RockPort Capital: Crony Capitalism Goes Green

It looks as if the Obama Administration has a major “green” problem. The firm responsible for Solyndra, RockPort Capital, and several other major companies directly connected to the Obama Administration have received in excess of $4 billion in government assistance. This cronyism includes millions in tax breaks (one conveniently preceding a $10 million investment from WH Economic Adviser Jeffrey Immelt’s General Electric), stimulus grants, loan guarantees, and government endorsements that gave credibility to a firm’s untested product. With the release of more White House emails, it looks as if the Obama Administration’s problem is more than just a few bad loans.

In 2009, another RockPort investment, Satcon technologies, partnered with SunPower Corporation and Exelon Energy to build a 41-acre solar array in Chicago. SunPower, recently covered here, is the recipient of a controversial $1.2 billion DOE loan guarantee. SunPower also worked with Satcon on another government-funded solar project in Hawai’i.

Meanwhile, the DOE has doubled down on their loan program with a $646 million loan guarantee to Exelon Energy (who own the SunPower/Satcon project in Chicago). Exelon bought out the Antelope Valley Project from First Solar Energy after First Solar missed the DOE’s loan guarantee deadline and was denied an extension. In another interesting appearance, Jeffrey Immelt’s GE Energy Financial just bought out First Solar’s Desert Sunlight project after receiving a DOE guarantee for a portion of their $1.46 billion loan. It’s probably more than a matter of coincidence Exelon arose out of an $8.2 billion merger advised by Rahm Emanuel in 1999 and that White House political strategist David Axelrod is a former consultant for Exelon. Furthermore, Exelon executives were major contributors to Obama’s 2008 campaign, bundling several hundred thousand dollars in campaign contributions.

Beacon Power, who just filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy after receiving $67 million in stimulus loans and grants, was a major recipient of investment funding from “The Beacon Group”. The Beacon Group, a division of bank bailout recipient JP Morgan Chase, has also invested in RockPort Capital’s PowerSpan Energy. PowerSpan CEO Frank Alix was a White House guest for a December 2009 Jobs Summit, in addition to testifying in favor of carbon sequestration regulations in his March 2009 Congressional Testimony. In return for their government lobbying, PowerSpan enjoyed $50 million worth of financial backing from George Soros for their carbon sequestration technology five days after an EPA ruling established CO2 as a regulated environmental pollutant.

In total, we have found more than $4.2 billion in preferential grants and loans to companies that either lobbied for or had conflicts of interest with the White House. The incestuous relationship between the Obama White House, RockPort Capital investments, and companies such as GE, Beacon Energy, and Exelon Energy suggest unethical, if not illegal, dispersion of taxpayer funds. Meanwhile, the White House is claiming executive privilege on Solyndra while dishing out more DOE loan guarantees to major supporters and donors.

The evidence presented coupled with the Obama Administration’s response to these scandals eliminate any doubt whether there was wrongdoing. Rather, it’s a question of whether Congressional Republicans and the MSM will let this administration slide out from yet another scandal, especially one as far-reaching as this.

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