froman (2)

Citigroup’s Massive 'Green' Money Machine

BubbleWall_StreetSign.JPG?width=320

Citigroup, the Nation's Third-largest Bank Snagged the Largest Amount of Federal Money

In my opening of "Spreading the Wealth to Obama's Ultra-Rich Jobs Council" series I had stated, “the "Too-Big-to-Fail" Citigroup, a TARP recipient received $45 billion in government bailout funds,” however, CNBC tells a bigger story, and recently announced them as the number one Big Bank to snag federal aid, “In total, Citigroup received $476.2 billion in cash and guarantees."

The chatter surrounding President Obama's choice to replace Timothy Geithner for Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, now Chief of Staff, hit the airwaves a while ago, sending attention toward the conflict of interest and obvious hypocrisy. Lew's short stint at Citigroup, his Cayman Islands fund, and accusations of Lew (as the president’s budget director) making "false" statements before the budget committee two years ago, should be cause for alarm.

During his confirmation hearing for Treasury this month, Mr. Lew apparently faced "tough questions, but with few fireworks," says one reporter; yet the Huffington Post reported that Lew "maneuvered around questions... about his work at bailed-out bank Citigroup during the financial crisis, including his controversial investment in a Cayman Islands fund."

According to Forbes, "Citi’s alternate investment group lay at the epicenter of the financial crisis. Under Lew’s tenure, it lost $509 million in the first quarter of 2008 alone. More than 50,000 employees, or one-seventh of Citigroup’s global workforce, were laid off in November, and the stock price dropped about 75 percent." Forbes goes on, "Despite these horrendous losses, Lew was paid $1.1 million in 2008 for less than a year’s work," and Breitbart News recently pointed to more absurdity, Lew, was "a man who in 2009 bagged a $950,000 bonus after his bank, Citigroup, received billions in a taxpayer-funded bailout."

What most don't know is that since 2007, Citi has been heavily involved in "climate change activities" and have made a massive foot print inside President's Obama's clean-energy dirt –– transactions that tie them to approximately $16 billion of taxpayer money.

Citigroup –– labeled a “heavy hitter” by Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) –– in 2012 contributed to both President Obama and Mitt Romney, and "contributions from CITIGROUP PAC-FEDERAL" went to both parties: 47% to Democrats, 53% to Republicans, and among the 2012 Obama bundlers were employees of big-name firms including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Barclays and Citigroup.

Yet, in 2008, it was primarily a "blue year" with 63% to Democrats and 37% to Republicans, and   Citigroup made it as the #7 top donor to candidate Obama with a few executives lined up as campaign bundlers.  Citi, also a major lobbyist, where “53 out of 63 Citigroup Inc. lobbyists in 2012 have previously held government jobs" with quite a few Citi executives like Mr. Lew holding key positions at the Obama White House.

All the President’s Citi Men 

The infiltration of so many Citigroup executives –– and Goldman Sachs for that matter –– inside the Obama administration is amazing, even shaping his economic policy. They range from "chief of staff Jack Lew to transition team chief Michael Froman to a host of people connected in some form or another to former Citi executive Bob Rubin," alerts Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone Magazine, starting with the outgoing Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, who served under Rubin in the Clinton administration.

Tucked neatly inside a corrupt government system is Mr. Robert Rubin, who, from what I gather, was also at the epicenter of the 2008 financial crisis. Rubin spent 26 years at Goldman Sachs, and from November to December 2007, served temporarily as chairman of Citigroup, and resigned from the company on January 9, 2009. But not without his cash, as Bloomberg Businessweek notes, "Rubin gave up a portion of his contracted compensation — and was still paid around $126 million in cash and stock during a tenure" that spanned through Citigroup's taxpayer funded bailout.

To add insult to taxpayer injury, it turns out that at that time, in spite of the pitiful government bailout, "No Citi executives are replaced, and few restrictions are placed on their compensation. It's the sweetheart deal of the century..." says Taibbi.

The scandalous Wall Street revolving door, which the Republican Party takes the hits for, is thick inside the Democratic Party, more specifically the Obama administration. Even the left-wing New York Times noticed the infiltration, "At its unveiling in November 2008, almost the entire Obama administration's economic team could be said to be made up of followers of so-called Rubinomics, and many of them had served under Mr. Rubin."

Their significance is that "they collectively offer a microcosm of what the Democratic Party has come to stand for in the 21st century," writes Matt Taibbi. The "model for this Democratic Party: Let the rich do their thing, but give a fraction more to everyone else," says David Sirota, a former Democratic strategist.

In late 2009, Taibbi lays out a compelling case on how Obama sold out to Wall Street –– "Obama's Big Sellout" –– "Barack Obama ran for president as a man of the people, standing up to Wall Street as the global economy melted down in that fateful fall of 2008." The Obama inspiration came from the "sense that a genuine outsider was finally breaking into an exclusive club, and they were voting for "'change.'"

However, Taibbi seemed shocked, noting that it all began after Obama was elected in 2008, "What's taken place in the year since Obama won the presidency has turned out to be one of the most dramatic political about-faces in our history." Later he asks the question, "How did we get here?" Yet answers, "It started just moments after the election –– and nobody noticed."

Outsider?


Obama had his fare share of Wall Street buddies who helped ensure an Obama victory in 2008, poring millions of dollars into his campaign coffers, making their mark as TOP campaign donors, with even Wall Street executives bundling huge sums of money for then-candidate Obama. Besides Citigroup, other bailout recipients made this special donor list: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley. Further down the line you'll find Bank of America, Lehman BrothersMerrill Lynch –– the latter two indirectly, and so on. Meanwhile many of the executives running these enormous failures, were not only rewarded with "shameful" big bonuses but the Obama administration awarded them with jobs, commissions, stimulus money, government contracts, and more.



Jack Lew

  • Nominee for Treasury Secretary 
  • White House Chief of Staff, since January 2012 
  • Former Head of Office of Management and Budget, from November 2010 to January 2012 
  • Lew originally served as deputy secretary of state for resource management -- the State Department's chief operating officer, from January 2009 to November 2010 
  • Former CEO of Citigroup’s Alternative Investments, from January 2008 but was with Citi starting in 2006, and departed either in late 2008 or in January 2009
  • Director at the Office of Management and Budget under the Clinton administration as well as other roles for Former President Bill Clinton

"Hired with a recommendation from then-Citi executive and former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Lew became chief operating officer of Citigroup's global wealth management division in July 2006. He later became COO for Citi Alternative Investments (CAI), a largely administrative role that was apart from investment decisions that hurt the bank," writes Reuters.



However, a Huffington Post writer says, Lew "oversaw a Citigroup unit that profited off the housing collapse and financial crisis by investing in a hedge fund king who correctly predicted the eventual subprime meltdown and now finds himself involved in the center of the U.S. government's fraud case against Goldman Sachs."

According to CNBC News, Lew's brief time as COO of the CAI unit ranged from "January 2008 and held the position during the peak of the financial crisis, when Citi received a $45 billion bailout from the federal government. He left in early 2009 to join the Obama administration."

Furthermore, Breitbart News notes that Lew (a lifelong Democrat) –– "mostly a government man" –– is a long-time Hill staffer, who "headed the OMB in both the Clinton and Obama administrations." And that Lew "spent a few years as a private attorney in between administrations, working mostly on environmental and energy issues."

"By the end of December 2008 (or was it January 2009?), Lew had lined up a new job: away from Wall Street and back in Washington as a deputy secretary of state under Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton," records the Washington Post.



Ironically, in 2009 President Obama had scolded Citigroup for its "plans to accept delivery on a luxurious $50 million corporate jet made in France," even stating at that time that "[he will] demand more accountability from recipients of bailout funds." Yet not a peep against the absurdity of Mr. Lew's $950,000 bonus "after his bank, Citigroup, received billions in a taxpayer-funded bailout."



Instead, Lew gets promoted...

Prior to Lew's 2012 rise to White House Chief of Staff, in November 2010, he became the head of the Office of Management and Budget to replace departing OMB chief Peter Orszag (another Rubin protégé), who departed the Obama administration and joined Citi’s investment banking group as a vice chairman. Note: This OMB post is very relevant to the Department of Energy loans and federal stimulus grant –– Green Corruption. 




Michael Froman

  • Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs, since February 2009 
  • Member of Obama's National Economic Council, since February 2009 
  • From 1999 to sometime in 2009, Froman "served in a number of roles at Citigroup, including Managing Partner, Infrastructure and Sustainable Development Investments, Chief Operating Officer of Citi Alternative Investments (CAI)," etc. 
  • 2008 Obama Bundler
  • Former chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin during the Clinton administration 

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Froman served as an informal adviser, raising money and helping to secure endorsements. In fact, “Michael Froman, a close college friend of Obama’s, managed Citi’s alternative investment portfolio until he left for a top White House post in 2009. Froman was key to the President’s 2008 election effort, connecting him with major donors in New York’s financial industry," notes Lachlan Markay.

The March 2012 House Oversight scathing report confirms these facts, and adds that Froman was a 2008 Obama bundler –– "he was a friend of Obama’s from law school, and supported his political career by bundling over $200,000 for his 2008 presidential candidacy."

Froman was also an Advisory Board Member of the 2009 Obama-Biden Transition Team, and in January 2009 was awarded an "unusual, joint position with the National Security Council and the National Economic Council" –– twin posts that gave Froman a direct line to the president.

Under his "deputy" role, Froman "is responsible for coordinating policy on international trade, investment, energy, climate and development issues." Meanwhile at the NEC, he was in good company with Wall Street insiders, more specifically, Obama's then-economic czar Larry Summers, another Harvard alumni, and a key "revolving door" player tied to more Obama bundling –– both the NEC and Summers I'll address in a bit.

But if we go back in time, the cozy ties even intrigued the New York Times, "Mr. Froman heard that Mr. Obama was running for the Senate and offered assistance. A prodigious fund-raiser, especially among New York’s young finance crowd, Mr. Froman introduced Mr. Obama to Robert E. Rubin, the former Treasury secretary, who became a major adviser." The Times further notes, "Like a growing number of potential Obama appointees, Mr. Froman worked for Mr. Rubin."

Prior to his arrival at the White House, Froman served in a number of roles at Citigroup from 1999 to sometime in 2009, and "received more than $7.4 million from the company from January 2008 to when he joined the White House" in early 2009.

According to a 2009 article by the New York Times, "That money included a year-end bonus of $2.25 million for work in 2008, which Citigroup paid him in January." Instead of outrage from the White House, they justified Froman's earnings and defended his bonus by claiming "he had decided to give it to charity."

However, Taibbi describes a more sinister scenario, “Incredibly, Froman did not resign from the bank when he went to work for Obama: He remained in the employ of Citigroup for two more months, even as he helped appoint the very people who would shape the future of his own firm." In fact, Taibbi labels Froman as "one of the most egregious examples — up there with Bob Rubin, literally — we’ve yet seen of the way the revolving door works between business and government generally, and between Citigroup and Treasury in particular."

And now we have Jack Lew to continue this incestuous line, but there are more Obama Citi Men...

  • Former Chairman of the Board for Citigroup, from 2009 to 2012 but was with Citi since 1996 
  • Former Member of Obama’s Jobs Council, from 2011 to February 2013 

Richard Parsons served on Citigroup's board since 1996 and as chairman since 2009 until he announced stepping down in March 2012. Parsons is also part of the multimillionaire club –– also the former CEO of Time Warner, and was listed on the "near misses" of Forbes' 2009 "The Wealthiest Black Americans" –– one of the five featured in my "Spreading the Wealth to Obama's Ultra-rich Jobs Council" series.

Known as a "moderate Republican," during the course of his Citigroup tenure, he took a left turn and gained a variety of important positions within the Obama administration. In 2008, Mr. Parsons served as a member of then President-elect Barack Obama's Economic Transition Team; in January 2009, he was on the short list for Obama's Commerce Secretary; and in 2011, Parsons was appointed to the president’s Job Council.




Louis Susman

  • Current US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, nominated by President Obama in May 2009, and confirmed by the Senate in July 2009 
  • Former Vice Chairman of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking, with Citigroup since 1998 but retired his high-ranking executive post in February 2009 
  • 2008 Obama Bundler

The retired Chicago investment banker Louis Susman served on Obama’s 2008 National Finance Committee, and the staunch Democratic donor and fundraiser that he was; he turned out to be a top 2008 bundler that raised so much money for Obama that he got a nickname “the Vacuum Cleaner." Obama showed his appreciation and made him ambassador to Great Britain. At the time of his nomination, Susman retired in February 2009 as Vice Chairman of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking.

NOTE: Michael Schell, New York, Citigroup Global Markets was also a 2008 Obama bundler.

Larry Summers

  • Former Director of President Obama's National Economic Council, from 2009 to 2011 
  • Former Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, from 1999 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton 

Although Summers is not a Citi executive, it's worth noting that back in the day (November 2008), President-elect Barack Obama rolled out his National Economic Council (NEC), and installed economic czar Summers (not subject to pesky confirmation hearings), who had served as Rubin's protégé at Treasury.

A month later, December 2008 –– recently exposed via a 57-page, “Sensitive & Confidential” memo written by economist Larry Summers to Obama writes, "The short-run economic imperative was to identify as many campaign promises or high priority items that would spend out quickly and be inherently temporary. … The stimulus package is a key tool for advancing clean energy goals and fulfilling a number of campaign commitments." In essence, the 2009-Recovery act was about implementing the Obama agenda, not about economic recovery or creating jobs.

NOTE: See "11 stunning revelations from Larry Summers’ secret economics memo to Barack Obama" by the American Enterprise Institute for complete story.

According to the Wall Street Journal, "The NEC, created by Bill Clinton in 1993, coordinates economic policy between the Treasury, Labor, Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services Departments, as well as independent agencies such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp."

It turns out that the NEC's first director, Robert Rubin, who later became Treasury secretary, built the post into a power center. But under the Bush White House, its authority has waned." But Obama intended to re-instate its power, and "ensure the NEC is returned to its place as the clearing house for policy ideas and initiatives," and stacked it full members that made a small fortune on Wall Street, who had "absolutely zero interest in reforming the gamed system that made them rich in the first place."

What better place for Summers then to be surrounded by his Wall Street buddies.

If you've read my work, you may have caught my Big Wind story where I had outlined the high-powered political ties behind First Wind that received millions of federal loans and grants from the green initiatives placed in the 2009-Recovery Act.

Starting with D.E. Shaw & Co, a New York-based investment firm –– "a $39 Billion Hedge Fund Giant" (also a First Solar investor), which so happens to be one of the three top contributors to Democrats –– is a backer of First Wind Holdings Inc. Its founder David Shaw, is a two-time Obama bundler, who employed Larry Summers, and before heading to the Obama White House, as the top economic advisor, "Lawrence Summers received about $5.2 million over the past year in compensation from hedge fund D.E. Shaw,” as revealed by the Wall Street Journal, noting his "frequent appearances before Wall Street firms including J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers." Towards the end of 2011, Summers left the Obama administration and rejoined the firm as a consultant.

This is the same Summers that in 2009, along with freshly elected Obama, who lashed out at Wall Street, calling bankers "fat cats" who don't get it, also slammed Wall Street. "Here is what I think they don't get...It was their irresponsible risk-taking in many cases that brought the economy to collapse," Mr. Summers, said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Following the Money: "Green" Citi 

In 2010, Citigroup had announced that it was "well ahead of its 2007 goal to direct $50 billion towards climate change related activities over 10 years." At that time, "the company's portfolio of climate-related activities was valued at over $24.3 billion, including 2009 commitments totaling $5.11 billion."

By 2011, through their "$50 Billion Climate Change Investment Initiative" Cit had "directed $36.35 billion into such initiatives so far..." As suspected, "In the U.S., Citi has the largest market share (28 percent) of U.S. Department of energy section 1703/1705 Loan Guarantee program financings for Alternative energy, and we are the leader in such bond transactions. Our Alternative energy practice completed the largest alternative energy finance deal of 2011, for the $2.3 billion Desert sunlight project in California." That's code for Citi is making huge amounts of money from the energy sector of the 2009 Obama stimulus-spending spree. 

 

The Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program (LGP) has become by expertise, and it's worth repeating that it consists of three separate programs, Section 1703Section 1705, and Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM), whereas since 2009, the DOE has guaranteed $34.7 billion of taxpayer money.

Considering the fact that the 1705 programs was created by the 2009-Recovery Act, a small slice of the trillion-dollar Obama spending spree, of which over $90 billion was earmarked for clean energy, I began unraveling this piece last April. Through just the 1705 alone, $16 billion was doled out to 26 projects, of which 22 were rated as "junk bond" status. As of the end of 2012, three have gone bust while at least four are in trouble –– yet over 50 that snagged "green" stimulus funds are on my 2012 Green Energy Failure List.

By intensely tracking these loans since 2009, and careful analysis of the House Oversight March 20, 2012 investigation (The Department of Energy’s Disastrous Management of Loan Guarantee Programs), we can confirm that at least 90 percent are politically connected to the president and other high-ranking Democrats –– in many cases, to both. Thus far of the 26 projects, Marita Noon (energy columnist at Townhall.com) and I have chronicled nineteen green-energy, crony-corruption stories from the DOE's junk bond portfolio –– with nine to go.

Then we found the smoking gun –– a set of leaked DOE emails, which we've been exposing since they were unleashed by the House Oversight Committee on October 31, 2012 –– a report of “over 150 emails that contradict statements by the President, Secretary Chu, the White House and DOE officials.”

More shocking is that if you dig into these emails –– memorandum as well as Appendix I and the 350+ page Appendix II –– they reveal a series of questionable practices, including coercion, cronyism and, cover-ups, of which Marita and I were one of the few that covered this bombshell scandal on Nov 01, 2012, "Emails Catch White House Lie on Green-Energy Loans."

But let's get back to Citi...

According to a March 19, 2012 Renewable Energy Seminar in Washington DC, Michael Eckhart, Managing Director of Global Head of Environmental Finance & Sustainability of Citigroup was proud to announce, “Citi has been a leader in alternative energy transactions across sectors, geographies and products.”

As if this story isn't corrupt enough –– enter Mr. Eckhart, who joined Citigroup as Managing Director in February 2011, after spending the last decade as the founding President and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). Now ACORE is where we find many of government green winners, and worse they are a "green" lobbyist powerhouse –– a band of Music Man businesses and deep-pocketed backers, of which PJMedia had alerted to 2011, whereas "Eckhart and the ACORE membership also helped design the Department of Energy grant programs...”

Interesting enough, I had already been aware of, and wrote about SolarReserve, SolarCity and Alta Wind, yet I found Citi’s green stash –– an alternative energy portfolio that lists about 37 transactions (plus SolarReserve = 38) foreign and here in the United States. Citi's roles range from investor, advisor, arranger, to joint bookrunner, and so on –– and in some case a multitude of these.

While Citi is proud of their being the "largest market share (28 percent) of the DOE energy 1703/1705 Loan Guarantee program financings," there is much more. After careful analysis of this year-old green investment documentation, I found that 58 percent of their "clients" have received government subsidies, the majority from the 2009-Recovery Act, totaling approximately $16 billion of taxpayer money. 

We can confirm that of the 22 transactions, sixteen (at least $8 billion) is where Citi was actively involved in securing the 1703/1705 DOE loans; was a direct investor; and/or served as an underwriter for their initial public offering (IPO) –– by the way, bookrunners, who sell the IPO shares to institutions, do the majority of the work and collect the largest % of fees.

Look for the asterisks *, but no matter how you slice it, Citi has an invested interest in the success of these companies/projects, and they are cashing in at the GREEN Bank of Obama. 

Click here to continue and get all the dirty details of Citi's 'green' transactions @ Green Corruption blog...

Read more…

images-1.jpgEveryone who pays any attention to the news knows the name Solyndra. It has become synonymous with the overall failed green energy program administered by the Obama team. Politicos know there are many other companies that have received loan guarantees for various green energy projects that have since become a source of ridicule for the White House. Some might even be able to name a few. There is the now-bankrupt company that made batteries for electric cars: Ener1. The plug-in electric sports car company, Fisker, that made its cars in Finland and has troubles too numerous to cite. And, of course, we know about the Chevy Volt—that our taxpayer dollars bailed out only to have demand so low that Chevrolet had to pull the plug on the production line and lay off workers for five weeks earlier this year. But few know the full story.

Connecting the dots will make your head hurt. There are various programs and special tax breaks and different kinds of companies that received green energy loans: solar, wind, and geothermal; and car companies, battery manufacturers, and biofuel producers. While the projects differ, they have several startling similarities. The vast majority of the green energy loan guarantees were given to companies that could not obtain enough financial backing from private investors. Their “junk” or “speculative” grade kept people from putting their own money into them —yet your money and mine was given to them, and we had no say in the matter. Of the 27 loans issued through the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program to 21 firms, virtually all of them have “connections” to either President Obama or other high-ranking Democrats—or both! The loans were made to fill a market created not by free-market demand, but by government mandates. And, all of the “special seven” got fast-tracked approvals through the Department of Interior with little scrutiny over environmental damages that would have taken any other energy company months, if not years, to get, and EPA regulations were applied selectively.

Many of the companies that received the funds had involvement with large donors and/or bundlers for the Obama campaign, and there is an amazing revolving door through which the players pass many times. They worked, for example, for Senator Harry Reid. Then they are on the staff of an investment firm that invested in one, or more, of the companies. Next you find he or she is on some White House commission—or worse, became part of the Obama Department of Energy team. Some 460 companies applied for DOE loans, but only 27 projects, 21 companies, got the funds. And 85% of these have been found to have “connections.” The remaining 15% may well have connections too, albeit more guarded or hidden.

These are not wild assertions. I have the data to back them up.

Following the publication of my column a couple of weeks ago on crony capitalism, I was connected with Christine Lakatos. She’s a private citizen and a single mom with a nose for research. Beginning in 2009, she was hired to work on investigative projects, following the green energy money. But when those projects were completed, she didn’t stop digging. She kept finding more and more. With no outlet for her work, she started a blog where she “brain dumps” her findings—which for a total unknown has received an impressive number of readers. For anyone but the most stalwart, her Green Corruption Blog is like getting a drink of water from a fire hydrant.

On Sunday, some of Lakatos’ research was presented in my weekly column. The response prompted us to begin a collaboration.

For each of the next 17 weeks, we will expose one green-energy, crony-corruption story after another (though my travel schedule may require me to skip a week here and there). It will be a “book” released chapter-by-chapter. If you like what you find, we hope you’ll let us know and come back the following week for the next installment.

Some single stories of what we’ll expose are “out there”—though surely not covered by the mainstream media and not all in one place or all connected as we’re doing.  If you made a study of the green-energy, crony-corruption story your passion, you likely found out a lot of what we’ll share. If you read the report from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (HOGRC) on the Obama Administration’s green energy gamble word-for-word, or watched the incriminating hearings, you’ll already know some of what we’ll present. Or, if you’ve read the chapter in Peter Schweizer’s book Throw Them All Out that addresses alternative energy and “how the game of funneling taxpayer money to friends has exploded to astonishing levels in recent years,” you have a good idea of the big picture. If you have made this your passion, have studied the report, and have coordinated with Schweizer, as Lakatos has, you are encouraged to help make these reports as complete as possible. Together, we’ll connect the dots and present it here in bite-sized pieces.

Each of the energy projects we will profile in the “special seven” section were recipients of billions of taxpayer dollars through the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program (LGP) and many will be receiving millions more through the 1603 Grant Program. The 1705 LGP is an expansion of the 1703 program that was approved in 2005 under President Bush—increasing the expenditures from $17.9 billion in 2007 to $37.2 billion in 2010. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act significantly expanded the DOE’s authority, under Energy Secretary Steven Chu, through the newly created 1705 LGP. (Under the Recovery Act, $86 billion—approximately 10% of the stimulus package—was earmarked for green energy projects.) The LGP means that companies get risk-free money. If the company succeeds, the low-interest loan gets paid back. If they fail—as many have—we, the taxpayers, lose. In contrast, the 1603 Grant Program—implemented as part the Obama stimulus––is administered by the Treasury Department, with the goal of reimbursing eligible applicants for a portion of the costs of installing specified energy property used in a trade or business or for the production of income. Basically 1603 gives billions in favored businesses tax-free cash gifts that do not have to be paid back.

While we can prove that cronyism has run amok within the majority of 1705 LGP, we'll stay focused on the Special Seven. Here, in Part 1, we present a complete overview of the connecting dots on one project: SolarReserve, LLC. With this introduction made, we’ll likely address several companies, with a common denominator, in subsequent releases.

solar-0527091.jpgIn Sunday’s column, the following thumbnail was presented: “SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes project is a solar thermal power tower plant utilizing the advanced molten salt power tower technology with integrated storage located in Tonopah, NV. The company's Fitch rating is BB, yet in September 2011, it was the recipient of $737 million in DOE loan guarantees. Obama’s law school buddy and 2008 Obama campaign bundler, Michael Froman, was managing director of alternative investments at Citigroup—which became a major investor in SolarReserve. Froman currently serves on the White House staff. Additionally, other high profile Democrats are involved with SolarReserve.”

But there is more.

froman.jpgMore about Michael Froman. Peter Schweizer reports that “When Obama ran for president, Froman helped raise large sums of money on Wall Street” for the 2008 campaign. The HOGRC report (page 47) confirms Peter’s findings and adds that Froman was a $200,000 bundler: “Michael Froman currently serves as the Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs. He was a friend of President Obama’s from law school, and supported his political career by bundling over $200,000 for his 2008 presidential candidacy. Prior to his arrival at the White House, Froman was the Managing Director of Alternative Investments at Citigroup, where he managed infrastructure and sustainable development investments. Citigroup became a major investor in SolarReserve, which ultimately received a $737 million loan guarantee in September 2011.”

gty_jobs_council_meeting_president_thg_120522_mn.jpg

The Citigroup connection is tighter. Richard Parsons was Chairman for Citigroup from 2009 until he announced stepping down in March 2012. Citigroup was a top Obama donor in 2008. Parsons served on the Obama Transition Team and on the Economic Advisory Board. In 2011, Parsons was appointed to the President’s Council on Jobs and Competiveness.

Assistant-Secretary-Sandalow-Secretary-Chu-Special-Envoy-Pascual496x248.JPG

Next, David Sandalow—who is currently “the Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs at DOE, where he acts as Secretary’s Chu’s principal adviser on energy policy, as well as coordinating DOE’s foreign policy involvement.” (HOGRC report page 49) “Sandalow’s ties to the White House date back to the Clinton Administration, during which he worked with President Clinton on environmental issues. After having gained this experience, Sandalow became the influential Chair of the Energy & Climate Working Group of the Clinton Global Initiative. He went on to advise President Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Sandalow was a senior advisor to Good Energies, Inc., an energy-focused venture capital firm. Good Energies is an investor in SolarReserve.”

Other SolarReserve connections to the Democratic Party include:

Ronald Pelosi—Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s brother-in-law, Ronald Pelosi, holds a leadership position with Pacific Corporate Group Asset Management—which is an investor in SolarReserve. Additionally, his colleague, Jasandra Nyker, has served as a member of SolarReserve’s board of directors.

George Kaiser—Argonaut Private Equity is an investor in SolarReserve. Argonaut Private Equity is owned by major Democratic fundraiser and a 2008 Top Obama bundler George Kaiser, who also invested in Solyndra. Kaiser made multiple visits to the White House in the months before the company was granted a $535 million loan from the government. The Managing Director for Argonaut Private Equity, Steve Mitchell, serves on SolarReserve's Board of Directors.

podestas.JPG

Tony PodestaOpenSecrets.org shows that SolarReserve paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in lobbying fees to the Podesta Group. Tony Podesta is the principal at the Podesta Group—which he started with his brother John. John Podesta ran Barack Obama’s presidential transition team and is the Director of the Center for American Progress—which is “reportedly highly influential in helping to craft White House Policy.” Both Tony Podesta and his wife Heather (a Washington power couple) are frequent White House visitors that share high ranks in "lobbying power," and Democrat bundling as well.

Lee Bailey—SolarReserve’s Chairman of the Board is Lee Bailey, a Managing Director with U.S. Renewables Group, who holds a significant financial stake in SolarReserve. Bailey has donated $21,850 since 2008 to Democratic candidates, including President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, California Sen. Barbara Boxer and then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

James McDermottSolarReserve board member James McDermott is also a Managing Director with U.S. Renewables Group. He contributed $61,500 to various Democratic campaigns since 2008, including $30,800 to Obama’s presidential election campaign. U.S Renewable Energy Group has ties with Senator Harry Reid.

If there were only one connect-the-dots story, it would be easy to dismiss it as coincidence. But here, with just one company, you can see the dots connect, and connect, and connect. As you will continue to see, they keep on connecting. In this case, connect-the-dots is no innocent childhood game. It is a high-stakes gamble and only those with connections get to play. Obama and his Democratic friends are the winners. We, the taxpayers, the losers. We lose the financial investment of our tax dollars and our electricity rates go up—all to support the discredited ruse of man-made climate change.

First published at Townhall.com: Obama’s Green-Energy, Crony-Corruption

By Marita Noon (Jun 29, 2012) –– also pick up by: 

  

Marita Noon, executive director of Energy Makes America Great Inc., is a voice for energy focusing on the intersection of energy, news, politics and environmentalism. Follow Marita at @energyrabbit

Christine Lakatos is a mother of two terrific daughters, an ACE Certified Fitness Trainer, author, and more –– turned ferocious Green Corruption researcher and blogger. Follow Christine at @calfit32

Our first stop will be "The Special7" that snagged billions in DOE loans that were "junk" rated, millions in tax-free energy grants as well as fast-tracked DOI public land approval with little scrutiny over environmental damage. And....you guessed it....ALL have "meaningful" connections (bundlers, donors, supporters) to President Obama, Senator Harry Ried, and other high-profile Democrats. Some even gained White House staff and DOE Advisor positions. 

While this column uncovered #1) SolarReserve, Marita reported on the entire list of seven in her  "Eco Scare Scams Raise Obama Campaign Cash" Townhall.com piece last Sunday, June 24, 2012.

Here are a summary of the others, but we will expand on each in the following weeks.

Three more Harry Reid ties:

#2) Nevada Geothermal Power (NGP) holds leasehold interests in six geothermal projects located in the Western United States. They hold a BB+ rating and received a $78.8 million loan, guaranteed by the DOE, in September of 2011. Executives from NGP contributed heavily in 2008 to Harry Reid’s campaign. 

#3) Ormat Nevada is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ormat Technologies Inc., whose website touts “green energy you can rely on.” They have an S&P rating of BB and received $350 million in partial loan guarantees. Ormat’s lobbyist Kai Anderson and Director of Policy and Business Development Paul Thomsen were both former senate aides to Harry Reid and donors to his campaign.

#4)  BrightSource Energy has a three-unit power system project known as “Ivanpah,” located near the California/Nevada border, south of Las Vegas, that uses a proprietary power-tower solar thermal system. Ivanpah I and III have a BB+ rating while Ivanpah II is BB. On April 11, 2011, the DOE announced the finalization of $1.6 billion in loan guarantees for BrightSource’s Ivanpah project. The apparent “payoffs” to Democrats are myriad—having donated at least $21,600 to Democrats since 2008 (and zero dollars to Republicans). According to a Washington Free Beacon report, Senator Harry “Reid received almost $4,000 from Brightsource executives in the 2010 cycle, including $2,400 from CEO John Woolard, who hosted a fundraiser for the majority leader. Woolard is also a Barack Obama donor and has visited the White House 10 times since Obama took office.” Additionally, Sanjay Wagle (a significant 2008 Obama campaign supporter and contributor), a principal at Vantage Point Partners (the major stakeholder in BrightSource) was an advisor at the DOE at the time the loan was approved. And, John Bryson, BrightSource CEO, became Obama’s Secretary of Commerce (although he resigned his post late Wednesday) and has ties to an organization that helped craft the stimulus package. 

And more...

#5) 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 California’s Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein.

#6) First Solar manufacturers “thin film” solar modules and is now moving into project development. While First Solar is not in the “junk bond” list, they do hold the unique distinction of being the single worst performer in the SPX in 2011. Additionally, they are linked to three junk-bond projects: Aqua Caliente (AZ), BB+; Antelope Valley Solar Ranch (CA), BBB-; and Desert Sunlight (CA), BBB-. First Solar was an early green investment of Goldman Sachs—which gave more than $1 million to the 2008 Obama campaign. Goldman Sachs executives sat on Obama’s 2008 Finance Committee and others were bundlers. In Throw Them All Out, Peter Schweizer reports on First Solar investor Paul Tudor Jones, who was a 2008 Obama bundler, and First Solar CEO Michael Ahearn, who “gives generously (and exclusively) to Democrats.”

#7) NextEra Energy Resources calls itself a leader in clean energy including “operating the largest US solar energy site.” Despite its self-proclaimed “leader” status, two of its projects: Genesis Solar and Desert Sunlight, hold ratings of BBB+ and BBB-. The Genesis Solar project received $681.6 million in August 2010, and Desert Sunlight: $1.2 billion. Here, there is an obvious conflict of interest as NextEra’s CEO, Lewis Hay, serves on the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Stay tuned and check back here at Green Corruption and Marita Noon @Townhall.com because this is just the beginning...
Simultaneously, with "The Special7" as our first collaboration, I will continue with the 21 firms and their "meaningful political connections" donations, status, etc. found in the Issa 2012 Investigation –– with subsequent Congressional hearings –– Green Corruption: Department of Energy “Junk Loans” and Cronyism –– Intro.
Political buddies indeed –– 21 energy firms are behind the 27 projects found in the March 10, 2012 House Oversight investigation (the DOE's "junk bond" green portfolio), and 18 of them are politically connected to President Obama (15 alone) and the Democrat Party, that’s over 85%!
 
Interestingly some crossover into multiple categories but here is what's in the works:
  • "The Special7"
  • Department of Energy "Junk Loans" and Cronyism List
  • While Peter Schweizer's book divulged that ten members Obama's 2008 Finance Committee­, and revealed at least twenty-five 2008 Obama bundlers, large donors, and supporters that were "privy" to large amounts of green loans, grants, and special tax breaks, I found more...
  • The RAT in the Stimulus and the “Green Stimulus Authors” that Have Benefited Greatly
  • Obama's Green Team, DOE Officials, and DOE Advisors –– Stacked with Left-Wing Radicals, Al Gore Acolytes, and Silicon Valley Liaisons –– are Heavily Implicated in this “Green-Energy Scheme," and many have raked in big "green bucks." Also, a few White House staff that have ties to government green-energy money. 
  • At Least Five Members of Obama's Job Council Got DOE Cash –– A Council that is  Stacked With Democratic Donors, many of which came from President Obama's appointed 2009 Economic Advisory Board. 
  • Obama-Connected Cleantech (VC) Portfolios that Snagged Billions of Government Funds for Multiple Green Companies and Green Projects 
  • Wall Street, Big Oil, Big Energy, and Big Venture Capitalists are Players Cashing in on "Green" Too 
  • Failed Obama-backed Green Energy Companies –– the bankrupt and troubled "green projects and companies" list, of which I have tracked close to thirty (and more on the State level), yet it continues to grow weekly.


I know that other disgraces have plagued the Obama administration and taken center stage lately like Fast & Furious, ObamaCare, White House National Security Leaks, and more, however, with only 17 weeks until the 2012 elections, we will attempt to expose President Obama's "clean-energy dirt"  –– Green-Energy, Crony-Corruption Story –– of which I personally believe is one of the biggest scandals (and most expensive) of the Obama presidency!

Read more…