American Elephants

The Do-Gooders Line Their Own Pockets! by The Elephant's Child

Nearly a year ago, I wrote about Assistant Secretary of Energy Cathy Zoi, who as revealed by disclosure documents, has a huge financial stake in companies likely to profit from the Obama administration’s “green policies.”

She was previously CEO of Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, and left that job to serve as assistant secretary in charge of energy efficiency and renewable energy. It was a remarkable example of graft and crony capitalism. But we’re learning about how well the renewable energy and green jobs sector is doing.  Now, Zoi has announced that she will be leaving her post to go to work for George Soros’ new venture capital firm focused on green energy.

The DOE website says that Zoi “manages over $30 billion of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds” (the Stimulus).  Her new job will have her working to secure “green energy” taxpayer handouts and subsidies.  This is another of Soros’ bright ideas.  By investing hundreds of millions of dollars into advocacy groups that lobby for increased energy subsidies, he now gets to be on the receiving end of all those billions of dollars of subsidies.  Tim Carney, excellent investigative columnist writes:

Zoi’s tenure at EERE was rife with conflicts of interest. Her husband, Robin Roy, is an executive at Serious Materials, a small window manufacturer that boomed when Obama came to office. First, Serious Materials benefited from free advertising by the White House: President Obama praised a new Serious factory in March – before he officially nominated Zoi – and then Vice President Biden made a public visit to a different Serious plant in April, just after her nomination but before her confirmation. Finally, Serious was also the first window company to pocket a stimulus tax credit – worth $584,000 – for investing in new equipment.

Zoi testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in favor of a HOMESTAR program, also known as cash for caulkers, which became another subsidy for Serious.

At the time of her nomination, the couple owned between them 120,000 stock options in Serious Materials, according to her April 2009 personal financial disclosure. She also owned at least $265,000 of stock in a Swiss company called Landis+Gyr that makes “smart meters,” high-tech thermostats that the administration has promoted for saving energy. Pro-free-market writer and lawyer Chris Horner described the conflicts of interest: “Clearly, DoE funding to encourage the adoption of ‘smart meters’ would very likely lead to much increased sales by Landis+Gyr — and a potential windfall for Zoi.”

It is an ugly story of corruption and conflict of interest, cloaked in garments of green that apparently absolve them from any blame. Taxpayers can blame them, but it won’t do any good.  You might remember when the next election comes around.

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