Light on the Department of Energy Loans
“Hope. Change We Can Believe In. Transparency.” These were the words in the 2008 election that spoke to the hearts of millions. Americans knew deep down within their souls that business in Washington D.C. was not being run in the way that it should be, and they wanted it to change. They wanted honesty, fairness, and transparency in government so that they could have an opportunity to succeed and prosper.
Here we are three years later, and there is no question that our nation could use a large dose of hope during this dreadful economic time that we have been enduring. Outside of those who live around Washington D.C. or are the direct beneficiaries of federal government spending, hardly a family in America hasn’t felt the pressure and pain of seeing their savings dwindle, their jobs eliminated, their salaries slashed and their hopes dying. To make matters worse, the very administration that promised us this hope, change and transparency appears to be participating in the very same “Insider Politics” behavior.
As the ongoing investigation continues into the now bankrupt Solyndra and its $535 million taxpayer loan guarantees, more questionable energy loans are coming to light. Questionable, not only because some of these companies are facing bankruptcy at taxpayer expense, but also the fact that 80% of the $20.5 BILLION in Department of Energy loans went to President Obama’s top donors. 
Solyndra’s principal investor was the George Kaiser Family Foundation, and George Kaiser was an Obama campaign bundler.  In addition, Steven Spinner, a former executive of the Department of Energy who pushed for the Solyndra loan, raised at least $500,000 in 2008 for Obama’s election. In Spinner’s own words, he “helped oversee the more than $100 billion of loan guarantee and direct lending authority” for the department’s green-energy loan program.
Brightsource Energy received $1.6 billion in loans and Robert Kennedy Jr., an Obama backer, is the company’s senior advisor. 
Solar Reserve received a $737 million loan and one of its major investors is a company run by Michael Froman.  He also served on a 12-member advisory board of the Obama campaign’s transition team, and in 2009 was appointed as one of the President’s deputy assistants.
Abound Solar received a $400 million loan guarantee and a key investor in this company is billionaire Pat Stryker.   She has given hundreds of thousands to Democratic causes, including $87,000 to Obama’s inauguration committee.
The list goes on  … and apparently so does Washington as usual. This is a far cry from the statements uttered by President Obama in his February 14, 2009 weekly address when he said, “Washington hasn’t set a very good example in recent years. And with so much on the line, it’s time to begin doing things differently. That’s why our goal must be to spend these precious dollars with unprecedented accountability, responsibility, and transparency.”
How can we look at the list of the companies, (some of which are now going bankrupt), that received billions of taxpayer dollars, and the investors/owners who are associated with them, and honestly say this is “accountability, responsibility and transparency” in action. To me this looks more like Washington Inc.
At the end of this same 2009 weekly address, President Obama quoted the former President John F. Kennedy and said, “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.” I would add, “Do not pray this administration sees the light; they’ve already had 3 years. Pray that Americans see the light and decide to put an end to Washington Inc. in the 2012 elections.” It’s time to vote for candidates who will stop wasting taxpayer money and who understand how to put true accountability and transparency into action.