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Bundler of Sunshine

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May 22, 2012 5:00 am
BY: Patrick Howley

Obama bundler’s husband has received more than a billion in DOE solar loans

New disclosures show that one of President Obama’s bundlers is the wife of an executive at an energy company that received a more-than-$1.2 billion Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee for a solar power plant.

Arvia Few is a bundler for the Obama re-election campaign who has promised to raise between $50,000 and $100,000. She began bundling for Obama in the first quarter of 2012. Her husband, Jason Few, is an executive at a company that has benefited handsomely from the Obama administration’s clean energy spending, records show.

The U.S. Department of Energy granted NRG Solar a $1.237-billion loan in September 2011 to help build NRG’s California Valley Solar Ranch, which is described as “a 250 MW alternating current PV solar generating facility” by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Few became senior vice president of Houston-based Reliant Energy in 2008. He was named President of Reliant in May 2009 when NRG Energy acquired Reliant for $287.5 million. He currently serves as executive vice president and chief customer officer of NRG Energy.

“This investment and its outcome represent a pattern in which the Obama Department of Energy took promises of technological development with an undue amount of credence,” says energy expert Kenneth P. Green, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

“On any given day, there are hucksters who say they can power the world. Unfortunately, there was also an administration that wanted to believe their claims,” Green said. “One has to assume that the administration was more likely to believe the people it knew.”

Other financial interests tied to the Obama administration have also invested in NRG Solar.

Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy holds a stake in another NRG project that received a $967 million Department of Energy loan guarantee.

DOE announced a $967 million loan guarantee to NRG in August 2011 for its $1.8 billion Agua Caliente Solar Project. Agua Caliente will be one of the largest photovoltaic plants in the world upon its completion in 2014.

NRG acquired the Agua Caliente Solar Project from First Solar on August 5, 2011, as DOE announced the loan.

Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy bought a 49 percent stake in NRG’s Agua Caliente project in December 2011.

The multiple DOE loans did not stop NRG Energy from reporting a first-quarter 2012 loss of $206 million.

Even so, NRG has recently expanded its operations.

Since acquiring Reliant in May 2009, NRG Energy has also acquired the offshore wind development company Bluewater Wind, thermal energy company Northwind Phoenix, Texas-based South Trent Wind Farm, Green Mountain Energy Company, Texas-based Cottonwood Generating Station, and Energy Plus Holdings.

In November 2011, NRG Solar further expanded by acquiring the San Francisco-based developer Solar Power Partners.

“When you talk to a lot of people on the environmental left, there’s a deep desire to believe that wind and solar power can help us replace fossil fuels,” Green said. “It’s a naiveté that permeated the administration.”

Jason Few was named to TheGrio’s 100 list honoring “history-makers in the making” in February 2011 despite NRG’s multi-million dollar losses. Few was “turning a profit by greening Texas,” theGrio wrote. The article did not mention the Department of Energy loan program and its relationship with NRG Energy.

Jason Few and NRG Energy did not return calls for comment.

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Katzenberg Tied to Chinese Corruption

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May 18, 2012 11:52 am
BY: Washington Free Beacon Staff

The New York Times reports today on the rise of China’s “princelings,” the children of the Communist Party’s former and current leadership, who have taken control over many of that country’s most profitable businesses.

The New York Times reveals that Katzenberg’s silent Chinese partner in the deal is Jiang Mianheng, the son of former Communist Party leader and Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

What the New York Times does not reveal is that Katzenberg is the largest donor to President Obama’s Super PAC Priorities USA at $2 million and a major bundler to the Obama campaign, having raised more than $500,000 for the President’s reelection campaign.

Also not revealed by the New York Times, Katzenberg and his studio are currently under SEC investigation for bribing Chinese officials in order to obtain access to the Chinese market.

The Dreamworks deal has raised questions about pay for play on the American side as well. The nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation notes that Katzenberg’s deal was made possible with help from the Obama administration, which arranged a meeting for Katzenberg with Chinese Vice President and heir apparent Xi Jingping after his White House visit in February. Xi traveled from the White House to Los Angeles to sign the deal with the major Obama donor.

The Sunlight Foundation asks if “Katzenberg’s support for Obama fast-track[ed his] movie deal with China?” But Dreamworks would not respond to on-the-record questions from the good government watchdog group.

Vice President Biden also personally engaged in the negotiations with the Chinese government in advance of Katzenberg’s deal that effectively raised the number of U.S. films that could be released in the Chinese market each year—an agreement that made the Katzenberg deal significantly more valuable.

Earlier this month, President Obama embraced Katzenberg just days after the SEC announced its investigation. “I want to thank Jeffrey (Katzenberg) not just for this evening, but for his tenacious support and advocacy since we started back in 2007. He has consistently been there for me, through thick and through thin,” Obama said.

“The only person I don’t have to remind [of how difficult the 2008 campaign was] is Jeffrey because he was there, through all the ups and downs, and occasionally he would call, and he would say, ‘Barack, I don’t think that things are working the way they’re supposed to.’”

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