Obama Administration Has Ties to Clean-Energy Firms

Wednesday, 15 Feb 2012 04:16 PM

By Paul Scicchitano

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The U.S. Department of Energy provided $2.4 billion to clean-energy companies with ties to the former firm of Sanjay Wagle, a venture capitalist who was a Barack Obama fundraiser during the president’s 2008 campaign.

DOE provided the money over a three-year period to clean-energy companies in which Wagle’s former firm, Vantage Point Venture Partners, had invested, according to The Washington Post, which reported that Wagle left his California firm to join DOE shortly after Obama’s election.

Moreover, the Post found that some $3.9 billion in federal grants and financing were provided to 21 companies backed by firms with connections to five Obama administration staffers and advisers.

While the White House sought to play down the relationship between staffers and advisers with venture capital ties, David Gold, a venture capitalist and critic of Obama’s investments in clean technology, said that it would be naïve to believe there wasn’t some subtle influence.

“To believe those quiet conversations don’t happen in the hallways — about a project being in a certain congressman’s district or being associated with a significant presidential donor — is naïve,” Gold said. “When you’re putting this kind of pressure on an organization to make decisions on very big dollars, there’s increased likelihood that political connections will influence things.”


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