The overseer of the Obama administration’s controversial green energy loan program was extremely eager to help out former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, according to leaked emails.
The former Department of Energy green loans head also pitched Clinton campaign chair John Podesta on investing in an “angel investing group” that focused on green energy companies, according to emails published online by WikiLeaks from Podesta’s hacked Gmail account.
Jonathan Silver resigned from his position as head of DOE’s green loans program in late 2011 after news broke that his office had given $535 million in taxpayer-backed loans to the failed solar company, Solyndra.
But his resignation apparently didn’t dim his hopes for green energy subsidies. Silver sent Podesta several emails throughout 2015 about helping the Clinton campaign on its green energy platform.
“I would love to be helpful to the campaign on energy issues, if that would be helpful,” Silver wrote to Podesta on May 19, 2015. “The DOE loan portfolio is now on track to make 5 billion in profit and I am meeting regularly with, and doing business with, many of the leaders of the clean economy.”
“What can I do to be helpful?” Silver wrote. “Would be pleased to build an energy working group, a clean energy leaders for Clinton, serve as a surrogate for the candidate at appropriate events, whatever would be useful.”
“Let’s talk. Around over the weekend?” Podesta responded.
Silver emailed Podesta about a month later, this time sending over an “organizing document for what I’ve called Clean Economy Professionals for Clinton, which you asked me to pull together.” Silver emailed again to ask Podesta if he wanted to launch the pro-Clinton energy group at a wind industry meeting for her campaign in Chicago taking place that summer.
“This might be a good place to kick off the Clean Energy professionals for Clinton effort I outlined in my memo,” Silver wrote. “Let me know if you want to discuss.”
Silver emailed again later that month asking Podesta if he’d seen “earlier emails about the outreach strategy.” Podesta said the documents sent by Silver were being kicked around internally, but hadn’t really gone anywhere since the campaign chair was in China.
“We’ve been kicking this around inside,” Podesta wrote back in June 2015. I was in China which slowed things down. We’ll get back this week.”
Silver wasn’t done yet. He emailed Podesta after Clinton gave a green power speech in July to inquire again about creating a pro-Clinton green energy group.
“Could use an email blast to get the text into clean energy supporters’ hands,” Silver wrote. “Any update on thoughts on organizing the sector?”
Silver may have gotten fed up with waiting for Podesta to respond to him because the former DOE official said he was going to go ahead and start the pro-Clinton energy group.
“I am going to start a Clean Economy Executives for Hillary group. Anything you specifically do or don’t want me to do as I get it organized?” Silver wrote to Podesta in October 2015.
It’s not clear if the Clinton campaign took any of Silver’s advice, and if Silver did create a pro-Clinton energy group, they literally have no internet presence.
On another note, Silver included Podesta in a group of people he pitched on creating an “angel investing group focused on investments in the clean economy.”
“I have no hard and fast framework or objectives for this and don’t really want/intend to run the show. If there is some interest, we could get together to discuss how something like this might work,” Silver wrote in a March 2016 email.
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