◼ President Obama claims that political considerations did not influence the Energy Department’s green energy loan program, but newly-released internal emails show that his administration subsidized Nevada companies in order to help Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., win his 2010 reelection campaign. - Joel Gehrke/Washington Examiner
“And these are decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics,” Obama said last week when asked about the green companies that have gone bankrupt despite receiving taxpayer support.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released DOE emails today that compromise Obama’s position on two counts: one, the emails show that Obama himself was involved in approving loans; two, DOE officials were keenly aware of the political interests at stake, as they regarded the loans as a way for the White House to help Reid by giving him a way to brag about bringing federal money into Nevada.
Messages from late in 2010 demonstrate that DOE officials were concerned that President Obama’s personal desire to get DOE loans approved was putting tax payer money at risk.
“I am growing increasingly worried about a fast track process imposed on us at the POTUS level based on this chaotic process that we are undergoing,” Loan Program Office Senior Credit Advisor Jim McCrea wrote to loan program executive director Jonathan Silver in October 2010. “[B]y designing the fast track process and having it approved at the POTUS level (which is an absolute waste of his time!) it legitimizes every element and it becomes embedded like the 55% recovery rate which also was imposed by POTUS....”
Nevada Geothermal received a $98.5 million loan guarantee. Solar Reserve, another Nevada project included Solyndra investors among it’s board, received a $737 million loan guarantee (after Solyndra went bankrupt). LS Power Associations, which used to be known as SWIP, received a $343 million loan guarantee from DOE.