Government Integrity Project

A Cadillac Volt – Are You Kidding Me!?

Akerson and Volt photoAccording to a USA Today report, General Motors has decided to offer a Cadillac version of the Chevy Volt called the Converj. This follows reports that the Obama Administration will continue to hold its stake in GM. That makes sense, since a decision to build a Cadillac version of the Volt could not be based on economic considerations, but political ones.

Watchdogs Agree: Waters Case Shows Ethics Process is Broken

Maxine Waters photoCarol Leonnig of the Washington Post writes today that the House Ethics Committee is planning to spend $500,000 for an investigation of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), and the Committee's own staff.

Last month, the Committee announced the hiring of Billy Martin to review the actions of the Committee's staff that were cited as a reason to push the Waters trial beyond last November's elections. Martin would then proceed to investigate the Waters matter if he determines that the staff's previous conduct was not sufficiently prejudicial to dismiss the case, as she has requested.

Duke Energy Can Burn Forests for ‘Green’ Credits

forest fire photoIt’s (once again) the law of unintended consequences for Green groups: In order to fulfill a 2007 state mandate that they derive 12.5 percent of electricity from so-called “renewable” sources, a North Carolina appeals court has ruled that Duke Energy – which will soon be more or less the only investor-owned utility in the Tar Heel state – may burn whole trees to comply with the regulation.

General Motors to Remain Government Motors?

Geithner photoAccording to a WSJ report, "people familiar with the situation" said on Tuesday that the Obama Administration has put on hold its decision to sell the taxpayers' stake in General Motors. The article also states that "Treasury officials had anticipated GM's share price would increase following its public stock offering last November at $33 a share." It would seem that Treasury anticipated wrong.

Bigger Role Seen for CEO James Rogers in Duke Energy Scandal

Jim Rogers photoDuke Energy’s business approach has been to reap favors, tax breaks and advantages by virtue of its cozy relationship with government, with benefits that have redounded to them in the form of subsidies, tax shelters, government grants and mandates for wind farms (despite its failure to provide energy on a broad scale, even though it has been around forever) and other unproven cockamamie ideas.

Ethics Committee to Probe Fraudster's Loan to Meeks

Meeks photoOn August 5, the House Ethics Committee announced that it has accepted a recommendation by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to "further review an allegation that Representative (Gregory) Meeks failed to disclose a payment he received in 2007 in a timely manner."

The payment was an unsecured $40,000 "loan" from Edul Ahmad, a Guyanese businessman who was last month arrested in a massive mortgage-fraud scheme. On July 22, the FBI reportedly removed Ahmad in handcuffs from a Guyana-bound aircraft on the tarmac at JFK International Airport.

GM’s 'Crown Jewel' Losing Luster as China Sales Fall

A few months back General Motors CEO, Dan Akerson, made claims that future profits at GM would be driven by China sales and the Chevy Volt. It has become apparent that the Volt is a non-issue, so let's take a look at the performance of what Akerson described as the "crown jewel" of GM.

China sales in July for GM actually fell 1.8% year over year. GM and its "joint ventures" sold 173,398 vehicles in China for the month of July. Of this number, 77,944 units were sold by SAIC-GM-Wuling. It is another overlooked half-truth by GM that they count these as GM sales, even though GM is a minority owner of the division.

Taxpayers To Get Hosed as GM Shares Hit New Low

Today's drop in GM's share price to a new low represents a one-day, half-billion dollar loss for taxpayers. From the time that Treasury could first file to sell the taxpayers' stake in GM, the losses have reached about 2.5 billion dollars. Of course the total cost of the bailout was well above this, but the Obama Administration does not seem to want to cut its losses.

GM announced earnings this morning and the numbers appeared to be good on the surface. Media friends of GM trumpeted the good news but the celebration did not last long. The festive mood was replaced with GM apologists trying to explain the negative share price reaction.

Taxpayers Get Hosed on Duke Energy's Wind Farm Buying Spree

Jim Rogers photoDuke Energy, along with General Electric and General Motors, are three of the major companies that are often criticized for their rent-seeking ways by free-market minded people, because their corporate earnings focus seems to depend more on subsidies and tax breaks from government rather than sales of their products. That all three support cap-and-trade policies (although it appears GM has left the US Climate Action Partnership) – as long as the gaming of the credit-trading system falls in their favor – is one example of this.

GM Confirms Slow Chevy Volt Sales

Chevy Volt photoSales of the much-hyped Chevy Volt fell to new lows as did GM share price as July auto sales figures came in. Only 125 Volts were sold during the month of July. Recent reports attributed the slump to supply constraints as GM spokeswoman, Michelle Bunker, was quoted as saying that the Volt was "virtually sold out" and only a "few" were available nationwide. I have confirmed that this statement is not entirely truthful and have gotten clarification from GM through Director of Communications, Greg Martin.

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