By Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy on November 14, 2011 at 2:00 PM in Bamboozling, Campaign promises, Campaigns & Campaign Financing, Chicago politics, Corruption, Current Affairs, Democrats, Energy Policy, Fund Raising, Health Care, Lobbyists, Pandering, President Barack Obama
Doesn’t that just make you jump for joy to know this? Believe it or not, I am not just talking about Solyndra here. Oh, no. It is a far bigger picture than just that one failed company, though there are more energy programs involved.
Peter Schweizer has written a new book, Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison (available soon through Amazon). In it, he details some mighty interesting observations about how much Obama’s cronies have benefited since he took office. The Daily Beast had an excerpt, some of which I will share with you here, beginning with this:
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. He wanted billions of dollars spent on “shovel-ready projects” to build roads; billions more for developing alternative-energy projects; and additional billions for expanding broadband Internet access and creating a “smart grid” for energy consumption. After he was sworn in as president, he proclaimed that taxpayer money would assuredly not be doled out to political friends. “Decisions about how Recovery Act dollars are spent will be based on the merits,” he said, referring to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. “Let me repeat that: decisions about how recovery money will be spent will be based on the merits. They will not be made as a way of doing favors for lobbyists.”
Nevertheless, a large proportion of the winners were companies with Obama-campaign connections. Indeed, at least 10 members of Obama’s finance committee and more than a dozen of his campaign bundlers were big winners in getting your money. At the same time, several politicians who supported Obama managed to strike gold by launching alternative-energy companies and obtaining grants. How much did they get? According to the Department of Energy’s own numbers … a lot. In the 1705 government-backed-loan program, 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.
Shocking, isn’t it? I know none of us should really be surprised. There is so, so much more, even to this excerpt, which I encourage you to read in its entirety.
But I have just one more, pertinent to this whole issue of “green” technology companies: [snip]
One might think that the Department of Energy’s Loan Program Office, which has doled out billions in taxpayer-guaranteed loans, would be directed by a dedicated scientist or engineer. Or perhaps a civil servant with considerable financial knowledge. Instead, the department’s loan and grant programs are run by partisans who were responsible for raising money during the Obama campaign from the same people who later came to seek government loans and grants. Steve Spinner, who served on the Obama campaign’s National Finance Committee and was a bundler himself, was the campaign’s “liaison to Silicon Valley.” His responsibilities included fundraising, recruiting more bundlers, and managing Obama’s relationship with a cadre of very wealthy donors. After the 2008 campaign, Spinner joined the Department of Energy as the “chief strategic operations officer” for the loan programs. A lot of the money he helped hand out went to that same cadre of wealthy Silicon Valley campaign donors. He also sat on the White House Business Council, which is made up of Obama-supporting corporate executives.
Again, Mr. Schweizer’s book will be out Nov. 15, from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. It would make a great stocking stuffer.
But it is not just green companies which are benefiting from Obama’s largesse at our expense. Over the weekend, news broke that the Obama Administration has spent $443 MILLION of our taxpaying dollars to purchase a smallpox vaccine. You read that right – SMALLPOX vaccine. If you are thinking, “I thought that had been essentially eradicated,” you would be right. What is worse, though, is that this particular vaccine has not even been tested yet, and might not even work. Why, then would our government be spending so much money? You know the answer. From the LA Times:
[snip] Senior officials have taken unusual steps to secure the contract for New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, one of the world’s richest men and a longtime Democratic Party donor.
When Siga complained that contracting specialists at the Department of Health and Human Services were resisting the company’s financial demands, senior officials replaced the government’s lead negotiator for the deal, interviews and documents show.
But wait – it gets worse:
When Siga was in danger of losing its grip on the contract a year ago, the officials blocked other firms from competing.
That’s right – it was a NO-BID contract:
Siga was awarded the final contract in May through a “sole-source” procurement in which it was the only company asked to submit a proposal. The contract calls for Siga to deliver 1.7 million doses of the drug for the nation’s biodefense stockpile. The price of approximately $255 per dose is well above what the government’s specialists had earlier said was reasonable, according to internal documents and interviews. (Click here to read the rest of this excellent article.)
Are you freakin’ kidding me?? Never mind that the nation already has enough smallpox vaccine to vaccinate every man, women, and child should it ever rear its ugly head again ($1 billion worth, according to the LA Times article), but they don’t even know if this new one even WORKS!
Wow. So glad Obama feels free to let our money run through his fingers like water. I am glad, though, that there are intrepid reporters out there ferreting out this information, from Peter Schweizer to David Willman at the LA Times, at least some people will not let this go under the radar. Nor should it – this is OUR money, and our nation is in a terrible economic fix. For Obama to act as if there is an unending pot of our money to pay back his donors is simply wrong, and must be stopped.
And these companies can start paying us back any ol’ time. What do you think?