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Assistant Treasury Secretary Herbert Allison testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 4, 2010, before the Congressional Oversight Panel hearing on the Troubled Assets Relief program (TARP).   (AP  Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) Assistant Treasury Secretary Herbert Allison testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 4, 2010, before the Congressional Oversight Panel hearing on the Troubled Assets Relief program (TARP). (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)  

Green energy loans ‘independent reviewer’ donates thousands to Obama

The official responsible for conducting an independent review that exonerated the Obama administration’s green energy loans donated a total of $52,500 to to the president’s re-election campaign, The Associated Press reported.

In March, Herbert M. Allison Jr. gave congressional testimony which downplayed concerns that the Department of Energy’s $23 billion in loans to green energy companies were high risk. Merely two weeks later, he began to donate to the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

On March 29 of this year, Allison gave $2,500 to the Obama campaign, and in May he gave another $15,000 to the Obama victory fund, which supports the president’s  campaign and the DNC.

In June he gave another $15,000 to the victory fund, and in July he gave $20,000 more.

Allison also gave $2300 to Obama’s 2008 campaign, a year before he was appointed by Obama to be assistant treasury secretary.

Allison has donated to both parties in the past, and the AP reports his past donations to presidential campaigns have favored Republicans.

Republicans nevertheless say Allison’s donations raise questions about the objectivity of his review, in particular his decision not to assess the multi-million dollar loans to two green energy firms that eventually went bankrupt — Solyndra and Beacon Power.

In an interview with the AP, Allison said he made the decision to back Obama after he finished his work on the DOE’s loan guarantees to “ensure there was no hint of bias or conflict of interest.”

He decided to support Obama after he saw “his administration in action and decided that I believe broadly in the things he’s trying to accomplish.”

“I was on the record with the White House that this had to be completely independent review and they agreed,” he told the AP. “It didn’t hew to anybody’s political suasion, I think, and it had to be fully factual or it wouldn’t be credible.”

The White House and the Obama campaign have also come to Allison’s defense.

“Mr. Allison was selected to do this study because of his relevant expertise and he is a public servant widely respected by Democrats and Republicans alike,” said Eric Schultz, a White House spokesman, adding that Allison’s “analysis of the DOE loan portfolio was thorough and reliable as evident by additional independent reports affirming his findings.”

The Obama campaign said, “Having completed an independent assignment does not cost him his right to continue participating in the political progress on behalf of many candidates, as he has in the past.”

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