December 9, 2010

Powerful Democrats Help Chinese Energy Firm Chase U.S. Stimulus Money!!! Sen. Reid And Obama Donors Back Company Seeking $450 Million In U.S. Money! O-M-G! >:/

MSNBC news
written by Russ Choma
Thursday December 9, 2010 at 3:14am pst

WASHINGTON — Top Democratic fundraisers and lobbyists with links to the White House are behind a proposed wind farm in Texas that stands to get $450 million in stimulus money, even though a Chinese company would operate the farm and its turbines would be built in China.

The farm’s backers also have close ties with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who, at the height of his hard-fought re-election bid this fall, helped blunt congressional criticism over stimulus dollars possibly going to create jobs in China by endorsing a proposal by the Chinese company to build a factory in his home state. Although his campaign received thousands of dollars in donations from the wind farm’s backers and Reid stood on stage with them at a campaign event they hosted, his office declined to answer any questions about the wind farm’s organizers or their plans for Nevada.

The wind farm, first announced more than a year ago, would consist of 300 2-megawatt wind turbines, each perched atop a 26-story-tall steel tower and spinning three blades — each half the length of a football field. The farm would span three counties and 36,000 acres in West Texas land best known for its oil. Dubbed the Spinning Star wind farm, the project’s 600-megawatt capacity is, theoretically, enough to power 180,000 American homes and would be the sixth-largest wind farm in the country.

It is being planned by an unusual joint partnership between the U.S. Renewable Energy Group, a Dallas investment firm with strong ties to Washington and the Democratic Party, and A-Power Energy Generation Systems, an upstart Chinese supplier of wind turbines. Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicate the Chinese are bringing financing and the turbines.

What the Americans are supplying is the local know-how and political clout in Washington, where decisions on how to distribute billions in loan guarantees, stimulus grants and financial incentives are made.

The clock is ticking for Spinning Star: To claim the stimulus grant it must arrange its financing and begin work on the wind farm by Dec. 31. Besides the $450 million stimulus grant, A-Power’s SEC filings indicate the joint-venture also will pursue a Department of Energy-backed loan guarantee. According to the SEC filings, the project is waiting to hear if it will receive the loan guarantee before financing will follow to build the turbines.

Powerful donors to Democrats
The investment group’s public face is often Cappy McGarr, a wealthy Texas philanthropist, investor and longtime fixture in Democratic politics, who has given heavily to Democratic candidates across the country and was an early backer of President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Joining McGarr in Dallas is Ed Cunningham, a former executive for several large Western entertainment companies in China, a 2002 Democratic senatorial candidate and a former member of Obama’s national finance committee.

Obama White House won't answer questions
Liz Oxhorn, a White House spokesperson for the Recovery Act, declined to answer questions about what was discussed during that meeting or any other — including whether Rouse and other White House officials know about the Spinning Star project or were asked to intervene on its behalf.

“Competitive Recovery Act funds are only awarded by experts at federal agencies following an internal merit-based review process,” she said in an e-mail, denying the White House had intervened in the process to award a loan guarantee.

Patrick Dorton, a spokesperson for U.S. Renewable Energy Group, the U.S. partner in the windmill project, said neither McGarr nor any other member of the group ever asked the White House to intervene on behalf of their project.

“US-REG has not asked any official in any branch of government to advocate on behalf of their project in the DOE loan guarantee process,” Dorton said. “This is a project that stands on its own merits.”


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