Every year, April 15 is tax day, and that day has come and gone –– with most Americans feeling the sting. A while ago,
the morning’s news shows featured last minute tax tips and other tax-related information. In case you missed the new poll
that was discussed... When asked: “Thinking about paying taxes, which one of the following bothers you the most?” Surprisingly, “What you pay” received the lowest response, while the “Way the government spends taxes” was the highest. “Feeling that some don’t pay fair share” was near the top and “Complexity of system and forms” was near the bottom.” So people understand that it takes money to run the government and generally don’t object to paying their taxes. It is what the government does with that money that frustrates us.
When asked about the way government spends taxes, responders were likely thinking of the green-energy crony-corruption spending on flawed ventures like Solyndra and the, now, fifty-plus other green-energy embarrassments that received taxpayer dollars as a result of President Obama’s 2009 Stimulus Bill (as well as other green-energy funds) that poured nearly $100 billion into the pet projects of his donors.
Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in September 2011
. It was just the bellwether; the first of many to come.
A year later Christine Lakatos and I profiled nearly 20
green-energy stimulus-funded companies that had gone bankrupt. The next week, we highlighted the other bookend: “companies/projects that received funding from various loan guarantee programs (LGP), grants, and tax incentives. These are projects that are still functioning, but are facing difficulties
.” One of those troubled companies was A123 Systems. One week after our report, A123 filed for bankruptcy
. Nearly two months later, A123 waspurchased
by a large Chinese auto parts maker that has renamed the lithium-ion battery company B456
A123/B456’s biggest customer is another company on our troubled list: Fisker Automotive—manufacturer of the $100,000+ electric sports car made in Finland
—is now facing bankruptcy
itself after efforts to find a Chinese investor “stalled
.” And we covered the April 24, 2013 Congressional Hearing
: Failing Fisker Auto Finally Faces House Oversight Hearing: Chairman Jordan Exposes Another DOE Junk Loan, Declares, "Fisker should have never received taxpayer money”
Wait. In his 2008 campaign, didn’t Obama promise
to “create five million new energy jobs over the next decade––jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced”? But our taxpayer dollars created jobs in Finland and have benefited a Chinese company—Obamanomics outsourced
. No wonder the “way the government spends taxes” tops the list. And most have no idea that the Obama administration
is responsible for steering billions of our tax dollars from the stimulus and other clean energy programs to foreign-owned entities, of which big chunk was doled out in the form of free cash via the 1603 stimulus grant program.
But there’s more—new news the poll respondents probably didn’t even know about.
One day after the poll was taken, CNN Money reports: “China’s Suntech Power has put its largest subsidiary into bankruptcy.” What they don’t mention is that China’s Suntech Power benefited from Obama’s 2009 Stimulus Bill—receiving a $2.1 million credit
from the Energy Department’s stimulus-funded Advanced Energy Manufacturing (48C) Tax Credit. (Suntech was included in our 2012 “troubled” list
.) In her blog, The Green Corruption Files
, Lakatos states: “according to the Heritage Foundation
, in November 2012, Suntech shed some employees, claiming
that it was the ‘U.S. International Trade Commission’s 35.95% tariff on Chinese solar panels that was partially responsible for the 50 impending layoffs at its Arizona production facilities.’” Suntech was even blamed for the Solyndra debacle. In December 2011, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported
: “China’s major solar panel companies—whose low-cost products led some American factories to close, helped create the Solyndra controversy, and spawned talk of a trade war—were bankrolled in the United States by the world’s largest investment banks.” Those “investment banks” include some the same ones we have profiled in our previous reports that have deep ties to the Obama campaign and administration, and many green-energy projects that received loans, grants, and special tax breaks representing billions in stimulus money.
Suntech has more interconnections. Arizona’s Mesquite Solar Project, which received $337 million
in taxpayer money despite its non-investment grade rating by Fitch, was to be built with Suntech’s solar panels
and the power was to be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric—which has strong political presence in Washington, DC, and connections to billions in stimulus funds. California’s PG&E
, a company with “an extensive network of former high-ranking employees holding influential positions in government agencies at the federal and state level, has benefited handsomely from government financing of green energy projects.” The most controversial former PG&E employee to hold an influential government post is Cathy Zoi, a former energy analyst for the company, who we profiled in our report
on George Soros.
Another sparsely reported solar-power embarrassment was covered by Fox News
on the same day the aforementioned poll was taken. “SoloPower, which makes thin-film solar panels at a new plant in Portland, OR, opened September 27 with an upbeat ribbon-cutting ceremony. Local and state politicians gushed about the company eventually operating four production lines and creating 450 well-paid green jobs.” After its grand opening
just months ago, SoloPower’s power is waning: “The first production line was never completed,” and “in January, the company had a round of layoffs.”
This is not a surprise to those of us who watch the green-energy crony-corruption scandal. SoloPower was one of the worst-rated loans. One month before it received a $197 million loan guarantee
to “support the retrofit of an existing building to operate a thin-film solar panel manufacturing facility in Portland, OR,” Standard and Poors (S&P) gave SoloPower a credit rating of CCC+.
As uncovered and exposed by Lakatos on April 1st regarding SoloPower
, the March 2012, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released a report
titled “The Department of Energy’s Disastrous Management of Loan Guarantee Programs” which states: “S&P predicted that SoloPower will fail to meet its debt obligations.” DOE emails
, released on October 31, 2012, reveal that James McCrea, Senior Credit Advisor at the Loan Programs Office, called SoloPower “a completely uninspiring project.”
Yet, in addition to the $197 million of US taxpayer money SoloPower was given from the DOE through the 1705 LGP, this European firm also received $40 million from Oregon taxpayers. Then in December 2012, “despite unfulfilled job and production promises and signs the Portland solar panel factory was sliding even further behind,” Oregon officials tripled the “taxpayer’s stake,” said the Oregonian
. Business Oregon
approved a $20 million tax credit for SoloPower—which SoloPower then exchanged for $13.5 million in cash. After a management shake-up, Fox News reports
, SoloPower is “trying to raise money by selling some of its equipment through a third party and is attempting to restructure its $197 million federal loan guarantee.” Update:
On April 22, the Oregonian’s headline read:
“SoloPower moves to power down Portland factory, gut remaining workforce.”
With the bad credit rating, the “uninspiring” label, and poor performance, why did SoloPower receive federal, state, and city funding—ultimately paid by the taxpayers? Because as the Oversight Committee report
states: “What SoloPower lacked in economic value, it made up for in political connections.”
Suntech and SoloPower are just two recent stories; part of a long list of bankrupt and/or “troubled” politically connected green-energy projects.
When President Obama released his FY2014 budget, it included new spending of nearly $1 billion “to support deployment and long-term development in the clean energy industries.” Renewable Energy World
appears gleeful. “It’s been said before and it bears repeating that Obama has done more for solar than any previous US President.” And: “The support of the federal government has led to an explosion in the amount of solar across America.” Do you think?
In contrast, Tom Pyle, President of the American Energy Alliance
, pointed out that the budget “represents the administration’s desire to double down on bad energy policy.” And, “calls for fast-track permitting for renewables” while never mentioning the Keystone pipeline. Pyle concludes his comments
by saying: the President “hopes that the American people will forget the failures of the past four years, higher gasoline prices, skyrocketing electricity rates, bankrupt renewable firms, and billions in wasted taxpayer money on politically connected industries.”
No wonder the “way the government spends taxes” tops the list of taxpayer’s frustrations. Perhaps if “government’s inability to learn from its mistakes” had been on the list, it would have been the number one choice. OBAMA'S GREEN ENERGY BANKRUPTCIES
Additionally, we can give more data on my list of taxpayer-backed green energy companies that were in distress. One in particular is Bloom Energy, which I had reported received $5 million in taxpayer money, but it was more like $70 million in federal grants and $200 million in funding from the state of California. It turns out that in February of this year, they were "fined for illegally paying employees in pesos."
While GM's Chevy Volt
, "the poster child for President Obama's push to electrify America's auto fleet," is still suffering from a poor performance, there is a more positive case to share. This past February, Telsa Motors made an encouraging announcement
at an event, "Tesla will pay off our Department of Energy (DOE) loan five years early, twice as fast as required by the original 2010 loan agreement signed by Tesla and the DOE."
This came despite reports that have painted a different
scenario and grim future for Telsa. In October 10, 2012: The DOE restructured its loan to Tesla
and in December 20, 2012, Market Watch reported
, "Tesla will need more loans to stay afloat in 2013." As of late, Forbes
noted another key issue
; "The problem with putting $465 million of taxpayer money at risk to back Tesla is that producing this particular toy for the rich does absolutely nothing to further the ostensible goals of the program, which are fighting climate change and achieving energy security."
We'll give Telsa the luxury of removing them from our troubled
category, but they'll stay on our radar –– after all this is Steve Westly's investment, the Energy Department's buddy, and Obama's "Green bundler with the golden touch
." So it shouldn't be too difficult to track.
Our new numbers as of May of 2013 reflect 25 bankrupt, three about to go under, and if we keep those that are having issues the same (at 29), then by the time I complete my new investigative report, the latest taxpayer-funded green energy failure list could
hit 60 –– with almost half bust.
What a difference six months makes...