After 20 years and multiple court orders to remove the trespass cattle, Mr. Bundy owes the American taxpayers in excess of $1 million. The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially.
As William F. Jasper noted in his April 11 article about the standoff, however, there was more to the federal action to remove Bundy’s cattle from “public lands” (where they are, allegedly, damaging the “fragile” habitat of the protected desert tortoise) than has been widely reported:
According to Bundy, whose family has been ranching in the area since the 1800s, the BLM’s armed invasion and occupation of Nevada has nothing to do with protecting the tortoise and everything to do with running him off the land, as it has already done to all of the other ranchers in Clark County.
As for the BLM’s assertion that its actions “to remove illegal cattle” are legally justified, among the many points that Joe Wolverton II made in his April 12 article charging that the seizure of Bundy’s cattle was unconstitutional was this citation from Section 1 of the Nevada constitution, titled “Inalienable Rights”:
All men are by Nature free and equal and have certain inalienable rights among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty; Acquiring, Possessing and Protecting property and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.
Wolverton observed: “Despite the Nevada constitution’s capitulation to supreme federal authority (authority, remember, that does not exist in the Constitution) … it could be argued [that the above-quoted language from Section 1] supersedes the other article’s cession of state and popular sovereignty.”
That which is unconstitutional, therefore, cannot properly be called legal.
As the tension between Bundy and the BLM ratchets down, a number of conservative bloggers and pundits have raised questions about another angle in this case: Does the BLM want Bundy’s cattle off the land his family has worked for over 140 years in order to free up the land for the construction of solar panel power stations?
That question was prompted, in part, by since-deleted information previously posted on the BLM website, information retrieved from Google’s cache.
The text of a BLM document retrieved from Google’s cache and posted by Liberty News Online contains the following chronology of events:
• “In 1993, some of the terms of Mr. Bundy’s grazing permit for the Bunkerville allotment were modified to protect the desert tortoise.”
• “In 1998, the United States filed a civil complaint against Mr. Bundy for his continued trespass grazing in the Bunkerville Allotment.”
• “In 1999, the Las Vegas Field Office Resource Management Plan designated the Bunkerville allotment as ‘Closed to Grazing’ to protect desert tortoise habitat.”
• “In March 2011, BLM counted 903 cattle from a helicopter spread out over approximately 90 miles in northeast Clark County within the Gold Butte area … 41 percent had either brands or earmarks registered to Cliven Bundy.”
• “In May 2012, the United States filed a Complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for Cliven Bundy’s trespass grazing within the Gold Butte area outside the Bunkerville Allotment.”
A PDF of the BLM’s document, “Regional Mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar energy Zone: Technical Note 444,” produced by the BLM in March, can be found online.
Technical Note 444 states that the “’Regional Mitigation Strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone’ recommends a strategy for compensating for certain unavoidable impacts that are expected from the development of the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone (SEZ) in southern Nevada.”
Technical Note 444 states: “The resource values found in the Gold Butte ACEC are threatened by: unauthorized activities, including off-road vehicle use, illegal dumping, and trespass livestock grazing ; wildfire; and weed infestation.” (Emphasis added.)
The above-referenced BLM “Technical Note 444” specifically mentions the Gold Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) 76 times. While the document expresses many environmental concerns, including “trespass livestock grazing,” it is important to keep in mind that the title of the document reveals the BLM’s ultimate objective, which is to create a “solar energy zone.”
One of the references listed in Technical Note 444 is “Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States. FES 12- 24, DOE/EIS-0403,” published jointly by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The PEIS, notes TN 444, “assessed the impact of utility-scale solar energy development on public lands in the six southwestern states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.”
The BLM and the DOE’s joint venture is — stated concerns about tortoises aside — about the generation of solar energy.
An article published by The New American in September 20012 noted that Rory Reid, the eldest son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), is the chief representative for ENN Energy Group, a Chinese firm planning to build a $5-billion solar plant on public land in Laughlin, Nevada.
The plan generated a great deal of controversy because Clark County officials voted to sell ENN the public land for $4.5 million, a figure far below its $38.6-million appraised value.
It is important to recognize that the land on which Bundy grazes his cattle is not the same land that ENN sought near Laughlin, which is over 200 miles away. However, the Bundy grazing land is within the BLM’s Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone, an area the BLM and DOW also want to use for “utility-scale solar energy development,” whether constructed by ENN or someone else. As blogger and candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from California’s 8th District Rodney Lee Conover recently wrote:
As part of the plan for the Dry Lake solar zone, any solar developers are expected to pay into a fund to “mitigate” the Gold Butte area. However, the “mitigation” activities can’t take place with cattle grazing in the area. If the mitigation doesn’t take place, no money for the BLM.
Conover’s assertions are supported by the BLM’s document entitled “Cattle Trespass Impacts,” which states that grazing by Bundy’s cattle “impacts” solar development, more specifically the construction of “utility-scale solar power generation facilities” on “public lands.”
“Non-Governmental Organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle,” an article by Kit Daniels posted by Infowars quoted the document.
Motivations are not always easy to prove, but in this case, Senator Reid’s hand has shown up more than once. The BLM’s principal deputy director, Neil Kornze, previously served as Senator Reid’s senior policy advisor. And we have noted Rory Reid’s role as the chief representative for China’s ENN Energy Group, which has sought to develop solar energy in Nevada. Whether these suspicions are proof of wrongful or illegal acts remains to be seen.
However, one thing is evident from what has transpired in Nevada: The federal government has reneged on a long-standing arrangement made by a rancher in good faith by which he and his family have earned a living for generations. In so doing, they have run roughshod over the rights of a U.S. citizen and have employed constitutionally dubious means to do so. If justice prevails, some judge with respect for the Constitution may follow the example of Chief Judge Robert C. Jones of the Federal District Court of Nevada. Last year — in the case of U.S. v. Hage — Jones issued an impassioned preliminary bench ruling in which he charged federal officials of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with an ongoing series of illegal actions against Nevada rancher E. Wayne Hage. Jones described the bureaucrats’ actions as “abhorrent” and a literal, criminal conspiracy.
Which is a pretty apt description of the BLM’s recent actions against Cliven Bundy.
As new information surfaces about last year’s attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and as the National Security Agency scandal continues to swirl throughout the media, the Obama administration has come out with a worldwide warning about the possibility of serious terrorist attacks.
Please forgive my skepticism. The news media need to dig into the timing and motivation of these warnings, coming as they do against the backdrop of scandals, particularly when the administration has created what it thinks is a win-win situation. Simply put, if the attacks fail to occur, President Obama’s team can claim that they thwarted them. If the attacks do occur, the administration can say it provided fair warning. But that’s a fool’s bargain when dealing with terrorists who can simply strike another day.
In an hour-long broadcast Tuesday, “The Truth About Benghazi,” CNN reported that dozens of CIA operatives were on the ground in Benghazi on Sept. 11 — something the agency has apparently tried to cover up. That’s the night Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
Such information brings the Benghazi issue — one the administration thought had lost significant traction — back into public view. If the CIA had people on the ground, why were Stevens and the three others essentially left to die?
The Department of Justice filed a sealed indictment against a Libyan militia leader on the same day CNN broadcast its report on the Benghazi attack. Amazing coincidence? Please forgive my skepticism again.
By promoting its efficiency in picking up the chatter about possible terrorist attacks, the intelligence community may believe it can quiet critics outraged by the revelations of the NSA’s widespread domestic surveillance programs — information leaked by onetime NSA contractor Edward Snowden to Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian.
Once again, pardon my skepticism. The NSA scandal is unlikely to die down anytime soon, despite the terrorist threat taking over the news for this week. And think about it for a moment. Do you honestly believe that the leader of al Qaeda communicates with his right-hand man in Yemen without considering how many other sets of ears may be listening? I strongly doubt it.
Now is the time for reporters to look to their confidential sources about the nature of the terrorist threats. One problem exists — one you might have missed last week. The Justice Department won a key victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals to force a reporter for The New York Times to reveal his confidential sources about information he published in a book on the Iranian nuclear program. That decision creates a significant chill among sources who might want to talk about severity of the current threat.
I spent a decade reporting about Middle East terrorism for Newsweek and ABC News. Terrorists typically have several objectives. One is to inflict death and destruction. Another is to create fear among the civilian population of a stronger adversary, such as the United States, and its allies.
By closing 22 embassies and consulates throughout the Middle East and North Africa and keeping 19 of them shut for the rest of the week, the Obama administration has already given the terrorists a major public relations victory.
Remember during the campaign when Mr. Obama constantly said al Qaeda was on the run? Maybe he wanted to use intelligence information back then to get re-elected. Now maybe he and his administration want intelligence information to provide cover for a variety of scandals. The dots really don’t need to be connected; the connections are all too obvious.
• Christopher Harper is a professor at Temple University. He worked for more than 20 years at the Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and “20/20.” He can be contacted at email@example.com. Twitter: @charper51.
Cronies tied to at least $10 billion of Obama’s taxpayer funded green-energy spending spree: Energy-sector 2009-Recovery Act advisor and Jobs Council member, billionaire John Doerr’s VC firm Kleiner Perkins –– Al Gore partner, and KPCB collaboration with the London based Generation Investment Management.
January 31, 2013 06:43 By Christine Lakatos
Updated to reflect First Solar addition for $3B
In my first segmentof “Spreading the Wealth to Obama’s Ultra-Rich Jobs
Council Members,” I covered Obama’s Jobs Czar, Jeffrey Immelt and the fact that General Electric, a top 2008 Obama donor, has been making bank off of Obama’s 2009-stimulus package –– GE’s “green tab” exceeds $3 billion in direct (some indirect) taxpayer cash, and counting.
Last July when I chronicled General Electric’s “big green stimulus bucks,” I also revealed the cozy ties and “green alliances” that Immelt has with other Jobs Council members and other high-profile fat cats, including John Doerr. One in particular was formed in 2010 –– the American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC), which called for “a tripling of U.S. federal energy research budget.” GE joined forces with others that have benefited from Obama’s alternative-energy taxpayer funds, like the Advanced Metering Partners, another Doerr “venture” via Silver Spring Networks, one of Kleiner Perkins shining green companies, which in 2009, cashed in big time when the DOE starting handing out $4 billion in smart grid grants. But that’s just the start…Billionaire John Doerr, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), along with his “billionaire climate buddy” Al Gore, is considered “a very big-ticket Obama donor” by New York Magazine, who in February 2011 hosted a star-studded billionaire Silicon Valley dinner for the president. Doerr not only sits on the President Obama’s Jobs Council (also from Obama’s 2009 PERAB), but early on he ultimately shapedwhat went into the energy sector of the president’s 2009-Stimulus package.
KPCB Green Money: 2010 vs. 2012
In my three-part 2010 summer series, “Obama’s Political Payback: Green Corruption,” I warned that billions of stimulus money was going to Doerr and Gore; however, besides being RIGHT, since that time, they have tripled their portfolio and thus warranted another look.In 2010 I calculated that over 50 percent of the companies listed on Kleiner Perkins “Greentech Portfolio” secured all kinds of loans, grants and special tax breaks (federal and state), and at that time I reported that of the nineteen, nine were lucky winners. Then in 2011 new reports came out from Peter Schweizer’a bestseller, Throw Them All Out(referenced throughout as Peter’s Book), revealing that as many as sixteen (of 27) “received direct taxpayer support in the form of loans, grants, or stimulus work.”Now with 66 listed –– although in reality it would take a team of investigators to track all the money –– as one-person researcher, I’ve found much more. My conclusion is that over 50 percent (again) are confirmed 2009-Recovery Act winners (36 of the 66). This means that ultra-rich Doerr and Gore –– through their alternative energy investment firm –– have raked in at least $1 billion in green-government subsidies, the majority coming from President Obama’s 2009-stimulus spending spree.
While quite a few of Doerr and Gore clean energy investments have been listed in my 2012 Green-Energy Failure Alert List (total at 52), The Wall Street Journal’s end of the year analysis sheds light on Kleiner Perkins –– a “political venture capital turns out to be a loser,” concluding,
“[Gore’s backing of] environmentally correct companies, the collaboration has yielded few successful exits for Mr. Gore and his partners, along with some spectacular disasters.”So much for Mr. Doerr’s claim, “Our green investing doesn’t depend on government policies. It’s about basic supply and demand.”
Kleiner Perkins is also tied to over $9 billion of Obama approved DOE loans and 2009-Recovery Act funds. Through Gore’s UK-based Generation Investment Management (GIM), there’s Abengoa (a Spanish firm) that received three loans from the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program totaling close to $2.8 billion, which also recently got more money from another “massive taxpayer-backed fund for corporate welfare” –– the U.S. Export-Import Bank. While this too carries its very own corruption slant, the $150 million is going for green jobs, not here in the United States, but overseas. Hmm, our jobs council must be proud.
Also through GIM, there’s “The First Solar Three Billion Dollar Swindle,” which includes three large solar projects, and casts plenty more shady characters (Obama bundlers and top donors) in the green-deal making process –– a story Marita and I exposedin July 2012. Despite the fact that all three of these projects considered risky investments by Fitch, the DOE approved these “White House supported” loans through the 1703 program in August and September 2011, and shortly after were purchased by other Obama cronies.First Solar, a Goldman Sachs early investment, was also part of Gore’s GIM’s stock portfolio. In an interesting October 2012 article by Bill Gunderson of TheStreet, “According to SEC filings, Gore’s company bought 440,000 shares in late 2010 at about $130. By the first quarter of 2012, the value of First Solar — and just about every other solar manufacturer in America — had plummeted.” While Gore’s stock purchase just so happened to be during the DOE’s so-called review process of four First Solar loans, as reflected in the March 20, 2012 House Oversight Report, The Street reflects more on this. “Generation Investment rode it all the way down, buying more and more shares as the price went lower and lower until finally it reached $25 in the first quarter of 2012. Generation Investment was holding 1.1 million shares worth about $28 million. Filings for the next period show First Solar had disappeared from its portfolio — with Generation Investment selling its shares for somewhere between $12 and $25.”
But Gore wasn’t the only one selling out –– during a brutal (May 16, 2012) House Oversight hearing the truth came out, First Solar’s CEO Michael Ahearn sold 700,000 of his own shares in August 2011, of which he personally raked in a whopping $68.5 million, with reports of more. Ahearn also relunctantly admitted, “in sheer numbers, most of our full time [employees] are outside the US” –– I think to Spain.
Another one involves Kleiner Perkins “nuclear buddy” AREVA (Ausra Inc., also a GIM investment, acquired by the French company AREVA February 8, 2010) and its $2 billion “POTUS approved” loan. Plus Ausra, now Areva Solar Inc. was awarded close to a $14 million 1603 grant for “solar electricity” in California two weeks later. Topping off this “stimulus winner” connection list is their shining smart firm, Silver Spring Networks as well as OPower, of which both are tied to at least $1.3 billion of the Recovery Act Smart-Grid Grants.
So billions of stimulus money and green jobs are going to foreign companies –– where’s our jobs council on this?
While Doerr is a known Obama donor, we find that “Top Kleiner Perkins executives have given more than a million dollars to federal candidates and parties since 1991, most of it going to Democrats. Obama himself has received $19,000 from the company’s employees,” reports the National Review Online.
They go on further with details, “According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Brook Byers, also a major partner, has made $391,110 in political contributions since 1990, $148,500 of which went directly to the Democratic party (most of the rest went to individual Democratic candidates). Kleiner Perkins co-founder Frank Caufield’s $394,950 in political contributions since 1990 have gone almost entirely to Democrats. Another top partner, David Blood, helped organize a $2,300-a-head fundraiser for Candidate Obama in 2008.”
Green Energy: “The Mother of All Markets”
In 2010, I had written extensively on Doerr and Gore, and mentioned David Blood. Doerr and Gore –– the “climate duo,” whose combined “carbon footprint” is larger than my entire city –– friendship dates as far back as the 90′s. Since being converted to “global warming” by Gore in 2005 with “a convenient hype,” Doerr has become a “green evangelist,” with his climate crisis message, “I’m really scared, I don’t think we’re gonna make it.” At the same time Doerr continually markets green-energy as “the mother of all markets” –– $6 trillion a year worldwide.
In 2004 Gore started a company with former CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management David Blood –– Generation Investment Management (GIM): “Sustainable Investing for the Long Term” –– whereas Blood is the “wizard behind” GIM, and other executives include two other Goldman bigwigs, Mark Ferguson and Peter Harris.
In 2007, GIM and Kleiner Perkins created the “International Alliance to accelerate global climate solutions,” and about that time, Gore became a partner of Kleiner Perkins and Doerr joined the GIM advisory board.
In 2008, Kleiner Perkins launched the Green Growth Fund stating that “[it] will invest $500 million in Growth-Stage Companies,” and “separately announced the formation of KPCB XIII, a $700 million fund that will invest in greentech, information technology and life sciences ventures.” It turns out that “the KPCB Green Growth Fund will also enable the firm to extend its existing collaboration with the London based Generation Investment Management.”
Obviously Al Gore, a two-term Obama advocate, is a heavy weight within political circles, but don’t underestimate John Doerr’s, which politics date back to the Bush administration when “Doerr and his team were responsible for gettingthe ‘end-oil-addiction’ wording inserted into President Bush’s 2006 state-of-the-union address.”Furthermore, in 2008, Doerr placed his “hope” on the anointed one, and in January 2009, his persuasion was reflected in the 2009-Recovery Act via his “meetings with Obama’s transition team and leaders in Congress” as well as the fact that he made “five recommendations to Congress and President-elect Barack Obama to jumpstart a green-tech revolution and fight global warming.” Of course it included a cap-and-trade system (the real pot of gold at the end of the climate rainbow), smart grid, solar, and more federal money to be allocated toward renewable energy –– all of which would benefit his portfolio dramatically. And so it has…
Teaser: Senator John Kerry and Green-Energy Crony-Corruption
Before we dissect more of Kleiner Perkins “green,” I’d like to note that last May The Washington Free Beacon exposed Senator John Kerry, whom President Obama recently nominated as Secretary of State to replace Hillary Clinton, and his part in this green-energy scheme. Kerry, the co-author of cap-and-trade legislation, more specifically the 2010 American Power Act, is another 2009-Recovery Act green-energy crafter, along with Doerr and five others that I found, which have cashed in big time from the stimulus funds (a forthcoming, explosive post).As revealed by The Free Beacon, “the Senator played a key role in crafting the portions of the legislation designed to offer federal support for green energy projects. Kerry also “purchased —through family trusts — between $30,000 and $100,000 worth of shares in a number of KPCB investment funds, including its “Green Growth Fund [that lists fourteen companies], and continued to purchase shares throughout 2010, according to the Senator’s financial disclosure forms.”Kerry is also tied to quite a few other high-profile banks and firms that received DOE loans and grants, however, Marita Noon (from Townhall.com) and I will be doing a full bombshell story on Senator Kerry’s role in this green-energy, crony-corruption scandal in the very near future.
10/31/12 Leaked House Oversight Emails Reveal more White House intervention and involvement as wells as DOE Advisors that pressured, rushed –– and contrary to their testimony, met with “investors” during the course of the “green deal making process.”
Next, I’d like to expose what I found in the October 31, 2012 House Oversight emails (that included a memorandum as well as Appendix I and the 350+ page Appendix II) related to four large Department of Energy (DOE) transactions. The first one I had alluded to in the beginning, which is tied to Gore’s GIM company, while the other three to Kleiner Perkins –– one acquired, one a direct investment, and the other as a contractor.
Keep in mind that the DOE Loan Guarantee Program (LGP) consists of three separate programs, Section 1703, Section 1705, and Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM), of which the 1705 was created by the stimulus, and the other two were approved by the Obama administration.
Since 2009, DOE has guaranteed $34.7 billion of taxpayer money –– 1703 doled out $10.3 billion to two projects; AREVA and Georgia Power, which are both suspect. Meanwhile through the 1705 $16 billion was doled out to 26 projects, of which 22 were rated as “junk bond” status –– and we can confirm that over 90 percent are politically connected to the president and other high-ranking Democrats, some both. The ATVM loaned out $8.4 billion, of which three of the five are directly tied to President Obama, while the other two Ford Motor Co. and Nissan, were “heavily engaged in negotiations with the administration over fuel economy standards for model years 2012- 2016 at the time DOE was considering their applications.”
#1) Abengoa received three loans from the DOE 1705 Loan Guarantee Program totaling close to $2.8 billion/ and recently snagged $150 million from the Export-Import Bank of the United States
Spanish company Abengoa that received close to $2.8 billion in loans, making them the second largest recipient of the $16 billion doled out through the DOE 1705 loan guarantee program.
Abengoa has two solar projects: Solana and Mojave Solar. Solana’s Fitch rating is BB+. Just before Christmas, 2010, the company received $1.45 billion from the DOE for a solar thermal plant, to use parabolic trough technology in Gila Bend, AZ. Mojave Solar’s rating was BB. Yet the company received $1.2 billion in September 2011 for its solar assembly collection project in San Bernardino County, CA. Abengoa has connections to .
In addition to the two solar projects listed above, Abengoa also has a biofuel project located in Kansas, which Fitch rated CCC that got a $132.4 million loan in August 2010.
So how did such a poorly rated, non-American company get billions in US taxpayer loan guarantees? Can you say “crony corruption?” A story Marita and I wrote last summer, but in short, Abengoa has a cadre of cronies in high places which not only involves Al Gore, but former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, California’s Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, and, of course, President Obama — plus, many others whose names you’ve probably never heard of.
Also, as I mentioned, in December 2012, the Export-Import Bank of the United States authorized $150 million in loans to Abengoa: $78.6 million direct loan to Spain-based Abengoa, and $73.6 million direct loan to a wind farm in Uruguay, which is owned by Abengoa –– as part of “an ambitious goal set by President Obama, of doubling U.S. exports in five years,” which to me in the case of Abengoa, we are exporting billions of US tax dollars to Spain.
What’s relevant at this point, is that in 2007, Gore’s UK-based Generation Investment Management (GIM) bought a stake in Abengoa. He has extolled Abengoa for years, visiting “the largest solar platform in Europe” (operated by Abengoa) in October 2008 and delivering a high-powered speech at the company’s Spanish headquarters in October 2010. GIM Advisory Board Member Mario Molino also serves on Abengoa’s Advisory Committee.
While there are many emails to report on in regards to the Abengoa loans (a forthcoming column), one EMAIL in particular dated June 25, 2010 is very interesting. James McCrea writes to Jonathan Silver (cc’s David Frantz and Susan Richardson), with the subject line: Abengoa, Abound, First Wind, and Beacon: ”Jonathan — an update on the 4 projects as of this evening. DOE is moving with ‘”the fierce urgency of now,’” while OMB/Treasury/FFB are moving with “fierce urgency of… whenever. There has been no sign of life from OMB/FFB/Treasury and no sign that they are responding to WH intervention.”
Silver responds to McCrea and Richardson (cc’s David Frantz), “Sounds like we can’t do the closing deals but can announce the conditional commitments. Let’s keep pushing on all four, but I will set the stage upstairs.”
#2) AREVA: $2 Billion DOE 1703 Loan Guarantee
Ausra Inc. –– a KPCB investment that “develops and deploys utility-scale solar technologies,” February 8, 2010, was acquired by AREVA Inc. Then May 21, 2010, “The U.S. Department of Energy offered a conditional commitment for a $2 billion loan guarantee to AREVA to facilitate financing of its Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility planned for development near Idaho Falls, Idaho.” Plus Ausra, now Areva Solar Inc. was awarded close to a $14 million 1603 grant for “solar electricity” in California two weeks later, February 26, 2010.
EMAIL, September 1, 2009, subject line; etc warranty: James McCrea in addressing “AREVA backstopping,” writes, “Re the rushed process, I agree [another system of a process that’s overly and artificially rushed].” He goes on, “What makes it far worse, is that we are doing our analysis, preparing the term sheet, etc. (not ECT!!) before the project has gelled. In the commercial finance world, this transaction would not be ready for real financing discussion/term sheet preparation for a least a year.”
EMAIL, September 24, 2009, subject line; AREVA update: James McCrea writes, “Given the size of this transaction ($2B of loan guarantee), the political overlay, and recent experience with both CC and OMB, we are making every effort to button this transaction and the credit paper down as tightly as we can…”
Six months later we find an EMAIL dated March 1, 2010, subject line; Eagle Rock Project: from David Schmitzer, DOE LPO Director of Loan Origination to James McCrea: “Jonathan 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).”
And two months later, May 2010, the $2 billion loan guarantee was approved, and they estimate that it will create 1000 construction jobs and a whopping 310 permanent jobs. Interesting enough is that AREVA is also tied to the UniStar project, which I found more damning evidence in the House Oversight leaked emails, implicating Secretary Chu and other Democrat politicians like
Steny Hoyer when he was the House Majority Leader in 2010, however, we need to get back to Kleiner Perkins.
NOTE: AREVA’s Eagle Rock Enrichment facility made it on my 2012 Green-Energy Failure Alert List, in the troubled category — with rumors of AREVA “suspending its Idaho uranium enrichment plant” circulated in late 2011, and more. But it’s unsure where they stand now…
#3) Fisker Automotive: $529 Million DOE ATVM Loan Guarantee / plus $21.5 million from the State of Delaware
One of the most blatant examples of government favoritism, catching headlines in the Wall Street Journal back in September 2009 (Gore-Backed Car Firm Gets Large U.S. Loan) was the $529 million ATVM loan guarantee, a huge deal that was cinched in April 2010, went to Fisker Automotive. Yep, Doerr and Gore’s Fisker DOE loan ignited red flags, partly due to the fact that the funds were for its high-end, hybrid sports coupe, Fisker Karma that was to be manufactured in Finland and sold for $89,000.
Isn’t that dandy? Even our jobs council is shipping jobs overseas, and using taxpayer money to do so…
Still, haven’t a few gone up in flames lately, and what about those layoffs? In fact Fisker too, made it on my 2012 Green-Energy Failure Alert List (total at 52), in the troubled category –– as they are possibly on life support. And what about the $21.5 million Fisker got from Delaware, which is composed of a $9 million grant and a $12.5 million loan, yet as of January 5th the company has yet to produce a car in Delaware.
Now in my analysis of these emails, I didn’t find much on the ATVM front, however, there were a few interactions that occurred between the following:
- Stephen Fisher, Director at Scully Capital Services, a Financial Advisor to U.S. Department
of Energy on the Federal Loan Guarantee Program, including the ATVM
- James C. McCrea, (FORMER?) Senior Credit Advisor Loan Programs Department of Energy
- Jason H. Gerbsman, (FORMER?) Chief of Staff & Senior Investment Officer, Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, Office of Loan Programs, U.S. Department of Energy
- Lachlan Seward, amongst other high-profile government and financial works, he is the former Director of the ATVM Loan Program
- Jonathan Silver, former Executive Director of the Loans Programs Office Department of Energy (November 2009 to October 2011)
EMAILS dated May 16 to 18, 2011, where the aforementioned were discussing Next AutoWorks (they were seeking a $320 million ATVM loan) and the fact that Jonathan Silver was meeting with John Doerr on Tuesday, May 24, 2011.
Further, one EMAIL dated May 18, 2011 from Stephen Fisher to Jim McCrea, references a Next Framework Letter, where he writes, “Watch for a draft letter (Silver to Ligocki) coming this afternoon,” and then goes on… “It does make you wonder why we are putting all this in a letter to them. “It is a very strange process change for no good reason other than communicating with the Kleiner Perkins benefactors…”
NOTE: Kathleen Ligocki is an Operating Executive at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers (since September 2012) and serves as Chief Executive Officer of Next Autoworks Company (since 2010), a Kleiner Perkins company.
Next AutoWorks (formally V-Vehicle), is backed by Google Ventures, T. Boone Pickens, and Kleiner Perkins –– all Obama buddies. However, in November 2011, due to the to the defaults and federal probes into of other DOE-funded startups like Solyndra and Beacon Power that caused the government to re-evaluate its appetite for loans to early-stage companies, they withdrew their application in November 2011, “after DOE officials informed the automobile startup that its application would not be approved.”
The car cronyism is obvious within the ATVM program, and I had sounded that “corruption alarm” in 2010, and this past November updated the story, “Cruising Down the Green Cronyism Road,” whereas all five loans were tied to the president. Moreover this past November, Marita and I were given the exclusive interview XP Technologies, the company that filed a lawsuit against the federal government concerning the DOE’s denial of XP Technology’s loan guarantee application. The complaint alleges: “criminal activities did take place by DOE staff and affiliates.”Still, this [Next AutoWorks] email interaction is another case where we can prove that Mr. Silver lied under oath before the July 18, 2012, Oversight Hearing, where he had emphatically denied that he or anyone else in the DOE Loan Program knew who the investors were in the companies applying for loans. Silver said, “indeed no one in the Loan Program had any idea what individuals were involved in this [Abound] or any other transaction, nor did we care.” Even a second time, “…as I say, almost nobody that I am aware of in the Loan Program even knew who the individuals were who had invested, either directly or indirectly, into these companies.” I guess nobody does care, not even the House Oversight Committee that Silver lied to…
#4) U.S. Geothermal: $97 million loan via the DOE 1705 Loan Guarantee Program
U.S. Geothermal Inc. (USG) –– an Idaho-based geothermal energy developer with three main projects in the works: San Emidio in Nevada, Raft River in Idaho, and Neal Hot Springs in Oregon, with plans for more. Peter’s Book notes that Goldman Sachs “was the second-largest-shareholder” however, in December 2011, The Huffington Post reported, “Goldman has a minority stake in U.S. Geothermal,” and “U.S. Geothermal is working with Raft River I Holdings, yet another Goldman subsidiary, on a project in Idaho.”
Neal Hot Springs Project in Malheur County, Oregon:
In May 2009, USG started the DOE loan process, and in June 2010, USG announced that it “was offered a conditional commitment for a $102.2-million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy,” slated to build a 22-megawatt power plant in the eastern Oregon desert.
In EMAIL exchanges February 16 and 17, 2011, discussing POTUS/LPO and President Obama’s visit to Oregon, Jonathan Silver writes, “See Below: POTUS will be in Portland on Friday (that is a close hold) and would like to announce both deals. So, you will not be surprised that OMB has cleared both. We need to get our work done on US Geothermal. I realize it is unfair. Life in the big city. Thanks! This will be a great week for the program!”
Later Matthew Winters (Senior Advisor, Loan Programs) responds about US Geothermal, “Now that we know POTUS is not going to make the SoloPower/USGeo announcement in Portland on Friday –– and we are going to announce SoloPower w/Chu at 4:30pm tomorrow –– the question is what do we do with USGeothermal? With appropriate pressure applied on OMB, this deal could still close by Friday…”
Brandon Hulbut, replies to Winters and cc’s Jonathan Silver, Owen Barwell, and Jim McCrea, “At wh let’s discuss first thing tomorrow –– heard some stuff from omb we need to sort out.”
And just a week later, February 24, 2011, USG secured the loan for $96.8-million via the 1705 loan guarantee program –– one of the first geothermal projects funded by the DOE, despite the fact that in December 2010, S&P gave it a “BB,” non-investment grade.
Now why is US Geothermal relevant to John Doerr?
Well, besides the fact that this Oregon-based project is “expected to create 150 construction jobs and 10 permanent jobs” for whopping $97 million — another tainted mark on Obama’s jobs panel –– Doerr and Gore are in cahoots with Goldman Sachs on many of theses green-energy deals, and as you continue reading you’ll discover this entire green-energy scheme.
It turns out that in June 2010, “USG selected “TAS Energy, Inc. to supply high efficiency, modular, clean energy power plant technology for its Neal Hot Springs geothermal power plant in Eastern Oregon.” In that announcement they mention the $102.2-million loan guarantee from the DOE.
Furthermore, the day the USG loan was finalized, TAS Energy “was awarded a contract by USG Oregon, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of U.S. Geothermal Inc.” And interestingly, TAS Energy became part of Kleiner Perkins Green Growth Fund, a deal they closed in June 2011. So, while I can’t locate any direct stimulus funds for TAS, they did get a JOB, and are still getting paid with taxpayer money, and from the Recovery Act.
However, there is more USG government money to expose; the Neal Hot Springs Project was also counting “on a separate, $34 million federal tax rebate— money that’s part of the 2009 federal stimulus act.” Now, I’m unsure whether they got that, but I do know that USG Oregon project was not the only winner of Obama stimulus funds. Here’s a brief glance at the other two:San Emidio Project in Nevada:
In October 2009, USG was “awarded $3.77 million in Recovery Act funding for the exploration and development of its San Emidio geothermal power project.” In November 2011, USG (for San Emidio Geothermal Project) secured a $9 million cash grant via the Section 1603 ITC, also part of the Recovery Act.Raft River Project in Idaho:
In September 2009, the DOE finalized an award for the Raft River EGS program, which they state, “now totals up to $10.21 million, with the DOE providing up to $7.39 million as part of the cost-sharing arrangement.” It also states, The Raft River EGS project is one of 21 projects that are scheduled to conduct research, develop and demonstrate the viability of Enhanced Geothermal Systems. The DOE provided up to $78 million in funding for the 2008/2009 programs,” and it began in February 2010.
Kleiner Perkins Projects Tied to Goldman Sachs and Wealthy Venture Capitalists: Obama Bundlers, Top Donors, and Appointed Department of Energy Advisors
Besides General Electric and Gore’s Generation Investment Management, Kleiner Perkins is also in cahoots with other fat-cat Obama bundles and donors –– two became DOE Advisors –– that were huge winners of the Obama “green stimulus cash” (taxpayer money that is): Goldman Sachs, Khosla Ventures, and The Westly Group as well as Vantage Point Capital Partners and Google Ventures.
Back in 2010, I reported on Goldman Sachs and the fact that they were cashing in on the green stimulus, and as my research developed, found their DNA is all over this green-energy scheme, including “The First Solar Three Billion Dollar Swindle,” explained earlier.
Besides First Solar and U.S. Geothermal, there is another Goldman investments that happens to be part of the 1705 “DOE junk bond portfolio.” Cogentrix of Alamosa, LLC (Cogentrix Energy a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs), which despite the fact that it had a “B rating” by Fitch in July 2011, in September 2011 they snagged a $90.6 million DOE loan ”to support one of the first utility scale, high concentration photovoltaic energy generation facilities in the U.S. and the largest of its kind in the world.”
What you should know about Cogentrix, besides the fact that $90 million of taxpayer money went to create a whopping 10 jobs, is that with this one transaction, Goldman Sachs cashed in every step of the way –– and their green cronies too. (A striking detail that I found when reviewing the June 19, 2012 House Oversight Hearing, where the CEO of Cogentrix Mr. Robert Mancini testified).
This is relevant not just because of the obvious cronyism and deep-seated corruption, but this green deal making is also tied to Amonix, a Gore and Doerr (also Steve Westly, DOE Advisor) investment, which received over $20 million in federal tax credits and grants, and went bankrupt July 18, 2012. More on Amonix later.
I’ve noted Obama’s Wall Street Buddies in previous posts, and have written extensively about the president’s connection to Goldman Sachs –– the number two top Obama donor in 2008. Also, two Goldman executives sat on Obama’s 2008 Finance Committee, Bruce Heyman and David Heller, while Jennifer Scully and Bruce Heyman were 2008 bundlers –– Heyman was also a 2012 Obama bundler.
Even without extensive research, Goldman Sachs is tied to many other clean-energy projects that received loans, grants and special tax breaks from the Obama administration, and what I’ve tracked so far are billions of stimulus money from the DOE; First Solar, Cogentrix, and U.S. Geothermal. They are also credited as the “exclusive financial adviser” for now bankrupt Solyndra, and in 2010, handled the IPO of both Tesla Motors and Amyris. There are more bankrupt ones as well –– SpectraWatt and Nordic WindPower, as well as “struggling” SunTech, taking billions of taxpayer money down with them.
NOTE: All but three of the above are on my 2012 Green-Energy Failure Alert List.
But wait…… as I glance at an old PDF (April 2011) copy of Goldman Sachs Environmental
Markets (link no longer valid), besides First Solar, U.S. Geothermal, Nordic WindPower, and SunTech, there are six more. One that sticks out in my memory is Horizon Wind Energy, of which “EDP-Energias de Portugal SA, the country’s biggest electricity utility, agreed to buy Horizon Wind Energy LLC of Texas from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for $2.15 billion,” and Citigroup Inc. advised EDP on the Horizon acquisition,” according to Bloomberg in 2007.
Now Horizon is very relevant to the “Wind Energy Blows in More Green Corruption” story that I will be telling soon. But in the meantime, you’ll be “blown away” by the billions of “wind energy grants” that flew out of the 2009-Recovery Act back in February 2010, the majority of which went to projects owned by foreign companies. And Horizon-EDPR (Portugal) was the winners of four totaling over $277 million.
In March 2012, Goldman Sachs announced its plan “to channel investments totaling $40 billion over the next decade into renewable energy projects, an area the investment bank called one of the biggest profit opportunities since its economists got excited about emerging markets in 2001,” writes Reuters –– meaning they’ll be pursuing for more government aid.
Khosla Ventures is where you’ll find billionaire Vinod Kholsa, and “Kholsa had been the head of Obama’s India Policy Team during the 2008 election,” states Peter’s Book. As revealed by a recent Breitbart.com article, “In October 2012, Mr. Khosla donated one million dollars to Priorities USA Action, a top liberal super PAC that backed President Barack Obama’s reelection. According to Reuters, since 1996, Mr. Khosla has made at least $474,534 in campaign donations, 86% of which went to Democrats.”
Mr. Khosla happens to be another big VC winner in the green taxpayer funded giveaway, which includes Ausra (listed above), Coskata that snagged a $250 million DOE loan, as well as Nordic WindPower (also a Goldman Sachs investment, listed above) for $16 million, plus much, much more.
Vinod Khosla, an affiliated partner of Kleiner Perkins, whose firm Khosla Ventures has also invested in some of the same companies as Kleiner Perkins –– these include Ausra Inc., AltaRock, Amyris, Great PointEnergy, Mascoma, and QuantumScape (part of Khosla Ventures “sustainability portfolio“), and all received Obama stimulus funds.
The Westly Group
Meet Steve Westly, the Founder and Managing Partner of The Westly Group, and a “DOE Insider,” as well as another Obama crony who made a DNC 2012 cameo. Westly is a two-time Obama bundler, sat on the campaign’s National Finance Committee, and was a co-chair of the 2012 Technology for Obama group. He was briefly considered for a cabinet level position in the Obama administration, and in August 2010, Westly secured a top advisory role inside the DOE, close to Energy Secretary Chu.
In 2011, Westly was tagged as the “Green bundler with the golden touch,” where IWatch points to “a trail of [green] loans, grants and tax breaks.” However, I found more –– as of today they list 20 firms (exited and current), and at least 50 percent of The Westly Group portfolio were winners in the Obama green-energy spending spree.
The most infamous is the Tesla Motors $465 million ATVM loan, which made it on my 2012 Green Energy Failure Alert List, in the troubled category with its array of Democrat cronies.
Throw in Soladigm (now called “view“), CalStar Products, and Enerkem, which 2009 got $50 million of DOE Recovery-Act funding, and in 2011, 80 million loan guarantee by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). SCIenergy, Inc., which in January 2012 got $2.8 million, plus more from city of San Jose via the stimulus. Meanwhile ShotSpotter is getting wired from stimulus funds, and in 2010, Revolution Foods got a DC contract for two “healthy school meals” pilot programs.
Topping the Westly list with more winners of green Recovery Act funds, Amonix, Amyris Biotechnologies, EdenIQ, RecycleBank, and Solexel, which are all part of Kleiner Perkins greentech portfolio, and you’ve got a DOE Advisor that we can now label as the ”Green Golden Boy.”
Vantage Point Capital Partners
Add another “DOE Insider,” Sanjay Wagle, who was an Obama fundraiser for the 2008 campaign through his Clean Tech for Obama group. After the 2008 election, Wagle joined the Obama administration as a “renewable energy grants adviser” at the Department of Energy under Secretary Chu (reported to beat the ARPA-E program at the DOE).Prior to arriving in Washington, Wagle was a principal at Vantage Point Venture Partners, a cleantech venture capital firm, where Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a Partner and Senior Advisor. However, according to some Greentech defenders, “Wagle gave up any interests in VantagePoint and the companies it invested in before joining DOE,” and left the DOE sometime in 2012.
That may be true (although I’d like to see the proof), but Wagle was part of the September 22, 2009, Valerie Jarrett “CLEAN ENERGY SUMMIT” held at the White House, whereas “attendees [had] struck gold, cashing in on $5.3 billion in taxpayer funds from the Obama administration.” This was as of June 5, 2012, but I found much more.
Part of that “gold rush” included Vanatage Point‘s portfolio, which has at least nine green firms that have snagged green-government subsidies, and three are listed on my 2012 Green Energy Failure Alert List; Telsa Motors, BrightSource Energy and its $1.6B Shady DOE Deal, as well as Serious Energy –– all listed in the troubled category. Meanwhile there are many tied to other “green allies” that were huge winners of “green” taxpayer money, but four are Kleiner Perkins investments: Amprius, FloDesign, Mascoma, and MiaSole’.
In my last post about GE, I shared a set of DOE emails that revealed pressure by the White House (specifically, Vice President Joe Biden, who was supposed to be the Stimulus Sheriff) in the Shepherds Flat wind project in Oregon (Caithness Shepherds Flat, LLC). However, last summer, I divulged that after the huge $1.3 billion DOE loan was finalized in December 2010, four months later, another close associate of, and big donor to the president invested in Caithness.
Enter in Google…
As uncovered in Peter’s Book, “Google’s CEO at the time, Eric Schmidt, served as an informal advisor to President Obama.” Still, Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman, was an Obama donor in 2008, and since April 2009, is a member of the president’s Science and Technology Advisory Council (PCAST). In fact, Google’s $814,540 contribution to Obama’s campaign made it the fifth largest donor in 2008, and in 2012 moved up to the number three spot with a whopping $805,119.
Another Google connection is Dan Reicher, director of climate and energy initiatives at Google, was one of the founders of Cleantech and Green Business Leaders for Obama. While there are other interesting folks behind the Google scenes, John Doerr has served as a member of Goolge’s board of directors since May 1999.
Furthermore, according to Michelle Malkin, ” Google cofounder Sergey Brin, Chief Legal Officer and Senior Vice President David Drummond, and Google Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf are all vocal Obama supporters and top donors.”
As of late, Google has aimed its “search engines” at green technology, many of which have received government help –– BrightSource, Solar City, Telsa Motors, and others. In fact, Google Ventures, Energy Investments list include (d): CoolPlanetBioFuels, Amprius, Clean Power Finance, Nest, Next Autoworks, Silver Spring Networks, and Transphorm, the latter six are also part of Kleiner Perkins greentech portfolio with four verified Recovery Act winners.
You can bet your bottom dollar, if you have one left, that we’ll find tons more green-energy funds inside these fat cats’ treasure chests, especially since the DOE continues to hand out checks. Furthermore, in an interview for TIME’s Person of the Year award, President Obama said “the economy, immigration, climate change and energy would be at the top of his agenda for the next four years.” So, if our president gets his way with more stimulus and/or renewable energy funds (and he will, just watch for the sales pitch, “invest”), this Elite Green Group will be there with their hand out for more corporate welfare checks, and President Obama will oblige –– after all they got him elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012, political payback.
What really ticks me off, is that if these ultra rich dudes REALY want to save the planet, why don’t they use their own dang money?
Signing the Taxpayer Theft Act Disguised as Stimulus
Christine Lakatos is the mother of two awesome daughters, diet book author, ACE Certified fitness expert, and post at Fitness Flash. her new venture –– ferocious researcher and “Green Corruption” blogger. She is also a retired athlete, fitness competitor and American Gladiator’s contestant, plus more. Full bio>
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“Nobody in this country realizes that cap-and-trade is a tax – and it’s a great big one.”
The latest megalomaniacal threat from the financial globalists wants to saddle the world economy with a cost of trillions of dollars that benefits favorite corporatists. The phony global warming cult has a core purpose. Their objective is to drive down the standard of living for non-elites and prevent the use of fossil fuel energy. The fallacious science used to create a disinformation scare for politically unsophisticated “True Believers” is a direct result of transnational money manipulators. The Davos crowd sponsors the educational and media institutions that trump up junk research and manufacture idealistic solutions.
Make no mistake about it, the Davos Elites Enjoys the Global Depression, and love corporate welfare. They greatly profit from government subsidized “Green” ventures, which drive up energy costs and line the pockets of compadre companies, under the control of the financial barons. As the rest of us struggle to survive, pronouncements declare an every greater burden to bear. Note the ominous future in Davos Report Calls For Additional $14 Trillion To Restrain Global Warming.
“The world must spend an additional $14 trillion on clean energy infrastructure, low-carbon transport and energy efficiency to meet the United Nations’ goal for capping the rise in average global temperatures, according to a World Economic Forum report released on Monday.”
Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon states the globalist viewpoint.
“Economic growth and sustainability are inter-dependent, you cannot have one without the other, and greening investment is the pre-requisite to realizing both goals.”
What can be expected from these “greening investment” projects? In order to anticipate future plans, a comprehensive understanding of the past and present shady business practices is crucial.
Examine the industrial wind and solar model in detail. The Washington Post reports in, Sting operations reveal Mafia involvement in renewable energy, is just the tip of the iceberg.
“The still-emerging links of the mafia to the once-booming wind and solar sector here are raising fresh questions about the use of government subsidies to fuel a shift toward cleaner energies, with critics claiming that huge state incentives created excessive profits for companies and a market bubble ripe for fraud. China-based Suntech, the world’s largest solar panel maker, last month said it would need to restate more than two years of financial results because of allegedly fake capital put up to finance new plants in Italy. The discoveries here also follow “eco-corruption” cases in Spain, where a number of companies stand accused of illegally tapping state aid.
Because it receives more sun and wind than any other part of Italy, Sicily became one of Europe’s most obvious hotbeds for renewable energies over the past decade. As the Italian government began offering billions of euros annually in subsidies for wind and solar development, the potential profitability of such projects also soared — a fact that did not go unnoticed by Sicily’s infamous crime families.
Roughly a third of the island’s 30 wind farms — along with several solar power plants — have been seized by authorities. Officials have frozen more than $2 billion in assets and arrested a dozen alleged crime bosses, corrupt local councilors and mafia-linked entrepreneurs. Italian prosecutors are now investigating suspected mafia involvement in renewable-energy projects from Sardinia to Apulia.”
The in-depth analysis, Big Wind Energy Subsidies: A Hurricane of Carnage, Cronyism and Corruption is a good primer on the way plungers game the system and pay off politicians at the taxpayers’ expense.
“Lewis “Lew” Hay, III is executive chairman of NextEra Energy, Inc., and it is estimated by Forbes, that CEO “Hay earns nearly $10 million in total compensation from NextEra.” Despite the fact that Hay was actually a “major political contributor to Sen. John McCain in 2008,” he quickly learned which side his power company could generate the title of the “Third Largest Recipient of DOE Risky Loans.” Hay too joined wealthy Democratic donors on Obama’s Jobs Council in 2011, along with the other two I have tackled in this series, “Spreading the Wealth to Obama’s Ultra-Rich Job Council” –– Jobs Czar, Jeffrey Immelt CEO of General Electric has raked in $3 billion and counting, meanwhile John Doerr, along with his “climate buddy” Al Gore’s, VC firm Kleiner Perkins is tied to at least $10 billion of stimulus funds. Both General Electric and Doerr were key contributors to what went into the 2009 Stimulus.
No matter how you slice it, whether we are sending money abroad or fueling corporate welfare here in the United States as well as the egregious practice of crony capitalism, the 2009-Recovery act is a lie, a travesty and a scam, favoring wealthy financial backers of President Obama and the Democratic Party as well as those with influential political connections to both. And with a president that’s dead set on pushing a fierce and radical climate change agenda and funding green energy with taxpayer money, no matter the long list of failures, there is no end in sight to this green corruption scandal.
Besides NextEra Energy taking full advantage of the federal production tax credit (PTC), we now can confirm that the Bank of Obama has rewarded this conglomerate of a power company, and his millionaire job council buddy Lewis Hay, with two large DOE loans ($2.3 billion); one large stimulus smart-grid grant ($200 million); and six 1603 stimulus grants totaling $398.5 million. Thus NextEra’s green tab is on its way to $3 billion of taxpayer money, and that’s not factoring in the PTC.”
With this background and sorry record of corruption to build upon, the World Economic Forum at Davos sets the agenda for the global economy.
Davos 2013: Green Governance To ’Save the World’ is all about enacting their Agenda 21 authoritarianism. Elizabeth Leafloor from RedIceCreations.com writes:
“The WEF suggests a crisis of leadership and debt are some of the biggest challenges facing the world, and that ’global governance’ is the key to stabilization. Pascal Lamy, director-general of the World Trade Organisation, said: ‘We need proper global governance that has the necessary tools, power and energy to create a more level playing field at the international level.’
At the end of the day, a push for increased global governance and an environmental agenda is on the table for Davos 2013, under the banner of ’Resilent Dynamism’:
“Mr. Klaus Schwab (WEF Founder and executive chairman) said that the world is seeing “a new reality of sudden shocks and prolonged global economic malaise, particularly in major economies experiencing economic austerity”. He also mentioned, “Future growth in this new context requires dynamism – bold vision and even bolder action.
Either attribute – Resilience or Dynamism – alone is insufficient, as leadership in 2013 will require both”.
The “Greening” leadership translates into forcing upon the world a “Cap and Trade” dictatorship. The Calderon bandits that sip champagne from their Swiss chateau want to extend their aristocratic bondage upon a gullible public. The proper dictum is “Save the World” from the New World Order elites.
Read the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act – S. 2191, for the vision of the controlled carbon-trading scheme.
“The L-W CSA allows covered facilities to satisfy up to 15% of their compliance obligation with specific domestic offsets. An additional 15% can be covered using international emission allowances. Unlimited banking is allowed and owners and operators of covered facilities can borrow up to 15% of their annual compliance obligation from future years. The L-W CSA also creates a Carbon Market Efficiency Board to monitor the carbon trading market and implement specific cost relief measures, including increased borrowing and use of offsets.”
What a boondoggle for the consumer and a windfall for organized crime. If you worry about mob infiltration into this extortion racket, you had better focus on the true mafia; namely, the globalist plutocrats.
If the disclosed goal is to extract $14 Trillion from the distressed world economies, one can only reasonably conclude that the surreptitious objective is to widen the income gap between the ultra-rich and the peons. People pay the costs of taxation exploitation. The privileged elites view the masses as useless eaters, destined to be herded into pens of servitude.
The fake global warming panic is pure political propaganda, used to bolster a guilt complex to justify insider theft. A Cap and Trade ploy is designed to push up the costs of fossil fuel with full knowledge that “Greening Dreams” are no substitutes to real energy.
Research projects into technological alternative sources, based upon efficiency and reliability standards are valid. However, allowing governmental cronyism to impose limits on cheap energy, distorts the marketplace. The Davos crews of corporatist gangsters fly into their feast on private jets. The sycophant media reporting by the business toadies that attend the gala celebration of global autocracy should be indisputable evidence that the globalist own the public relations spin.
Even so, such distorted coverage does not blind those who understand the true nature of the planetary struggle. The monopolist plan for adding unwarranted tolls on your family budget, sold as a noble necessity, will only accelerate the systematic impoverishment of your economic existence.
- A $14 Trillion Extortion for a Global Warming Scam (veteranstoday.com)
- DRIESSEN: Obama’s wishful thinking on green energy (washingtontimes.com)
Al Gore, Mr. Green, is sure rolling in the green now. Selling his “Current TV” for $500 Million to Al Jazeera TV and its owners who are major players in the oil and natural gas industry (you know, the ones that are causing global warming!!!). Maybe now that he has that kind of dough, he will stop trying to sell carbon credits out of thin air. I’m not holding my breath.
- Oil Funded Al Jazeera Makes Al Gore Richer Than Mitt Romney (townhall.com)