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Elections, Politics

Obama’s solar cronies subject to criminal investigation

Posted: May 26, 2012 at 9:45 am   /   by

In spite of the best efforts of comparatively sane Democrats to warn him off, Barack Obama has decided to make Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital a campaign issue. To a lot of people (including those same Democrats) it’s coming off as an attack on business generally rather than an attack on Bain specifically. Obama is making it about private equity, in spite of Bain’s excellent record at doing a legitimate and helpful service. In spite of the fact that Obama has been taking money from Bain and other private equity firms. In spite of the fact that his national co-chair is also a private equity “vulture” capitalist.

But as Mark Theissen points out in the Washington Post, Obama has another problem: His own record.

But the strategy could backfire in ways Obama did not anticipate. After all, if Romney’s record in private equity is fair game, then so is Obama’s record in public equity — and that record is not pretty.

Since taking office, Obama has invested billions of taxpayer dollars in private businesses, including as part of his stimulus spending bill. Many of those investments have turned out to be unmitigated disasters — leaving in their wake bankruptcies, layoffs, criminal investigations and taxpayers on the hook for billions.

Theissen then goes on to lay out some examples of these failed investments. We’ve discussed a number of them here at WFP (First Solar to lay off 2,000 workersAnother day, another solar energy bankruptcyGenesis Solar Project is latest Obama taxpayer-backed failureCould Arizona’s First Solar Be the Next Solyndra? – 3$ Billion in Taxpayer Loans & “Biggest S&P 500 Loser”, and much more.)

But the closing of Theissen’s article contains the heart of the indictment. This wasn’t just about failed investments in a technology that is not viable in the marketplace. It’s about taking taxpayer money and laundering it through cronies, and then getting it back in the form of campaign cash.

Amazingly, Obama has declared that all the projects received funding “based solely on their merits.” But as Hoover Institution scholar Peter Schweizer reported in his book, “Throw Them All Out,” fully 71 percent of the Obama Energy Department’s grants and loans went to “individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party.” Collectively, these Obama cronies raised $457,834 for his campaign, and they were in turn approved for grants or loans of nearly $11.35 billion. Obama said this week it’s not the president’s job “to make a lot of money for investors.” Well, he sure seems to have made a lot of (taxpayer) money for investors in his political machine.

All that cronyism and corruption is catching up with the administration. According to Politico, “The Energy Department’s inspector general has launched more than 100 criminal investigations” related to the department’s green-energy programs.

If a Republican president has engaged in this obvious taxpayer-money-laundering-for-campaign-cash scheme, the media would have been screaming about it nonstop for months, from morning shows all the way through evening news magazines. That hypothetical president would not be able to survive the onslaught. This one just keeps on cruising, as most of the press remain silent.

Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook

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Obama's solar cronies subject to criminal investigation