Reuters recently offered an apologetic profile
on Solyndra figurehead, RockPort Capital Managing Partner, and Solyndra Board Member David Prend.
The article, a fawning exhibition of non-
investigative journalism, referred to Prend as the "Guru of Green." Reuters neglected to question whether Prend's close government connections had created conflicts of interest as he secured multi-million dollar government loans and grants for his investments.
Prend lobbied the Director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, Carol Browner, for Solyndra's doomed $535 million DOE loan and presidential endorsement. Prend also visited the White House at least twice and discussed two companies
with Browner while lobbying for Solyndra. (The White House refuses to release the second company's name.)
Prend's other investments suggest that he is benefiting from taxpayer support for far more than just two companies.
Prend is a board member for scandal-plagued concrete sealant manufacturer Hycrete. Around 2008, Hycrete received a $2 million Corps of Engineers
earmark from Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN) shortly before company executives donated $20,000 to his campaign and the DCCC
. In July 2009, former Hycrete CEO David Rosenberg was invited to a WH Summit on Energy Innovation and Jobs where Obama praised Hycrete
as a job creation leader.
Prend was apparently involved in another RockPort Capital investment, Soliant Energy. Soliant went bankrupt even after receiving a $4 million DOE grant
. Prend also apparently sits on the board of SustainX, which recently secured a $5.39 million DOE grant
In late 2010, RockPort Capital invested in and appointed co-founder Wilber James to the board
of troubled energy start-up Ener1. Within months, the Elkhart, Indiana company received a $118.5 million stimulus grant
and a visit from Joe Biden
. During his visit, Biden inspected the electric-drive THINK City vehicle, an Ener1 and RockPort investment. The THINK City vehicle was manufactured in Elkhart prior to THINK's fourth bankruptcy in June 2011.
Think is a Norwegian-based company. Elkhart was also where President Obama announced $2.4 billion in electric-drive grants
Another RockPort investment, Southwest Windpower, has also been honored by a visit from President Obama
and a plug during his weekly address
. Southwest was afforded tax credits shortly before
receiving a $10 million joint investment from GE.
Reuters' most glaring omission is its failure to discuss the implications of Prend's position as the director
of the DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) National Advisory Council (appointed in 2007
) and the Solar Technology Review Panel Chairman. His position with NREL to influence the government with federal loans and grants for green technology would appear to create a serious conflict of interest.
With some research, it seems that Prend's investments and conflicts of interest warrant close journalistic scrutiny--more serious than Reuters has seen fit to offer.