"From the first debates over the stimulus bill, the White House has promised unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability," noted
U.S. News in 2009, even appointing Vice President Joe Biden as the nation’s stimulus spending cop, Stimulus Sheriff Joe
, who ultimately went MIA.
Quite the contrary, and it all started when Team Obama starting planning their trillion-dollar spending spree, because “deep inside” the 2009 Recovery Act was a RAT, an attempt to suppress potential investigations, and only a few news outlets caught it in February of 2009: the Washington Post
and the Washington Examiner
As legislation was moving at rapid speed, and Congress continually failed to read the bills, the Obama administration had placed a “far-reaching and potentially dangerous provision." The creation of the RAT Board (Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board) was supposed to be “an oversight panel headed by a White House nominee.”
The controversial provision emerged in a January 2009 draft of the bill prepared by Obama's transition team officials and members of the House Appropriations Committee, of which at that time it was labeled by the White House as “critical to prevent waste and corruption.” This RAT board gave them the authority to ask, “That an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation.”
Did you get that?
An Obama appointee could dictate what to investigate and what investigations they wanted to squash.
When Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, a longtime champion of inspectors general, read the words “conduct or refrain from conducting,” alarm bells went off. The language means that the board — whose chairman will be appointed by the president — can reach deep inside a federal agency and tell an inspector general to lay off some particularly sensitive subject. Or, conversely, it can tell the inspector general to go after a tempting political target. …”
Senator Grassley (Republican from Iowa), also warned, "This is a dangerous provision that will hamper oversight, restrict transparency, and damage the independence of inspectors general."
Subsequent concerns arose, with Senator Claire McCaskill (Democrat from Missouri), who was alarmed by the sentence that allowed "the panel to order an inspector general to stop an investigation." As reported by
The Post in February 2009...
The group representing federal inspectors general recommended that the entire disputed provision be deleted from the legislation, according to David R. Gray, counsel to Phyllis K. Fong, chair of the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.
Senate negotiators changed the board composition. While the president would appoint the head of the panel, the rest of the members would be inspectors general.
House and Senate negotiators also added a line proposed by McCaskill saying that the final decision on whether to proceed is up to the inspector general. "The language sends a very clear message that the IG is in the driver's seat," she said.
As you can see, eventually lawmakers revised the original bill, and allowed “the watchdog agencies to reject the panel's decisions.” But only after they were BUSTED, leaving many wondering why another layer of bureaucracy? Worse, why would a panel be given that kind or power in the first place, power that was not entirely stripped away.
At that time, they named the former Interior Department Inspector General Earl Devaney, who helped uncover the Jack Abramoff scandal, as the head. Yep, we got a Stimulus Czar, and more taxpayer money going out the door: "The bill allotted about $350 million in oversight measures, including $84 million for the creation of an oversight board," as documented by
U.S. News. Mr. Devaney has since retired, and in December 2011, President Obama appointed Kathleen S. TIghe Chair of the Board, with eleven Inspectors General from various federal agencies that serve with her.
Moreover, “Per the Recovery Act, the Board's Recovery activities were supposed to end on September 30, 2013. However, in the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 to assist states and individuals impacted by Hurricane Sandy, Congress stipulated the Board provide oversight of the funding through 2015.”
The irony here is that the RAT Board
's stated goals are “to provide transparency of Recovery-related funds and “to detect and prevent fraud, waste, and mismanagement.” While I can't speak for the entire stimulus bill, I know that tucked inside was $100 billion that Team Obama carved out for their big clean-energy push (save the planet funds
). Money that I have been following since 2010, which has not only led to plenty of fraud, waste, and mismanagement, but also abuse, cronyism, corruption, and failure.
Most critically is that this “RAT” maneuver only leaves speculation of premeditation and intention
in regards to potential shenanigans (an understatement) with the stimulus funds, and the daunting question, what has the RAT Board done about the massive pile of clean-energy dirt?
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)
& Its $100 billion renewable energy earmark
Shortly after President Obama began his reign as our 44th president, in February 2009, he signed into law
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This was a massive economic stimulus bill –– among the biggest in history –– that was sold to the American people as a means save our economy from the brink of disaster and create American jobs.
By the beginning of 2012, revelations
revealed the real intent
behind Obama's trillion-dollar spending spree ("walking around money"): it was “a key tool for advancing the Obama administration’s clean-energy goals and fulfilling a number of campaign commitments.” In fact, the 2009-Stimulus package was jammed-packed full of clean-energy provisions
, of which about 10 percent of the monies were earmarked for renewable energy.
It's important to point out that the $100 billion in stimulus funds is not the only money being used to fuel the Obama administration's efforts to save the planet
using other people's money. I'd say it's closer to $150 billion to date, and counting, because they continue to dish out more. In short, other departments handing out "green" include the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Biorefinery Assistance Program
, and we even find that there is a "Green War
" being waged: "the Department of Defense has launched more green energy initiatives than any other federal agency and many are duplicative and wasteful," as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
Another means where huge corporations
and Obama's "green" pals get taxpayer money is through the taxpayer-supported Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im), who "has a Congressional mandate to support renewable energy
and has been directed that 10% of its authorizations should be dedicated to renewable energy and environmentally beneficial transactions."
Additionally, the president's new Climate Action Plan, announced in July of this year, calls for releasing
"$8 billion in loan guarantees for advanced fossil fuel and efficiency projects, and strengthen the Better Building Challenge to increase building efficiency 20 percent by 2020." Meanwhile, the "Obama administration is ready to restart
the controversial automotive loan program designed to kick-start the development of alternative vehicles." This is the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) program that holds authority to award up to $25 billion in direct loans.
Last fall, I chronicled how there were over 100 applicants for this section of the DOE's loan program, yet only the "FAVORED FIVE
" were granted ATVM loans totaling $8.4 billion. Three of the five loans are directly tied to President Obama and the other two, both Ford Motor Co. and Nissan, were heavily engaged in negotiations with the administration over fuel economy standards for model years 2012- 2016 at the time DOE was considering their applications."
The ATVM is part of the Energy Department’s Loan Guarantee Program
(DOE LGP) which has been a main focus throughout my work since April 2012. This is a program that consists of three separate entities: Section 1703
, Section 1705
, and Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM)
, and has thus far guaranteed $34.7 billion of taxpayer money. Both Section 1703 and the ATVM programs were established during the Bush administration, and Section 1705 was created
by the 2009-Recovery Act.
This is the same Energy Department program which the Green Corruption Files has exposed over and over how at least 90 percent of the winners have meaningful politically connections
(bundlers, top donors, fundraisers, etc) to the president and other high-ranking Democrats –– in many cases, to both. It also brought you big alternative energy losers
such as Solyndra, Beacon Power, Abound Solar, Vehicle Production Group, SoloPower, Nevada Geothermal, and Fisker Automotive, flushing billions of tax dollars down the toilet. Yet there are billions more still at risk, and we're keeping an eye on these DOE projects: AREVA
and its $2 billion, Georgia Power Company
and its $8.33 billion, NRG Energy, Inc. (BrightSource)
and its $1.6 billion, First Solar
and its $3 billion, and others.
Still, the Energy Department's loan program is not the only place where we find taxpayer-funded clean-energy losers. At the end of 2012, I calculated
that "as many as 50 Obama-backed green energy companies were bankrupt or troubled." In May I revisited this area, with my new numbers reflecting that 25 are bankrupt, and there are four about to go under. Then, if we keep those that were having issues the same (at 29), the latest taxpayer-funded clean-energy failure list is about 60 –– with almost half bankrupt. Stay tuned for a new investigative report on this topic in the near future.