President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, physicist Ernest Moniz, would if confirmed be the head of a department that has been the center of a green energy loan controversy that has drawn intense criticisms for its high-profile failures and allegations of cronyism.
During former Secretary Chu’s tenure, the Energy Department became been the subject of controversy over green energy loan guarantees which critics say were handed out to companies based on political considerations rather than economic ones.
“The green energy loan program was essentially a recycling program designed to send taxpayer dollars to the administrations financial supporters,” Peter Schweizer, author and Hoover Institution research fellow, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Schweizer reported in his book that more than 70 percent of DOE loans went to Democratic donors, and that the loan program might be “the greatest — and most expensive — example of crony capitalism in American history.”
The Obama administration has continually rebuffed claims that politics played a role in issuing $34.5 billion in government-backed loan guarantees.
“I am aware of no communication from White House to Department of Energy saying to make the loan or to restructure,” former Energy Secretary Chu testified before Congress.
“And these are decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics,” President Obama told KUSA’s Kyle Clark last year. (RELATED VIDEO: Local news anchor grills Obama)
However, the watchdog group Cause of Action found that 95 percent of Department of Energy loan recipients with less than $1 billion in annual revenues made political donations to both political parties, while only 32 percent of the companies that didn’t receive loan guarantees made political donations.