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Shining Sunlight on the Crony Capitalism of President Obama and Solar Energy Companies

by Whitney Pitcher
On a recent appearance on Judge Napolitano’s show , Governor Palin stated that the failed solar panel company, Solyndra, was just the beginning of what she calls “crony capitalism on steroids”. She noted:

We’re going to see much revelation of other companies too that are receiving our tax dollars that we don’t have, that we’re borrowing from China and we’re printing out of thin air in order to fund some of these entities that have friends in the White House and on Wall Street. And we’re the ones in the end, the middle class, who are made to suffer. People are going to understand more and more the dangers of crony capitalism, and that is why so many of us are saying, “whatever it takes to retire this permanent political class that has embraced it. We’re going to do to it!”

As usual, Governor Palin was correct in predicting pervasive crony capitalism in Washington DC. On Friday, the Obama administration doled out $5 billion more dollars in energy loan guarantees. One of those loans went to the company, Exelon (emphasis added):

The deals announced Friday include a $1.5 billion loan guarantee to Florida-based NextEra Energy and other investors that bought a planned 550-megawatt solar farm on federal land in Southern California from First Solar, as well as $646 million to Illinois-based Exelon Corp. for a 230-megawatt solar plant near Los Angeles. Next Era Energy Resources and GE Energy Financial Services bought the Desert Sunlight project from First Solar, while Exelon bought the Antelope Valley project. First Solar will continue to build and operate both projects.

Interesting to note is that Exelon was President Obama’s fourth largest donor in 2008, and this was not the only time he was involved in crony capitalism tainted political maneuvers with this company. He did so while he was in the Senate as well:

The New York Times reported earlier this year that Obama accepted more than$225,000 in contributions from Exelon executives while watering down an antinuclear bill he had introduced in the Senate. Exelon is the nation’s largest provider of nuclear power.

Next Era Energy, who partnered with GE, received $1.5 billion dollars in loan guarantees, but that’s not the only time Next Era Energy and GE have teamed up. President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness is headed by GE CEO, Jeff Imelt, while Next Era CEO, Lew Hay III, also served on this council. This becomes crony capitalism defined, as President Obama stated when he established this council, “[i]t’s critical for us to have input from folks who are actually hiring, putting people to work, making payroll, making the products and services that make our economy so powerful”. Isn’t it funny that these companies’ input potentially played a role in steering loan guarantees to their companies? Governor Palin has recently highlighted the crony capitalism of GE, including the loans (emphasis mine):

This icon of American industry is a company full of good employees who make some good products (and is the parent company of a huge media outlet), but GE is also a large American corporation that pays virtually no corporate income taxes despite earning worldwide profits of $14.2 billion last year, $5.1 billion of it in the United States. In fact, they claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion, meaning they received more of our hard earned tax dollars than they contributed. How is that possible? It’s because not only do they shelter their money from taxes, but they also get many tax credits, loans, government grants, and other benefits from the federal government that our smaller businesses couldn’t even imagine being able to profit from.

It should also be noted that GE-affiliated donors were among his larger contributors in 2008 to the tune of more than half a million dollars. It’s amazing what you can discover when you shine a little sunlight on solar energy companies!

Governor Palin’s career has been marked by fighting cronyism and corruption. As a member of the city council, she called out a fellow councilmember for trying to modify Wasilla’s garbage regulations in order to steer business to his garbage collection company. She blew the whistle on the head of the Alaska GOP, Randy Ruedrich, who was working with her as a commissioner with the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, when he was doing party business on state time. This resulted in the largest ethics fine in state history. As Governor, she continued this consistent fight against crony capitalism and corruption. Her three major legislative victories focused on this fight. She signed into all major ethics reform that disallowed trading votes for campaign funds. Her major energy reforms were passed in a transparent manner that did not allow oil companies to write the legislation to disproportionately benefit them. This includes restructuring Alaska’s oil tax system after the previous administration had developed a plan that was good for Governor Murkowski’s cronies, but not for the people of Alaska. Her natural gas pipeline project allowed companies to submit proposals for public consumption before state government officials made decisions, preventing backroom dealing. In her interview with Judge Napolitano, she noted that Americans want to do “whatever it takes to retire the permanent political class that has embraced [crony capitalism]”. An easy way to do this is to elect the woman who already done this every step of the way.

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Sarah Palin: Crony Capitalism on Steroids from GE to Solyndra

By Gary P Jackson

Sarah Palin ripped Barack Obama for the massive corruption surrounding his relationships with General Electric and Solyndra:[emphasis mine]

In my recent speech in Iowa, some eyebrows were raised when I took on our government’s enormous economic problems caused by crony capitalism. As if on cue, just days later President Obama selected someone who exemplifies a major crony capitalism problem to sit next to the First Lady when he delivered his “jobs plan” speech before Congress. He selected General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt as his honored guest.

Having grown up with great respect for GE thanks to stories my grandfather shared with us about his days working for the company and even meeting GE spokesman-at-the-time Ronald Reagan during a company event, I am saddened at GE’s leadership evolution. This corporation is now the poster child of corporate welfare and crony capitalism.

This icon of American industry is a company full of good employees who make some good products (and is the parent company of a huge media outlet), but GE is also a large American corporation that pays virtually no corporate income taxes despite earning worldwide profits of $14.2 billion last year, $5.1 billion of it in the United States. In fact, they claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion, meaning they received more of our hard earned tax dollars than they contributed. How is that possible? It’s because not only do they shelter their money from taxes, but they also get many tax credits, loans, government grants, and other benefits from the federal government that our smaller businesses couldn’t even imagine being able to profit from.

Joining GE in the pantheon on crony capitalism is another Obama favorite that has been in the news of late: Solyndra. The President hailed this “green energy” company in a speech last May as “the true engine of economic growth.” When he announced the $535 million guarantee to Solyndra, Vice President Biden said that investments like this are “exactly what the Recovery Act is all about.” (Dear God…If the failed Solyndra venture has been what it’s “all about,” then that explains a lot.) As I pointed out in my speech at the Reagan Ranch Center last February: “History has proven again and again, when government picks the winners and losers, we’re stuck with the losers, and we the taxpayers subsidize failure!” And that’s what we’re seeing now, as the FBI raids the solar energy company’s headquarters to glean more information after the company was handed half a billion dollars in “green energy” Stimulus funds from the American taxpayer only to later declare bankruptcy. More than one thousand Solyndra workers lost their jobs. Now as the truth comes out, we discover that the White House was heavily involved in the Department of Energy’s rushed decision to give the Stimulus funds to Solyndra, and they tried to move the money through so quickly they seem to have ignored concerns that the company was not viable. Why would they do this? Perhaps it’s because a large investor in the company (about 35%) is Obama campaign bundler George Kaiser. And with the way the deal is structured, Kaiser will get his debts paid before we the taxpayers see any relief. That is sickening. And that’s how it works: workers lose their jobs, wealthy political cronies stand a good chance of getting their money back, and the U.S. taxpayer gets the shaft. Again.

President Obama has his sights set on raising $1 billion for his reelection campaign. Raising that money won’t be easy. But if you can hand out other people’s money to friends, it must get a whole lot easier. This crony capitalism and government waste is at the heart of our economic problems.

It will destroy us if we don’t root it out. It’s not just a Democrat problem or a Republican problem. It’s a problem of our permanent political class. This won’t stop until “we the people” say enough is enough, and we retire the permanent political class that votes for this.

~ Sarah Palin

Mark Levin has more. He talked to a Solyndra employee who said “everyone knew the plant wouldn’t work.”

Click on the image to listen to the interview:

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