Crony capitalism

Over 80% of the Department of Energy’s green energy loans went to President Obama’s backers:

$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.

Note that we’re not talking about minor contributors; these are bundlers, committee members, and other “large donors”. Moving on, it looks as though the process was designed for just such an outcome, by minimizing transparency and maximizing opportunities for personal influence:

The Government Accountability Office has been highly critical of the way guaranteed loans and grants were doled out by the Department of Energy, complaining that the process appears “arbitrary” and lacks transparency. In March 2011, for example, the GAO examined the first 18 loans that were approved and found that none were properly documented. It also noted that officials “did not always record the results of analysis” of these applications. A loan program for electric cars, for example, “lacks performance measures.” No notes were kept during the review process, so it is difficult to determine how loan decisions were made. The GAO further declared that the Department of Energy “had treated applicants inconsistently in the application review process, favoring some applicants and disadvantaging others.” The Department of Energy’s inspector general, Gregory Friedman, … has testified that contracts have been steered to “friends and family.”

Solyndra is not an outlier; it’s a symptom. This is corruption of the first order; the result of putting Chicago in charge of the federal government.

(Via the Foundry.) (Previous post.)

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