11 Jan 2011 Obama’s Jobs Panel’s Recommendations Infested by Conflicts of Interest
Panel Wants More Government Spending on Clean Energy that Will Benefit GE’s Jeff Immelt and Other Jobs Panel Board Members
Crony Capitalism is Not an Economic Plan, says National Center for Public Policy Research
Washington, D.C. – Reacting to the recommendation by President Obama’s jobs panel, chaired by GE CEO Jeff Immelt, that additional federal funds be dedicated to clean energy development, today policy experts from the National Center for Public Policy Research are calling attention to the conflicts of interest surrounding this advice.
“Immelt’s recommending more money for clean energy is a clear conflict of interest. GE has significant investments in solar panels and wind turbines and Immelt needs government backing to profit from his company’s investment in renewable energy. This is an outrageous example of crony capitalism at work,” said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project.
The interim report, “Taking Action, Building Confidence,” by the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, makes five recommendations to spur job growth. The first initiative, “Invest Aggressively and Efficiently in Cutting-Edge Infrastructure and Energy,” calls for government support to improve the country’s energy infrastructure and a new federal financing institution funded with $1 to $2 billion per year to amplify clean energy investments.
“The Solyndra scandal proves the federal government can’t successfully function as a venture capital company, yet faced with this glaring failure, Immelt doubles down on this flawed strategy. Immelt’s arrogant disregard of the public’s anger over crony capitalism and the Solyndra bankruptcy is shocking,” added Tom Borelli.
In addition to Immelt, other members of the jobs panel can profit from its recommendation on clean energy. Billionaire venture capitalist John Doerr’s firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in green energy and Lewis Hay, Chairman & CEO of NextEra Energy, has also invested in renewable energy.
GE, NextEra Energy and start-up companies invested in by Doerr’s firm have already received hundreds of millions of dollars from President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus plan.
“The self-dealing of Obama’s jobs panel members is just shocking. With millions of hardworking American families suffering from our nation’s high unemployment rate and slow economic growth Obama’s circle of business elite recommend plans to help themselves,” said Deneen Borelli, fellow full-time fellow of the National Center-sponsored African-American leadership group Project 21.
“Obama’s economic stimulus plan invested billions in clean energy and this strategy failed to generate meaningful job growth. Immelt’s recommendations are really a bailout for the jobs panel members who made bad bets on clean energy. Now is the time to stop the crony capitalism madness. Our country can’t afford to waste any more money on the next Solyndra’s,” said Deneen Borelli.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank with over 100,000 recent supporters. Its 2010 revenue exceeded $12 million. Only about one percent of its contributions come from corporate sources. Contributions to it are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.