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  • Solar Company Hired Biden Staffer to Help Secure $1.6 Billion Federal Loan

    Internal emails show that BrightSource Energy, which received the largest federal loan for a solar energy project under President Obama’s stimulus package, leveraged its considerable political connections with top Democratic policymakers to secure its $1.6 billion in taxpayer backing.

    BrightSource energy faced a “do-or-die moment,” according to a report in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, as the Energy Department weighed a federal loan for its massive Ivanpah solar farm in the California Mojave Desert.

    To spur the administration to approve the loan, BrightSource beefed up its lobbying presence, most notably by hiring Bernie Toon, former chief of staff for then-Senator Joe Biden, to lobby on its behalf. Toon was paid $40,000 for his efforts, according to disclosure forms.

    Toon’s connections immediately paid dividends:

    On March 9, 2011, just days after being hired, Mr. Toon went to the White House with three BrightSource executives, according to Senate and White House records. There he visited a former colleague, Alan Hoffman, now the top aide to Mr. Biden, whose office was working on green-energy programs, the records show. The White House didn’t make Mr. Hoffman available for comment.

    Overall, BrightSource dropped half a million dollars on lobbyists in the run-up to DOE’s decision on the Ivanpah loan.

    But its lobbyists were hardly the extent of BrightSource’s connections. Its chairman at the time, John Bryson, is now Obama’s Commerce Secretary. But even before his cabinet post, BrightSource considered leveraging Bryson’s considerable political clout to push Ivanpah approval.

    And the company drew up plans to have its chairman, Mr. Bryson, lobby a friend, then-White House Chief of Staff William Daley. On March 7, the company sent the DOE’s loan-program director a proposed letter from Mr. Bryson to Mr. Daley requesting White House intervention, according to emails viewed by the Journal. It read, “We need a commitment from the WH to quarterback loan closure” by March 18.

    The company eventually decided against sending that letter after a DOE official confirmed that the Ivanpah deal was on track for approval.

    The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has incoprporated some of these facts into its investigation into DOE’s green energy financing.

    But regardless of whether there was any misconduct or inappropriate lobbying by BrightSource or its representatives, these facts underscore one of critics’ chief complaints about political involvement in the economy generally: when government holds the purse strings, those with the most political connections inevitably benefit.

    Note: this post has been corrected to reflect the fact that Bryson’s letter to DOE’s loan programs office was never sent.

    Posted in Featured, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Solar Company Hired Biden Staffer to Help Secure $1.6 Billion Federal Loan

    1. Joe Stickney says:

      wants preservation no development!!

      • Gene says:

        Todd, I don't disagree with what you have written, however these same shenanigans also go on when the republican party is in control. We the citizens of this country are being had by our elected representatives. I don't know how we're going to do it but this government needs some significant changes.

        • mike swann says:

          GENE, where have you been/ we ahve a democrta pres, democrat senate, so how in the h are republicans in control? Obama had a demo senate and congress until Republicans took congress back in jan 2011. while o had both houses demos he didn't make a budge, blew billions on green projects that come to find out thanks to the FBI were given loans in their green companies and they were o's top donators. One co was CEo ws Nancy Pelosi brother in law. we ahve to pay for all the backrupcies of these companies. check out how many loans were given out by oban to foreign countries for green exploations and companies, Oshould be impeached but if Congress voted yes, senate wouldn't vote for itas tehy are all his lackeys, democrats. i cnnot get over how ill informed americans are, no wonder we are in the shape we are iln.

    2. Todd says:

      The democrat party is not good for this country, this corrupt and unethical administration is destroying this country, and the American people must do something about it. The November election and the inauguration of our next president cannot come soon enough. Barack Obama and the democrat party must fade into history in order for the United States of America to recover to the greatness that we once had.

      • MTSNJ says:

        We need major overhaul on both sides of the street. We really need Term Limits for Congress..They get too comfortable with other peoples money

    3. Stirling says:

      The only "capitalist" charateristic the democrats seem to have is a "FOR SALE" sign on their backs. The problem is it seems to be a sub-prime variety loan with no collateral of financial cents. (or sense).

      Cutting the Lobyist financial cord would be a good start to keep more of the taxpayers money in our wallets and less in the government coffers to be recklessly spent.

    4. Bobbie says:

      What happened, America? Where once we expected to be governed with honor we settle for dishonor? Where once we held leadership accountable to the governing choices that sustain freedom and liberty now forced complacency to significantly less, to the take over all America once stood for? While under those in governing controls use deceit, deviance, distortions and disrespect? Where once America stood for the land of the free, home of the brave now settle for the land of the welfare dependents and home of the depraved?

      Come on America! We're suppose to rid the world of 3rd world government now half the people in America supports in America? George Clooney? Sara Jessica Parker? Cher? Ashley Judd? The democratic party of America? Half of America overlooks a man's faults with no accountabilities because he isn't white while emulating men who are white who support him? And to insult America by holding SKIN COLOR AT less of a man of good standing? What happened, America? Free your minds from the bad influences that have sickened them! Skin color doesn't make choices, skin color has no behavioral capabilities, skin color has no mentality, only the man who's in the skin does and this man does not represent the good of America or the good of her people. I know this is about Biden but Biden just follows his lead to further destroy America. Obama doesn't have accountabilities because he isn't white? that's so bazaar, racists!!!! Which every person who supports this man and HIS government is, to lower this country to collapse because of! Dangerous FAKES! just despicably pathetic…

    5. Stuart Seay says:

      I agree Bobbie and if America doesn't turn back to God and be the country our forefather's intended it to be you can kiss it good by >>>>>>>>>
      STuart

    6. tom coryell says:

      History proves that when God wants to turn things around, He alows an inposter like obama to surface. He is not my president, I don't believe he was born in america. Obama is so far the most dangerest person to be in such an office. He has this country on a suicide and self destruct mode. Bible quote; A Nation that forgets God, shall come to nothing.

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