I'd add the obligatory "surprise!" to the headline, but after the Solyndra debacle -- which our perfect president doesn't regret, mind you -- is anyone the least bit shocked by this Washington Post report?
Sanjay Wagle was a venture capitalist and Barack Obama fundraiser in 2008, rallying support through a group he headed known as Clean Tech for Obama. Shortly after Obama’s election, he left his California firm to join the Energy Department, just as the administration embarked on a massive program to stimulate the economy with federal investments in clean-technology firms. Following an enduring Washington tradition, Wagle shifted from the private sector, where his firm hoped to profit from federal investments, to an insider’s seat in the administration’s $80 billion clean-energy investment program.
He was one of several players in venture capital, which was providing financial backing to start-up clean-tech companies, who moved into the Energy Department at a time when the agency was seeking outside expertise in the field. At the same time, their industry had a huge stake in decisions about which companies would receive government loans, grants and support. During the next three years, the department provided $2.4 billion in public funding to clean-energy companies in which Wagle’s former firm, Vantage Point Venture Partners, had invested, a Washington Post analysis found. Overall, the Post found that $3.9 billion in federal grants and financing flowed to 21 companies backed by firms with connections to five Obama administration staffers and advisers.
If Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee for president -- which seems like less of a lock than it did even two weeks ago -- Democrats will make a giant hoopla over his "vulture captialism." Romney's brand of capitalism involved private investors, new private companies started, and struggling companies reinvigorated. It resulted, overwhelmingly, in success: Robust return on investments (for investors that included such greedy robber barrons as...public pension funds), tens of thousands of net jobs created (although checkered by a few flops), and, yes, profits. Barack Obama's vulture crony socialism abused taxpayer money to help out his buddies and political donors. It resulted in fraud, billions of dollars down the drain, and thousands of jobs lost. In other words, failure, and not just at Solyndra, but at the eleven "new Solyndras" recently discovered by CBS News. Even the "successful" investments have failed to live up to Obama's ludicrously sunny promises. As he and his allies assail Mitt Romney, keep their respective records in mind -- and remember these examples when Obama falsely claims that his 2009 stimulus boondoggle was a "success" that merits a second go-round. This isn't a hypothetical. Stimulus 2.0 is embedded in his catastrophic new budget.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography