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For a time it was the Right's favorite talking-point: Solyndra. And ultimately they have successfully used it to bash Democrats over the head with.
Now that more corporate indulgence is coming to light, are "Green jobs" just a 'politically correct' method of kicking back to political donors?

http://news.yahoo.com/green-firms-fed-cash-execs-bonuses-fai...

ABC News wrote:
Green Firms Get Fed Cash, Give Execs Bonuses, Fail

President Obama's Department of Energy helped finance several green energy companies that later fell into bankruptcy -- but not before the firms doled out six-figure bonuses and payouts to top executives, a Center for Public Integrity and ABC News investigation found.

Take, for instance, Beacon Power Corp., the second recipient of an Energy Department loan guarantee in 2009. In March 2010, the Massachusetts energy storage company paid cash bonuses of $259,285 to three executives in part due to progress made on the $43 million energy loan, Securities and Exchange Commission records show. Last October, Beacon Power filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

EnerDel, maker of lithium-ion battery systems, landed a $118.5 million energy grant in August 2009. About one-and-a-half years later, Vice President Joe Biden toured a company plant in Indiana and heralded its taxpayer-supported expansion as one of the "100 Recovery Act Projects That Are Changing America."

Two months after Biden's visit, EnerDel corporate parent Ener1 paid $725,000 in bonuses to three executives -- including $450,000 to then-CEO Charles Gassenheimer, who led Biden on the tour. This January, Ener1 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

At least two other firms that benefited from Energy Department funding -- one a $500,000 grant, the other a $535 million loan guarantee -- handed out hefty payouts to executives and later went bankrupt.

The Department of Energy, asked about the payments examined by the Center and ABC, said it is troubled by the practice and intends to convey that message to loan recipients.

"We don't begrudge companies or their executives for their success, but it is irresponsible for executives to be awarded bonus compensation when their workers are losing their jobs," said department spokeswoman Jen Stutsman. "We take our role as stewards of taxpayer dollars very seriously, and as such, we will make clear to loan recipients our view that funds should not be directed toward executive bonuses when the rest of the company is facing financial difficulty."

The bonuses and bankruptcies come against a growing wave of trouble for companies financed with Energy Department dollars. Of the first 12 loan guarantees the department announced, for instance, two firms filed for bankruptcy, a third has faced layoffs and a fourth deal never closed.

The nonprofit Citizens Against Government Waste counts nearly 20 energy companies that have gotten federal loan guarantees or grants that have run into financial trouble ranging from layoffs to losses to bankruptcies. An outside consultant hired by the White House said the Energy Department's loan pool includes $2.7 billion in potentially risky loans and suggests the agency hire a "chief risk officer" to help minimize problems.

To watchdogs, the pattern of firms awarding bonuses only to file for bankruptcy raises questions about how well the Energy Department chose its winners, and how thoroughly it kept an eye on them once selected.

"Giving a bonus to the executives under these circumstances is rewarding failure with our money with no chance of getting it back," said Leslie Paige, spokeswoman for the nonpartisan Citizens Against Government Waste.

"Taxpayers need some representation here. They didn't really get it."
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Yes, giving government money to your political freinds is a feature of the American democratic system. it used to be pork bellies and now its snouts in the trough.
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slatersteven wrote:
Yes, giving government money to your political freinds is a feature of the American democratic system. it used to be pork bellies and now its snouts in the trough.


Thank the stars we have you British, who would never stoop to such low tactics.
 
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My understanding is that the firms received government guaranteed loans because they could not get them otherwise. This would indicate that there was siginificant risk involved in the enterprise and it shouldn't be surprising that some will fail.

That said, a firm that gets a government guaranteed loan should not be paying any bonuses until that loan is paid off. This should have been part of the deal from the start.

Separately, the mindset that executives deserve millions of dollars in salary and bonuses regardless of how their company or employees are doing is a symptom of a deep sickness in our society. Wealth is our national religion and how it is gained doesn't matter at all.
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DWTripp wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Yes, giving government money to your political freinds is a feature of the American democratic system. it used to be pork bellies and now its snouts in the trough.


Thank the stars we have you British, who would never stoop to such low tactics.


Not quote as bad, here is more straight forward corruption involving individuals. We have tighter controls on political donations, and ellections tend to rest less on money then media moghal indulgence.
 
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rshipley wrote:
My understanding is that the firms received government guaranteed loans because they could not get them otherwise. This would indicate that there was siginificant risk involved in the enterprise and it shouldn't be surprising that some will fail.

That said, a firm that gets a government guaranteed loan should not be paying any bonuses until that loan is paid off. This should have been part of the deal from the start.

Separately, the mindset that executives deserve millions of dollars in salary and bonuses regardless of how their company or employees are doing is a symptom of a deep sickness in our society. Wealth is our national religion and how it is gained doesn't matter at all.


Rich, if this was Bush and the recipients were oil companies you'd be all over this, accusing him of crimes, calling for him to resign or be impeached and so forth. Have you really not read the details of Solyndra and several of the other "failed" ventures? I recommend it because you'll find there is a whole lot more than just a few execs getting millions in bonuses - there are massive kickbacks to the Obama campaign machine as well and several other very troubling "deals" that were made just before his election and shortly afterward.

Secondly, are you really okay with the whole idea of your money and mine being given to ventures with "significant risk"? It just seems like you dismiss the whole thing as understandable because it happened on Obama's watch or because you personally think risking taxpayer dollars on questionable technology and criminal executives is okay unless conservatives do it.

When billions upon billions of dollars have been wasted and stolen like this it shouldn't matter if your guy is at the helm or not. It's either okay or it's criminal. Which is it?
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rshipley wrote:
My understanding is that the firms received government guaranteed loans because they could not get them otherwise. This would indicate that there was siginificant risk involved in the enterprise and it shouldn't be surprising that some will fail.
Which leads to a related question: Should the federal government be in the 'risky loans' business at all?

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DWTripp wrote:
I recommend it because you'll find there is a whole lot more than just a few execs getting millions in bonuses - there are massive kickbacks to the Obama campaign machine as well and several other very troubling "deals" that were made just before his election and shortly afterward.


Cites, please.
 
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DWTripp wrote:
Rich, if this was Bush and the recipients were oil companies you'd be all over this, accusing him of crimes, calling for him to resign or be impeached and so forth.


Thanks for telling me what I would think about those things. What would I do without you?

Quote:
Have you really not read the details of Solyndra and several of the other "failed" ventures? I recommend it because you'll find there is a whole lot more than just a few execs getting millions in bonuses - there are massive kickbacks to the Obama campaign machine as well and several other very troubling "deals" that were made just before his election and shortly afterward.


I suspect that the above is mostly conspiracy crap. You could go all aspergers and give me some reputable references if you like.

Quote:
Secondly, are you really okay with the whole idea of your money and mine being given to ventures with "significant risk"? It just seems like you dismiss the whole thing as understandable because it happened on Obama's watch or because you personally think risking taxpayer dollars on questionable technology and criminal executives is okay unless conservatives do it.


I'm not sure it was a good idea at all. I'd like to see comprehensive results rather than just a few bad examples before condemning the whole enterprise.

Quote:
When billions upon billions of dollars have been wasted and stolen like this it shouldn't matter if your guy is at the helm or not. It's either okay or it's criminal. Which is it?


What the executives did sounds like a crime to me and I'd like to see them prosecuted. Unfortunately, our courts (particularly the Supreme Court) treat people that steal money on this scale as above the law. If there was real corruption in the government, I'm good with going after that too.
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rshipley wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
Rich, if this was Bush and the recipients were oil companies you'd be all over this, accusing him of crimes, calling for him to resign or be impeached and so forth.


Thanks for telling me what I would think about those things. What would I do without you?


I dunno, continue to be misinformed?

Quote:
Have you really not read the details of Solyndra and several of the other "failed" ventures? I recommend it because you'll find there is a whole lot more than just a few execs getting millions in bonuses - there are massive kickbacks to the Obama campaign machine as well and several other very troubling "deals" that were made just before his election and shortly afterward.


Quote:
I suspect that the above is mostly conspiracy crap. You could go all aspergers and give me some reputable references if you like.


Yeah, you're right, the New York Times is a well-known mouthpiece for those nasty old right-wing conspiracy nutjobs:

Quote:
On Oct. 7, according to e-mails provided to Congressional investigators, a senior Energy Department official had pushed hard for the government’s loan, even after he had disclosed that his wife’s law firm represented the company and he had promised to recuse himself from matters related to the loan application. The official, Steven J. Spinner, then a senior member of the Energy Department’s loan guarantee oversight office and a 2008 Obama fund-raiser, inquired frequently about the progress of the loan, urging the White House budget office to move more quickly on approving it. The e-mails provided further evidence of high-level cheerleading on behalf of Solyndra.


Quote:
During the period when Solyndra’s loan guarantee was under review and management by the Energy Department, the company spent nearly $1.8 million on Washington lobbyists, employing six firms with ties to members of Congress and officials of the Obama White House. None of the other three solar panel manufacturers that eventually got federal loan guarantees spent a dime on lobbyists.


Quote:
Although the government in such programs typically guarantees loans made to a company by a commercial bank, this was not the case for Solyndra. It borrowed the money from the Federal Financing Bank, part of the Treasury Department, so in effect, the government was lending the money to the company directly. The Energy Department gave Solyndra a conditional guarantee for $535 million, in multiple stages, contingent on reaching a variety of milestones, and it had received $528 million before going under.


Quote:
After the bankruptcy, Republicans on a House subcommittee charged that a final review of loan guarantees for Solyndra may have been rushed so that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. could announce its approval at a groundbreaking in 2009.
They released a string of e-mails that had been sent among White House staff that they said raised questions as to whether the Solyndra loan guarantee was pushed to approval before it was ready.


Chu justified this and other politically-motivated loans by asserting that China finances solar industry so we need to be competitive. Except China doesn't also finance health care, welfare, food stamps, pensions and other social programs anywhere near the same level as America does, so there really is no comparison.

This whole thing is criminal.
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fightcitymayor wrote:
Should the federal government be in the 'risky loans' business at all?


No.
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DWTripp wrote:

Rich, if this was Bush and the recipients were oil companies you'd be all over this, accusing him of crimes, calling for him to resign or be impeached and so forth. Have you really not read the details of Solyndra and several of the other "failed" ventures? I recommend it because you'll find there is a whole lot more than just a few execs getting millions in bonuses - there are massive kickbacks to the Obama campaign machine as well and several other very troubling "deals" that were made just before his election and shortly afterward.


Until we have real campaign finance reform, there is no such thing as the lesser of two evils, because money makes both choices equally evil.
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DWTripp wrote:
This whole thing is criminal.


The New York Times quotes do raise some questions that should be answered, but don't support your characterization of the events.
 
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quozl wrote:
fightcitymayor wrote:
Should the federal government be in the 'risky loans' business at all?


No.


It depends really. If we don't invest in risky endeavors will we ever advance technologically? If making the world a better place means using cleaner energy and current private investors won't invest in it because oil has a higher profit margin, regardless of all it's liabilities, then the only way we can make clean energy marketable is to subsidize it's start-up and R&D. Contrary to popular belief, not all private operations are paragons of efficiency and competency, many will crash and burn.. Solyndra being a case in point.

So, I don't think that we should stop investing in infrastructure that can help the country in the long run, I think we should take out some of the variables that make our investments riskier, like the current campaign finance bucket of human feces.
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DWTripp wrote:
Rich, if this was Bush and the recipients were oil companies


Not a great comparison, since the rationale for these investments wouldn't apply to oil companies. It may or may not be a good idea for the government to spend money trying to grow a domestic "green economy" sector, but saying, "If this was for oil companies" is irrelevant.

Quote:
Have you really not read the details of Solyndra and several of the other "failed" ventures? I recommend it because you'll find there is a whole lot more than just a few execs getting millions in bonuses - there are massive kickbacks to the Obama campaign machine as well and several other very troubling "deals" that were made just before his election and shortly afterward.


This I do find troubling. One area I agree with conservatives on is that there's an inherent risk of corruption when government spends money.

Quote:
Secondly, are you really okay with the whole idea of your money and mine being given to ventures with "significant risk"?


Depending on the context, yes. After all, I support government grants for primary research that is more than "significant risk" -- no direct return is expected at all.
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Chad_Ellis wrote:

Quote:
Secondly, are you really okay with the whole idea of your money and mine being given to ventures with "significant risk"?


Depending on the context, yes. After all, I support government grants for primary research that is more than "significant risk" -- no direct return is expected at all.


I really don't have a real problem with the federal government supporting basic research. (Star Wars being a prime example.)

I do have a problem with them giving money to entities that are supposed to be profit making entities. (Who then are likely to give that money to execs and/or to donate to campaigns.)

If the government does want to encourage certain activities in private (kind of) market by providing tax credits/deductions to consumers that choose to purchase products/services that promote these desired activities. (I'd really rather just stop subsidizing all industry and let the true costs sort themselves out, but that's obviously a pipe dream in the short term, think of the blip in unemployment from the lobbyists alone....)


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rshipley wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
This whole thing is criminal.


The New York Times quotes do raise some questions that should be answered, but don't support your characterization of the events.


I only used one article in the NYT, they have had quite a few, some of which delve deeper into activities that even you might find criminal. There are numerous other sources out there and unlike most here in RSP I don't automatically discount the legitimacy of the reporting because I'm ideologically opposed to a brand name.

Personally I am a long-time proponent of conservation, renewable energy sources and what has now become stupidly marginalized by referring to it as "green". So I read as much as time allows on the subject and look forward to the day when I can drive an awesome car with the mind-boggling torque an electric motor provides and live in a totally solar house that sells energy back to a utility. I lost money buying stocks on risky "green" concepts in the 70's and repeatedly made it back and then some by diversifying in those terrible oil companies, heavy industry and the evil waste-producing silicon chip market segment.

I want something like Solyndra to succeed. When that happens, and it will, everyone wins whether they vote R or D or L or G or whatever. Everyone wins if our money is cared for and not used to curry donations to a campaign or other corrupt practices. I could care who is in office - if you read widely on this Solyndra and other similar failures and then compare everything all the sources agree on and if you still don't see crime, then you're a Borg.
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qzhdad wrote:
(I'd really rather just stop subsidizing all industry and let the true costs sort themselves out
Hmmm... sounds like that pesky libertarianism I've heard so much about.
Y'know, not having the federal government in the business of picking winners & losers in the marketplace.
Which inevitably leads to taxpayer cash funding corporate CEOs.



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Drew1365 wrote:
The president doesn't hate all corporations -- just the ones that don't donate to his campaign.



All candidates do not hate big governement, just big governement that does not benifit thier friends.
 
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KissaTaikuri wrote:
Drew1365 wrote:
The president doesn't hate all corporations -- just the ones that don't donate to his campaign.


This could be said of most presidents though.


As I said thats the nature of modern (so as not to upset undualy sensative Americans) modern politics.
 
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