Congress’s official investigation into the financial crisis, the so-called Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, will convene its first meeting today. Unfortunately, Nancy Pelosi’s handpicked chairman of the commission Phil Angelides, has deep ties to radical left-wing politics, including the Van Jones-connected Apollo Alliance, which he chairs, and ACORN, which is an Apollo member and endorsed and actively supported his gubernatorial campaign. His selection proves the commission will be a politicized attempt to advance a left-wing agenda through a revisionist history of the financial crisis. It also assures that ACORN and other community organizers who forced banks to make reckless loans in the name of affordable housing will be let off the hook.
Angelides’s San Francisco-based Apollo Alliance describes itself as a “coalition of labor, business, environmental, and community leaders working to catalyze a clean energy revolution.” Based on the radical past of some of its key figures, the use of the word revolution is appropriate. Apollo was conceived of, and presently serves, as a clearing house to align the otherwise disparate interests of environmental groups, labor unions, social justice organizations, and rent-seeking corporations.
Disgraced former White House green jobs czar Van Jones was an Apollo board member, involved with the group from its founding, and was its model for a new type of leader. Apollo board member John Podesta, who was chairman of Obama’s transition team, already brought Van Jones back to the Center for American Progress, Podesta’s influential think tank where Jones had previously been a senior fellow. These are Angelides’s friends and ideological peers.
Apollo’s roster of endorsers includes the AFL-CIO, the SEIU, the United Steelworkers, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, ACORN, the Ella Baker Center, and all the major wind and solar industry players. By uniting labor unions with environmentalists, Apollo seeks to repair the historical rift between those elements of the big-government coalition by tapping the U.S. Treasury to gain access to taxpayer dollars for a wide-variety of projects that fund their constituents. Not surprisingly, there is huge overlap between Apollo endorsers and Angelides’s endorsers in his 2006 run for governor of California, including ACORN, which actively campaigned for him.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) specifically credited Apollo for helping write and pass the stimulus, saying: “This legislation is the first step in building a clean energy economy — The Apollo Alliance has been an important factor in helping us develop and execute a strategy that makes great progress on these goals and in motivating the public to support them.”
ACORN got a big piece of the stimulus pie, eligible to apply for as much as $4.19 billion of stimulus funding under the so-called “Neighborhood Stabilization Program” and likely eligible for other stimulus programs as well. David Vitter of Louisiana offered an amendment that would have blocked ACORN from receiving stimulus funds that failed on a 45-51 vote.
Angelides earned his position as chairman of the Apollo Alliance by loyally steering literally billions of dollars of the pension funds he controlled as California State Treasurer to the pockets of the renewable energy, organized labor, and community organizing interests that make up Apollo. His biography on the Apollo web site boasts:
“He directed $26 billion in state investments to promote smart growth. He put the weight of California’s $400 billion pension funds behind investment in clean energy and the fight against global warming.”
Angelides brought his top staffer, Cathy Calfo, with him from the California State Treasurer’s office to become Apollo’s new executive director. Apollo boasts that, while in the Treasurer’s office, Calfo steered an incredible $1.5 billion in state funds to “renewable energy, cutting edge environmental technologies, and environmentally responsible companies.”
So the man charged with investigating the financial crisis is the bagman for the union and ACORN influenced Apollo Alliance. Don’t expect much in the way of honest inquiry from the commission he chairs, and you can be sure that ACORN and its fellow so-called community organizations will be held blameless.