RNC calls for transparency on ‘political payoffs’ to Obama bundler Steve Westly

Stephen Elliott Contributor
Font Size:

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus released a statement Wednesday calling on the Obama administration to come clean on “political payoffs to Obama campaign bundler Steve Westly.”

The statement claims the Energy Department gave out millions of dollars in loans to companies backed by Westly, Obama For America’s California co-chair in 2008 and managing partner at The Westly Group, an environmental venture capital firm.

Westley has raised more than $1 million for the Obama campaign.

Because of Westly’s service on the Energy Secretary’s Advisory Board, the RNC is calling for “’the most transparent administration ever’ to come clean” and release the conflict of interest review on Westly.

Priebus said, “It reeks of crony capitalism, and the American taxpayers deserve answers.”

When the RNC approached Westly about releasing the conflict of interest report, he said, “Things are a bit busy for me” with planning upcoming fundraising events for Valerie Jarrett and Jim Messina.

In a press event Wednesday, Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Republican National Committee Deputy Communications Director Tim Miller decried “crony capitalism” in the Obama administration.

Miller claimed Westly has taken “advantage of billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies” from the Energy Department he helps advise.

Blackburn, vice-chair of the Subcommittee of Oversight and Investigations for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said they are “trying to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”

Blackburn said the “American people are just so ill and fatigued with seeing taxpayer dollars going to those that are supporters and involved with the administration and may be in the framework of conflict of interest.”

Blackburn believes that future administrations need to “make sure vetting is consistent” in order to prevent possible conflict of interest violations from occurring.

When asked about Mitt Romney’s transparency when it comes to bundlers raising money for his campaign, Blackburn responded, “All the paperwork is filled out on the people raising money for him.”

In 2010, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Blackburn as one of 26 most corrupt members of Congress for “repeated failure to properly report campaign receipts and expenditures, including payments made to a family-owned business.”

A representative for Steve Westly did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Follow Stephen on Twitter