Department of Labor officials these past several years haven’t been shy about conveying their political preferences to their own labor force. An ongoing Capitol Hill probe has found out as much. Late last month the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released a report concluding that the Obama-era department has spent at least $725,000 on elevator posters, publicity contests and other forms of advocacy intended to boost employee morale. Most, if not all, of this motivational agitprop was the doing of first-term Secretary Hilda Solis. Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., a longtime critic, noted: “This questionable activity has been going on for some time. As my staff has learned, in 2009 DOL began producing weekly elevator posters for the 23 passenger elevators at DOL’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.” Tax-funded ideology marches on.
It is the nature of any government agency, in ways overt and subtle, to advertise its own necessity …
Taxpayer stimulus waster A123 Systems has not only declared financial bankruptcy – its executives also seem to be driving toward moral bankruptcy as well.
CEO David Vieau and his lieutenants, after receiving well over $279 million in Recovery Act funds and at least $135 million from Michigan taxpayers, have run the company into the ground. Yet they have asked a bankruptcy court judge for his blessing to receive up to $4.2 million in executive and retention bonuses to see through the company’s takeover, likely by Johnson Controls.
NLPC detailed the self-serving nature of A123’s leadership in February. At the time A123 had laid off 125 employees in November at its two plants in Livonia and Romulus, Mich. Company officials said diminished production by A123’s top customer, Fisker Automotive, led to the cutbacks. A123 had expected to deliver batteries for 7,000 plug-in hybrid Fisker Karma models, but faulty wire harnesses …
Last week NLPC reported that an international law firm, whose employees provided significant campaign support for President Obama, was paid $1.8 million from the stimulus to review and conduct “due diligence” for the Department of Energy’s suspended loan to Fisker Automotive, an electric vehicle start-up company. Fisker sent 65 workers to the unemployment lines.
Debevoise and Plimpton, which employs top Obama bundler and fundraiser David Rivkin, wasn’t the only largely Democratic law firm to reap such rewards. At least four other major law practices also analyzed DOE’s loan programs and its grantees – three of which gave large sums of money to the campaigns of President Obama and fellow Democrats.
Debevoise, on the heels of $199,944 in donations to Sen. Barack Obama for his 2008 presidential campaign, was able to land the contract to analyze loans from DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program to troubled …
The taxpayer-funded ($279 million) battery supplier that gave big raises and parachutes to its executives shortly after it cut “Green jobs” at its Michigan factories, reported last week it would suffer big losses again for 2011.
A123 Systems, whose fortunes were entwined with those of electric vehicle startup manufacturer Fisker Automotive, also announced it would look to China and India in order to survive.
A123 also received grants and tax credits from Michigan that could total more than $135 million.
The company said it would realize a loss of $257.7 million for last year, compared to the $152.6 million in losses for 2010. A123, which received a $249.1 million grant from the Department of Energy to refurbish plants in Livonia and Romulus, Mich. (plus another $30 million sub-grant for another energy storage project), has never been profitable.
A123 is an investor in Fisker, which had its own $529 …
After luxury electric automaker Fisker announced 65 layoffs and a work stoppage from the refurbishment of a former General Motors plant in Delaware earlier this week, NLPC wondered whether its battery supplier and business partner A123 Systems would be harmed also.
Now Wall Street analysts are wondering the same thing, and the beleaguered lenders at the Department of Energy must be deeply concerned about what they will do next. As Forbes reported yesterday, the close ties between the two speculative companies could produce “two Solyndras for the price of one.”
To recap, Fisker is the California company that was awarded a $529 million loan from the Recovery Act, in addition to $9 million from the state of Delaware and $850 million it has raised privately. After it received $193 million from the loan through May 2011, DOE halted payouts because Fisker failed to attain milestones in the delivery …
The Department of Energy announced on Friday it would not complete a low-interest, $730 million loan to Severstal North America, after it had given the company a conditional commitment in July under its Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program.
DOE gave no reason for its disapproval of the loan, but it had come under scrutiny about its judgment after the collapse of solar company Solyndra, which was lent $535 million in taxpayer dollars. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa called upon Energy Secretary Stephen Chu to revisit the Severstal project – which would modernize its facility in Dearborn, Mich. to produce so-called advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) – because the company “had ample means to carry out the project” and had “apparently no need for federal financing,” among other reasons. Severstal N.A. is a wholly owned subsidiary of OAO Severstal, owned by Russian tycoon Alexei Mordashov (in …
It appears that four current members of the United States House of Representatives received loans via the VIP program of Countrywide Financial Corporation. Once again the motives of the former giant mortgage institution have been brought into question. Where they trying to peddle influence with these loans?
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and he has been investigating the VIP program for a number years. Issa reportedly learned about the four loans after issuing a subpoena to Bank of America. Countrywide was purchased by Bank of America in 2008 and was at the forefront of the financial crisis that came to a head that year. At one point Countrywide was the nation’s largest mortgage lender.
In 2009 the Security and Exchange Commission brought a fraud suit against a number of former executives of Countrywide including its former chief executive Angelo Mozilo. …
When Boeing Co. two years ago announced plans to open a plant in South Carolina to assemble many of its 787 Dreamliner commercial jets, the decision triggered an outcry by the International Association of Machinists. The IAM’s unofficial partner, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), filed a complaint against the company this April to block its opening of the facility, located in a Right to Work state. Last Friday, December 9, the board dropped its action. With the plant up and running for a half year, Boeing won a “victory” — so says CNN. Or did it? The union, with an able assist from the NLRB, in fact, already had realized its desire to intimidate companies out of relocating or expanding in a Right to Work state by finalizing a favorable contract extension with Boeing only days earlier.
This side of Wisconsin, it would be difficult to find a labor issue dominating the …
Under extremely unusual circumstances, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently granted a company called LightSquared the right to use wireless spectrum to build out a national 4G wireless network. LightSquared will get the spectrum for a song, while its competitors have to spend billions.
Although the technical implications of the FCC action are complicated, how it came about is not. LightSquared is owned by the Harbinger Capital hedge fund, headed by billionaire investor Phil Falcone, in photo. Falcone visited the White House and made large donations to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
When established regulations and procedures are circumvented for political reasons, the result is often unintended consequences. When the Obama FCC appointees did the favor for Falcone, they probably had no idea that they might be creating severe technical problems for other users of wireless spectrum.
Now the Global Positioning System (GPS) industry is up in arms. According to …
Today we asked the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to investigate actions by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that benefitted Harbinger Capital Partners after its founder Phil Falcone (at right) made large contributions to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
As we describe in the letter to the Committee’s ranking members, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NJ):
The plan centered around first securing FCC approval for Harbinger’s acquisition of SkyTerra, then getting the FCC to “fast-track” approval for Harbinger to take advantage of a little-known spectrum loophole for satellite licenses.
That loophole allowed Falcone’s new company, called LightSquared, to receive spectrum for free, while competitors have to pay billions of dollars. Our letter details this arrangement, and Falcone’s efforts to make it happen. The full text appears below. Click here to download a 7-page pdf.
FULL TEXT OF LETTER:
Dear Chairman Issa and Congressman Towns: