Report: 80% of DOE Green Energy Loans Went to Obama Backers

Lachlan Markay, The Foundry Blog


A new book by Hoover Institution fellow Peter Schweizer details the startling extent of the cronyism that has pervaded President Obama’s “green jobs” push. According to Schweizer, 4 out of every 5 renewable energy companies backed by the Energy Department was “run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers.”

Those companies’ “political largesse is probably the best investment they ever made in alternative energy,” Schweizer explains. “It brought them returns many times over.”

Such is the inevitable consequence of large government interventions in private markets. Leaving aside the losses associated with transfers of funds from self-sustaining industries to ones that rely on government support, such interventions also encourage unproductive business activities by making “subsidy suckling” far more profitable than run-of-the-mill business expansions or product improvements.

Doug Ross spotted the relevant excerpt of Schweizer’s book (h/t Ben Domenech’s Transom):

When President-elect Obama came to Washington in late 2008, he was outspoken about the need for an economic stimulus to revive a struggling economy… After he was sworn in as president, he proclaimed that taxpayer money would assuredly not be doled out to political friends…

…But an examination of grants and guaranteed loans offered by just one stimulus program run by the Department of Energy, for alternative-energy projects, is stunning. The so-called 1705 Loan Guarantee Program and the 1603 Grant Program channeled billions of dollars to all sorts of energy companies…

…In the 1705 government-backed-loan program [alone], for example, $16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in loans granted as of Sept. 15 went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers—individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party. The grant and guaranteed-loan recipients were early backers of Obama before he ran for president, people who continued to give to his campaigns and exclusively to the Democratic Party in the years leading up to 2008. Their political largesse is probably the best investment they ever made in alternative energy. It brought them returns many times over….

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