A new report indicates that the Obama administration handed over half-a-million dollars to their media partners at MSNBC in 2009.
The funds were part of the taxpayer funded stimulus, and served to run commercials during the Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann shows, meant to recruit young liberals for the President’s failed ‘green jobs’ program.
The Labor Department paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal stimulus funds to a public relations firm to run more than 100 commercials touting the Obama administration’s “green training” job efforts on two MSNBC cable shows, records show.
The commercials ran on MSNBC on shows hosted by Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann in 2009, but the contract didn’t report any jobs created, according to records reviewed recently by The Washington Times.
Spending reports under the federal Recovery Act show $495,000 paid to McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations LLC, which the Labor Department hired to raise awareness “among employers and influencers about the [Job Corps] program’s existing and new training initiatives in high growth and environmentally friendly career areas” as well as spreading the word to prospective Job Corps enrollees.
The administration claims that the decision had nothing to do with politics, but it certainly blurs the line of distinction between the main stream media and government. Is it any wonder Rush refers to it as the “State-run media”?
The Republican National Committee today released an e-mail from Solyndra CEO Chris Gronet from 2009, labeling the Obama administration as “The Bank of Washington” and boasting of several ways in which the company could exploit federal programs and tax breaks in order to keep the soon-to-be-doomed company afloat.
The opening of the e-mail reads:
The Bank of Washington continues to help us!
The rest of the e-mail (seen below) suggests ways to gather money from federal and state governments, and sounds eerily similar to a presentation given by Washington lobbyist Matthew Chiller. Chiller was employed by a company named CH2M Hill, and gave their employees a PowerPoint presentation on how to secure state and federal funding. The presentation provided employees with advice on congressional earmarks, and gave pointers on how to “work the earmark politically.”
What is the significance of the Solyndra/CH2M Hill relationship? My report last year outlined how CH2M Hill received nearly $10 million in stimulus funding to design Solyndra’s Fremont, California plant – a plant that exceeded $733 million just to build, and featured such amenities as Disney tune-whistling robots and elaborate spa showers for employees. Here is an excerpt from that report:
Within the $535 million loan to Solyndra were a number of sub-awards to other vendors, 40 payments of which were greater than $25,000 each. The largest sub-award went to CH2M HILL, to the tune of $9.6 million for their construction engineering services. CH2M used the nearly $10 million sub-award to design Solyndra’s solar manufacturing plant in Fremont, California.
John Corsi, the company’s Vice President of Media and Public Relations explains, “CH2M HILL performed some design services and helped with a technical engineering report.”
When asked about the price tag, Corsi stated that, “Our rates were consistent with market rates for similar work.”
He added, “This work was secured through an open, competitive, and transparent procurement process,” a contradiction to the aforementioned Washington Post report which stated that consulting firms had essentially shaped and awarded themselves pieces of the stimulus.
With millions of dollars having been secured, CH2M clearly outdid themselves on the Solyndra project, building a facility the likes that had never been seen before in the heart of Silicon Valley. The facility covers 300,000 square feet, ran a price tag of $733 million, and was equated by some to the Taj Mahal. Bloomberg News reported on some of the extravagant amenities—amenities which might surprise for a company using taxpayer funds to maintain operations.
“It wasn’t just any factory. When it was completed at an estimated cost of $733 million, including proceeds from a $535 million U.S. loan guarantee, it covered 300,000 square feet, the equivalent of five football fields. It had robots that whistled Disney tunes, spa-like showers with liquid-crystal displays of the water temperature, and glass-walled conference rooms.”
All on your dime.
While the company deflected any specific questions about building design, Corsi did state that, “The client (Solyndra) made all decisions regarding the final design specs.”
He added, “Any vetting of the relative merits of the project are the responsibility of the government.”
Another company that assisted CH2M Hill in the design of the Solyndra facility also declined comment. Erik Sueberkrop, of Studios Architecture, was on the design team for the manufacturing and office facility in Fremont, California. He stated only, “As I am not at liberty to discuss, there is no comment at this time.” The Studios website meanwhile, has scrubbed detailed links to the facility’s architecture, interior, and planning links.
While the building remained a feat of engineering, neither company saw fit to take credit now that the Solyndra scandal has broken. Each declined comment when asked to provide images or blueprints of the facility, and ignored a request to provide expense reports for the use of their stimulus money on the Solyndra project.
It would appear that both Solyndra and CH2M Hill executives did indeed work the earmark politically, and the “Bank of Washington” was more than willing to oblige.
In the wake of several Energy Department scandals it is important to analyze how taxpayer funded projects have developed, and what mistakes were made along the way. It is not a time to rush infrastructure funding in the hopes that temporary jobs will be created in an election year; it is a time to analyze where the funding is going, who is responsible for spending it, and how they will be held accountable for their actions. It is not a time to blindly grant multi-million dollar loans to companies that administration officials know will fail; it is a time to scrutinize the potential use of every dollar so they are not wasted. It is not a time for crony capitalism, but rather a time for competent capitalism.
Perhaps the case of Solyndra will serve to remind our government of a commitment to be responsible and restrained with the American people’s money.
Union Bosses Admit Green Jobs Program is Bulls***, Then Help Get Taxpayer Money For Business Designed Solely to Dig Holes and Fill Them Back In
James O’Keefe has released a new video from his Project Veritas website which shows union bosses confessing that the Green Jobs, Green New York program is ‘a lot of bulls***’.
Green Jobs – Green New York is a statewide program aimed at “promoting energy efficiency and installing clean technologies to reduce energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.
The program was created under former Governor David Patterson, and was funded using money that some would consider a scam in the first place – $112 million acquired by auctioning carbon emission credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
One union boss seen in the video below is John Hutchings, director of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) New York State Laborers’ Organizing Fund (NYSLOF).
“You know, the Green Jobs, Green New York, between us, a lot of it is bullshit… even if it’s bullshit, I think as long as people are working, that’s not bull, you know what I mean?”
Hutchings and other union members then try to demonstrate their expertise in the field of bulls*** businesses, when they try to help the individuals in the investigative video get taxpayer money for a fictitious and wholly useless business.
Here is a description of that business:
First, our excavation specialists insert their shovels into the ground and remove the soil. This presents the problem of an existing hole in the earth, creating a dangerous situation that could lead to hazards, including but not limited to tripping, falling, and bodily injuries.
Then there is the renewal process. At Earth Supply, we train professional backfillers to renew the soil in place of the existing hole, restoring the earth to its original condition.
Some folks say we’re just digging ditches and filling them back up again. But it’s about more than that. It’s about jobs.
They’ve created a business that digs holes and then fills them back in. And when they ask local union bosses to move subsidies through legislatures for that type of company, the unions are more than willing to lend a hand.
The justification? The fake company has created new union members.
What’s more is that these union people essentially admit to having no concern about wasting taxpayer money on the project.
One business manager for the local AFL-CIO branch compares the dead end hole-digging enterprise to a program run under FDR in the ’30s.
“They dug the roads up, put ‘em back!” says an animated Tocci.
Says Tocci, “You just wanna get the money. Then you figure out afterward.”
To pressure legislators into going along with the union scheme, the group intends to use well-placed lobbying firms that will make the claim that the fictitious company will create jobs, and provide more union laborers who will receive union benefits. These firms will lobby both Democrat and Republican politicians, and are very tight with Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
Just another example of taxpayer money being wasted at the disposal of unions in New York State.
Romney Senior Adviser, Ed Gillespie, recently appeared on CNN’s State of the Union to explain how the economy works under President Obama (video below).
Essentially, the President’s friends and political supporters get green jobs and greenbacks, while the middle class is left holding onto items of a different color – pink slips.
“Exactly. What they’re seeing is if you’re a political donor to Barack Obama, you’re going to do fine because you’re going to get a payoff. If you’re a middle class worker, you’re in jeopardy, you’re facing a layoff. That’s the kind of economy we’re seeing with President Obama. His buddies do well, political supporters do well, they get green jobs, money, and they get stimulus dollars. If you’re a middle class worker, you’re struggling right now and Mitt Romney can make things better for you and he has a plan to do and that’s what we’re talking about while President Obama is trying to talk about everything but.”
Just curious, if you or someone you know is struggling to find work, how does a statement like this make you feel? It certainly provides a significant look into the mind of a Democrat who is perfectly fine with killing 20,000 jobs in the name of some perceived and unrealistic environmental threat.
From the Hill:
Chicago Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) drew fire from Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) on Wednesday when she dismissed the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, suggesting the 20,000 jobs it could create were relatively insignificant in the scheme of the greater economy.
“Twenty thousand jobs is really not that many jobs, and investing in green technologies will produce that and more,” she said on Chicago’s WLS Radio Don Wade and Roma Show on Wednesday morning. “But I’ll tell you what, you know it seems to me that the Republicans would rather have an issue than a pipeline.”
“Tell that to the 20,000 people that woke up this morning and didn’t have a job to go to,” said Coats. “ ‘Well, these don’t really matter’ — I mean, this not only is jobs, this is less dependence on Middle East oil.”
Investing in the green jobs boondoggle will create that and more? Not sure the unemployed at Solyndra or CH2M Hill would agree.
Green energy investment has been such an overwhelming success that the unemployment rate has increased since Obama’s stimulus plan took hold, and there are now 2,000,000 fewer jobs in the U.S. today.
Is that a lot of jobs?