#Occupy the Department of Energy! Or, loans for Russian billionaires?

October 27, 2011

I must’ve missed the memo announcing the rebirth of the Friends of Angelo program under the aegis of the Department of Energy.  Under the leadership of Secretary Chu (Like his boss, a Nobel Prize winner. Be impressed.), the DoE has fast-tracked and awarded loans with preferential terms (1) to a failing “Green” energy company, Solyndra; a “Green” car company, Fisker, which plans to make its cars in Finland, when they get around to actually making the cars; and another “Green” automaker, Tesla, which builds Gaea-friendly cars for the elite one-percent. And on which Tesla loses money.

All these loans, totaling about $1.5 billion taxpayer dollars, were doled out to companies with connections to big donors to the Democrats and Obama. (See also.)

But this one has to be the cake-topper — $730 million to a Russian billionaire:

Another controversial U.S. Department of Energy “green” loan is coming under scrutiny.

Last July the Obama administration issued a $730 million low interest “green” loan to Russia’s second largest steel company, whose chief executive is a Russian tycoon personally worth $18 billion and who has close ties to Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

An influential House oversight chairman is now questioning why taxpayer funds from the Department of Energy are being used to assist the highly capitalized foreign-based steel company.

The DOE renewable energy loan was awarded this summer to Severstal North America to produce high strength steel at its Dearborn, Michigan facility. Steel is not in short supply in the United States and current U.S. steel plants are operating under capacity.

The DOE loan is part of a controversial $40 billion renewable energy loan program organized under its Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program  called ATVM.  The program is supposed to help financially starved companies in the green auto manufacturing field by providing taxpayer-supported low interest loans.

As PJM’s Richard Pollock points out, the billionaire, Alexei Mordashov, is the 29th richest man in the world. Mordashov’s company, Severstal, recently made $1.2 billion from the sale of several steel mills in Ohio and other states. He could finance Dearborn plant out of his own pocket and still have enough left over to buy his own miniature giraffe. (2)

And then there’s the question of why Severstal, a fully-capitalized company that’s neither in the auto or “Green industries,” qualifies for loans meant to help “green auto manufacturing.”

Why, if I were a cynic, I might suspect some sort of a payoff here.

Nah. I must just be a RAAAAACIST!! and a hater. Or something.

Footnote:
(1) Read: “They get the gold mine, the taxpayer gets the shaft.”
(2) I love that commercial.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Solyndra: next stop for the FBI — the Department of Energy?

September 9, 2011

Not only did the DoE work to get the now-bankrupt solar-power manufacturer sweetheart loans (guaranteed with your money), but Energy representatives sat in on the company’s board meetings during the time it’s business was swirling the drain:

When Harrison came to Washington in July, he said, the company was hoping to land more financing to stay afloat. “When we were there, the circumstances of the company, business was good, we had record shipments. We had momentum in the marketplace,” Miller said.

The Energy Department was keeping a close eye on Solyndra during those crucial months – sitting in on board meetings as an observer as part of the loan restructuring, iWatch News and ABC reported Thursday. That raises key questions: Did DOE miss obvious warning signs of the company’s troubles in the final months before its collapse?

So, um… What happened during the board meetings when the bad news was being discussed? Did someone tap the DoE rep on the shoulder and say “Look! It’s Elvis!” ?

Okay, so the needle on the “stink of corruption” dial has gone from “something smells” to “fish rotting in the sun” Either there was gross incompetence here, or backscratching worthy of Tammany Hall (1).

As usual, Allahpundit gets to the heart of the matter:

And yet, and yet, not only did the White House have access to industry reports, they actually had a seat in Solyndra’s board room while the meltdown was in progress. Question one: How is it that, with the buzzards circling, Solyndra was still allowed to refinance its federal loan earlier this year to extend the term of repayment? And question two: If the White House knew firsthand that the company was in trouble, why’d they let the CEO waltz into Congress two months ago and reassure House members that everything was A-OK with the business?

Good questions. It’s time for some answers.

RELATED: Earlier on Solyndra.

Footnote:
(1) You know it’s bad when even Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) smells a rat.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)