President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign is promising to raise enormous sums of money, by some estimates and unprecedented $1 billion. The Finance Chair for the 2012 campaign, Matthew Barzun, is reactivating the 2008 financial network of campaign bundlers to meet that goal. In my new book, Throw Them All Out, I expose the scandal that is outrageous and typical: those who are raising money for Obama received large amounts of taxpayer-funded energy stimulus money from the Obama Administration. It offers a new form of “recycling” when it comes to campaign dollars that is unprecedented.
Consider the sweetheart deals and contracts that have come the way of some of President Obama’s biggest fundraisers:
- Financier David Shaw has raised $1.08 million for Obama’s reelection so far. Shaw’s firm D.E. Shaw is heavily invested in two wind projects that received taxpayer money: $115 million for First Wind, and $117 million for Kahuku Wind.
- Financier John Rogers is a board Exelon board member has raised $1.2 million, and Frank Clark, an executive Exelon, has raised $153,000 thus far. Exelon has been approved for $646 million in Department of Energy loan guarantees for a project called AV Solar Ranch One. They also received a $200 million Department of Energy cash grant through a company they own called Peco Energy for smart-grid work.
- Financier Steve Westly has raised $302,000 so far. Westly has held large investment stakes in numerous companies that have received stimulus grants, including Amyris Biotechnologies ($24 million), Tesla Motors ($465 million), as well as Edeniqu and Recyclebank.
- Bruce Heyman of Goldman Sachs, who has had three energy projects approved for taxpayer money Cogentrix ($90 million), First Solar ($4.7 million), and U.S. Geothermal ($96.8 million) has already raised $366,884 for the Obama 2012 reelection campaign.
- Daniel Weiss of the Angelino Group has raised $39,000 so far. Weiss’ firm is a major equity holder in Powerspan, we received a $100 million cash grant for smart grid projects.
- Steve Spinner has raised $31,900 to this point. Spinner is a green energy investor who worked at the Department of Energy as a “strategic advisor” to the loan program.
Other recipients of energy stimulus money have continued cutting checks. Ian Cumming of Leucadia, which has had several large projects approved, has given $10,000 so far to Obama for America and the Obama Victory Fund 2012.
Others are not serving as campaign bundlers, but are rainmakers on an entirely different level. Financier John Doerr has held a series of held a private pow-wow bringing together big financiers to meet with President Obama, including a February 17, 2011 dinner at his home with the late Steve Jobs, Zuckerberg of Facebook, and John Chambers of Cisco Systems. Doerr and his firm have investments in sixteen green energy companies that have received taxpayer grants and loans.
The cronyism continues, and only outrage from the American people can stop it.