Obama Steered Tens of Millions to Green Energy Cronies.
Obama’s administration played favorites on clean-energy loans while improperly blocking a carmaker and a related technology company from receiving millions in aid, according to two lawsuits. XP Vehicles and Limnia filed complaints against the U.S. and the Energy Department today in two federal courts in Washington, seeking damages for what they say were abuses of the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program. XP Vehicles, which has dissolved, and Limnia are asking for $450 million in a case filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and at least $225 million in U.S. District Court.
“Defendants used the ATVM loan program as nothing more than a veil to steer hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to government cronies.” Multiple investigations spanning almost two years and involving millions of pages of documents show that decisions made on the department’s loan program were made solely on the merits after careful review by the department’s technical experts.” XP Vehicles, or XPV, said it applied in 2008 for a $40 million loan in an effort to mass produce an SUV-style electronic vehicle with doors and other parts made from foam. The starting price for the vehicle was to be less than $20,000.
In May 2009, XPV said it discovered that two of its competitors — Tesla Motors and Fisker Automotive — were receiving special assistance from agency staff with the loan application process. One member of Tesla’s board at the time was Steven Westly, a campaign contributions bundler for Obama, while Fisker’s investors included Obama donors, according to the complaint.
Tesla received a $465 million loan in June 2009 with an interest rate of 1.6 percent, according to the complaint. XPV called one of Tesla’s products “an expensive electric car targeted at rich actors, journalists and businessmen, not average Americans.”
Fisker received a $528.7 million loan. The department in May 2011 blocked Fisker from receiving the bulk of the loan, after the company didn’t meet milestones for producing its first model. Limnia is also challenging applications for loans it sought that were denied. The Energy Department has made five loans under the advanced-vehicles program — none since the 2011 bankruptcy of Solyndra — and $16 billion remains undistributed.