Thursday, August 23, 2012

'The President's Utility' — Chicago Energy Behemoth Exelon Corporation Scored $200 Million in Stimulus Funds, and Holder's Justice Dept. Approved Exelon's $7.9 Billion Utility Merger With Constellation Energy of Maryland

I'm surprised this piece is even running at the New York Times. It's falling way outside of the approved narrative. See, "Ties to Obama Aided in Access for Big Utility":

Exelon Corporation
WASHINGTON — Early in the Obama administration, a lobbyist for the Illinois-based energy producer Exelon Corporation proudly called it “the president’s utility.” And it was not just because it delivers power to Barack Obama’s Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago.

Exelon’s top executives were early and frequent supporters of Mr. Obama as he rose from the Illinois State Senate to the White House. John W. Rogers Jr., a friend of the president’s and one of his top fund-raisers, is an Exelon board member. David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s longtime political strategist, once worked as an Exelon consultant, and Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago mayor and Mr. Obama’s former chief of staff, helped create the company through a corporate merger in 2000 while working as an investment banker.

With energy an increasingly pivotal issue for the Obama White House, a review of Exelon’s relationship with the administration shows how familiarity has helped foster access at the upper reaches of government and how, in some cases, the outcome has been favorable for Exelon.

White House records show that Exelon executives were able to secure an unusually large number of meetings with top administration officials at key moments in the consideration of environmental regulations that have been drafted in a way that hurt Exelon’s competitors, but curb the high cost of compliance for Exelon and its industry allies.

In addition, Exelon, which provides power to more than 6.6 million customers in at least 16 states and the District of Columbia, was chosen as one of only six electric utilities nationwide for the maximum $200 million stimulus grant from the Energy Department. And when the Treasury Department granted loans for renewable energy projects, Exelon landed a commitment for up to $646 million allowing it, on extremely generous financial terms, to finance one of the world’s largest photovoltaic solar projects.

Exelon’s seemingly easy access to top administration officials has hardly gone unnoticed among competitors.

“I would like to get some treatment in Washington like that,” said Ken Anderson, general manager at Tri-State G&T, a Colorado-based power supplier that has been at odds with Exelon over environmental regulations. “But Exelon seems to get deference that I can’t get.”
Continue reading.

This company is the administration's mother load for green energy crony capitalism.

My gosh. They've got open access to the White House.

My first thought at reading this was how Michelle Malkin could have a field day here, and lo and behold, she already has. See, "Obama’s Green Robber Barons":
Had enough of fat cat Barack Obama, his jet-setting wife and his multi-millionaire Chicago consigliere/real-estate mogul Valerie Jarrett attacking the “rich”? Well, brace yourselves. You’ll be hearing much more from the White House about the “wealthy few” who aren’t paying their “fair share” as Obama’s re-election campaign doubles down on class-war demagoguery.

As usual, there’s always a set of immunity charms for the privileged friends and family of the ruling class. When it comes to all the Green Robber Barons who’ve reaped an obscenely unfair share of billions of tax dollars from the Obama administration, the envy trumpeteers will be quieter than a nest of mute church mice.

Obama’s State of the Union address defiantly pitched a new round of clean energy spending orgies to help the “middle class.” But how have the serial bankruptcies and near-bankruptcies of several federally subsidized solar companies — all under Obama’s watch — helped anyone but an upper-crust elite of eco-crats and their lobbyists and consultants?


My scouring of White House visitor logs shows nine visits from another Green Robber Baron, Illinois-based Exelon’s CEO John Rowe, who met with the president and former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel multiple times. As Forbes magazine reported: The clean energy company “has very deep ties to the Obama Administration. Frank M. Clark, who runs ComEd, helped advise Obama before he ran for president and is one of Obama’s largest fundraisers. Obama’s chief political strategist, David Axelrod, worked as a consultant to Exelon. Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, helped create Exelon” — where he raked in more than $16 million over two years.

"Very deep ties" indeed.

Heading back over to the New York Times' piece, here's this:
... one person who met with Exelon representatives as a federal official, and requested anonymity because the discussions were confidential, said that while the company’s connections did not guide specific decisions, federal officials knew to handle Exelon carefully.

“It is not necessarily unethical or immoral,” he said, “it is just a fact of life that Exelon has more relations with senior administration officials than others, which means Exelon has a direct line to fairly high places in the White House if they need to.”

Even without any political connection, as a nuclear energy producer Exelon was well positioned to take advantage of the administration’s drive to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

The administration’s tightening of clean air rules was a particular boon, since it took aim at Exelon’s main competitors — coal-burning power plants in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions. In 2010, Exelon estimated it would earn an extra $400 million annually because the regulations would force dozens of coal-burning plants to close.

“We were the hyena looking for the dead stuff on the road,” John W. Rowe, Exelon’s recently departed chief executive, told Wall Street analysts this year.

While other nuclear and natural-gas-focused energy producers also stood to benefit, Exelon stands out for its size. Last December, the Justice Department approved its $7.9 billion merger with Constellation Energy of Maryland, despite objections from Maryland’s consumer advocate. Although Exelon agreed to sell three Maryland power plants, among other concessions, it still emerged as the nation’s largest unregulated electricity generator, meaning that in many of the states its rates are not set by government officials but by what customers will pay.
Oh brother.

This is frankly just a pay-out racket, since there's not been a single green energy company so far that's created a successful new renewable program.

There's still more at the Times. It's just one big exposé on the Obama administration's pay-to-play cronyism. We'll see how much play this gets among the MSM types today, however, the same people Jake Tapper claimed had tipped the scales for O in 2008.

Who knows? Maybe the Niall Ferguson piece at Newsweek was a bellwether.

PHOTO CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons.

UPDATE: Now a Memeorandum thread. And linked at Jawa Report and iOWNTHEWORLD. Thanks!

More at The Lonely Conservative. Thanks!