One week before the presidential election, a Congressional committee released Obama administration emails that showed a pattern of political pressure from President Barack Obama and others in his administration. The emails indicate favoritism toward Democrat politicians and donors in the awarding of federal energy loans.
The mainstream media chose not to report on the emails, even though just days before their release, Obama had flatly stated in an interview that politics played no part in awarding the loans.
In the old days of hard-nosed journalism, i.e., before the Age of Obama, if the president was caught lying about his involvement in a government payola scandal, it would have been front page news and led the evening newscasts of the broadcast networks.
Even with the release of an email in which an official says what, in a different media era, would become a catch phrase for administration corruption: “What’s a billion, anyhow?”
Even with the release of emails showing President Obama personally involved in awarding loans.
Even with the release of emails explicitly stating loans were given to help Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) win his reelection bid in Nevada in 2010.
Even with emails showing Obama donors got help from Vice President Biden in securing loans.
Even with all that and an election on the line, there was no coverage from the mainstream media. The emails were only reported by a trio of conservative media outlets: The Washington Examiner, Human Events and The Daily Caller.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released the emails, accompanied by a summary memorandum, on October 31. The emails and memorandum and other material were also made available to the public on the Internet.
Excerpts from the memorandum that failed to move the mainstream media (emphasis added):
On Friday October 26, 2012, President Obama told a local Denver, Colorado news anchor that decisions made in the loan program office are “decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics.”
In a December 5, 2009 email, Loan Program Office Senior Credit Advisor Jim McCrea forwarded an article about Senator Reid’s reelection campaign to LPO contractor Paul Barbian and stated: “Since this is not going to go into the DOE, and just to be clear, the translation is: Reid may be desperate. WH may want to help. Short term considerations may be more important than longer term considerations and what’s a billion anyhow?”
In a May 4, 2010 email, LPO Executive Director Jonathan Silver wrote in an email “I need some stats on how many projects we have funded or have in DD [due diligence] as a percentage of totals. Reid is constantly hit at home for not bringing in the federal dollars.”
From an email dated October 30, 2010 from DOE Loan Program Office (LPO) Credit Advisor Jim McCrea to LPO Executive Director Jonathan Silver:
“I am growing increasingly worried about a fast track process imposed on us at the POTUS level based on this chaotic process that we are undergoing…by designing the fast track process and having it approved at the POTUS level (which is an absolute waste of his time!) it legitimizes every element and it becomes embedded like the 55% recovery rate which also was imposed by POTUS.”
From an email dated March 1, 2010 from David Schmitzer, DOE LPO Director of Loan Origination to LPO Credit Advisor McCrea and others:
“Jonathan just said at our staff meeting that, opposite the message received on Thursday, AREVA is now a “go” (seems on Friday POTUS himself approved moving it ahead).”
From an email dated June 25, 2010, LPO Executive Director Jonathan Silver encourages LPO Credit Advisor Jim McCrea to remind a Treasury official of White House Interest in now bankrupt Abound Solar:
“You better let him know that WH wants to move Abound forward. Policy will have to wait unless they have a specific policy problem with abound.”
From an email dated September 9, 2010 from LPO Credit Advisor McCrea to DOE contractor Brian Oakley:
“Pressure is on real heavy on SF [Shepherds Flat] due to interest from VP.”
Lobbying White House and VP’s Office Achieves Results: Officials at the Department of Interior remove obstacles to BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah project after the Office of Political Affairs and Vice President’s office get involved:
A May 23, 2011 email, drafted by BrightSource Energy CEO John Woolard for BrightSource Board Chairman John Bryson (who later became Secretary of Commerce) to send to White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, states: “This project is now at significant risk due to delays in permitting at the Department of Interior… This project has been very high profile for the administration, President Obama highlighted it in his weekly address, Sec Salazar attended and spoke at the groundbreaking, and DOE has already spent $400 million.”
An email dated May 25, 2011 from BrightSource CEO John Woolard stated “we are making good progress in DC. Whitehouse [sic] does seem to be very focused on this issue, in fact it is being elevated through the office of political affairs as well as VP Bidens- so we are starting to get them focused on the massive political risk- it helps that Bloomberg called Ivanpah “Obama’s energy project” so it does have their attention.”
Secretary Chu personally issued orders to prioritize the Unistar project, a project favored by House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD). Constellation Energy and Electricite de France (EDF), entered into a joint venture, UniStar, seeking a loan guarantee to create a new nuclear reactor at the Calvert Cliffs, Maryland plant.
Jonathan Silver wrote to Secretary Chu’s Chief of Staff Brandon Hurlbut in a December 10, 2010: “since aldy [White House staffer Joe Aldy] personally promised the edf management group [one of the sponsor’s of the Unistar loan guarantee project] that he would lead an inter-agency review of this topic, we should tell him that he should be the one to call and deliver the news.”
A series of emails from May 25, 2010 through June 4, 2010 between McCrea and other DOE officials state “there has been a commitment from S1 [Secretary Chu] to Steny Hoyer on this. Nothing like over committing and under delivering.”
A second email specifies that “DOE has made political commitment to get Unistar through approval process by 6/15.” The pressure stays on, as a third emails states, “Just came down from the Secretary’s office. He is adamant that this transaction is going to OMB by the end of day.”
The direct order from Chu overrode hesitation from McCrea: “Ordinarily, over an issue like this, I would refuse to sign the credit paper and refuse to send it to OMB tomorrow but given the direct order I was personally given by S1[Secretary Chu]…”
Woodward? Bernstein? Norah? Todd? Tapper? Feller? Baker? Bueller? Bueller?