Tags: harry reid | green | energy | nonprofit | corporate | donors | loan

Report: Harry Reid Secured 'Green Energy' Subsidies for Ex-Staffers

By    |   Thursday, 05 Mar 2015 05:26 PM

Corporate donors to a green-energy nonprofit operated by a current campaign operative and former staffers for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid have received billions of dollars in federal loan guarantees and grant money as a result of his advocacy, the Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday.

Fulcrum Bioenergy began contributing to the Clean Energy Project (CEP) two years ago. Last year, the Nevada Democrat steered tens of millions of dollars in federal grant money to the California biofuel company.

Fulcrum is one of at least nine CEP corporate donors "that have secured federal financing for themselves or a client due in part to Reid’s behind-the-scenes advocacy," according to the Free Beacon.

Some ethics watchdogs warn that such activity "could be construed as unethical," the website reported.

"Gifts from moneyed interests to politicians' pet charities always merit added scrutiny and concern," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, the Free Beacon reports.

CEP was founded in 2008 by Rebecca Lambe, the senator's top political strategist who has taken the lead in hiring for his 2016 re-election campaign.

Lambe, who also served as CEP's executive director, is now an adviser to that organization.

Along with Susan McCue, Reid's former chief of staff, Lambe runs Senate Majority PAC, which spent $67 million last year in an effort to elect Democrats to the Senate.

Reid’s office boasts about its role in steering subsidies to donors to these groups.

"Senator Reid’s leadership on creating clean energy jobs in Nevada is something we like to talk about at every opportunity and we are glad you have chosen to cover this topic," said Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson.

Jentleson pointed to his office’s 2013 staff report, which described at great length the benefits that green energy companies such as Ormat Geothermal — which Reid helped secure a $350 million loan guarantee – were bringing to Nevada.

A news release on the staff report quoted Lydia Ball, who until February served as CEP’s executive director, touting the benefits of an "aggressive clean energy path for Nevada."

It "didn't mention that Ball is a former Reid aide, that Ormat has donated to her organization, or that the company’s president has donated to Reid," the Free Beacon reported.

While on Reid’s staff, Ball "was in charge of advising Nevada companies on how to obtain financing through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus," the website added.

Fulcrum contributed to CEP in 2013 and 2014. Last year, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack awarded the company a $105 million grant, and it received another $70 million from the Pentagon two weeks later.for the company. The Defense Department awarded it another $70 million two weeks later.

Reid's other efforts on behalf of green energy included a 2010 push for the Department of Energy to speed approval for a $737 million loan guarantee for CEP donor Solar Reserve.

Critics of "crony capitalism" expressed skepticism that the public benefited from these dealings by Reid.

"Of course these businesses viewed their donations as investments," said William Yeatman, an energy policy expert with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Free Beacon reports.

"The entire green energy industry — every bit of it — is dependent on political favoritism," Yeatman added in an email. "And with whom better to curry favor than the Senate Majority Leader — especially during the stimulus era, a period during which oversight was shortchanged for speed of disbursement."

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Corporate donors to a green-energy nonprofit operated by a current campaign operative and former staffers for Sen. Harry Reid have received billions of dollars in federal loan guarantees and grant money as a result of his advocacy, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
harry reid, green, energy, nonprofit, corporate, donors, loan, guarantees, grant, money
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2015-26-05
Thursday, 05 Mar 2015 05:26 PM
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