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DOE Sent Confidential Information to Loan Guarantee Applicant

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Unread 06.19.12, 12:22 PM
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DOE Sent Confidential Information to Loan Guarantee Applicant

On 06.19.12 06:33 AM posted by Lachlan Markay

Emails uncovered by congressional investigators show that a top Energy Department adviser sent confidential government information to representatives of a company vying for federal financing.

The company, which is tied to multiple politically connected green-energy firms, eventually received a $1.4 billion partial loan guarantee from DOE.

“[P]lease do not sent beyond two of you,” urged DOE adviser Peter O’Rourke in a June 3, 2011, email to representatives from industrial real estate manufacturer Prologis and Bank of America. “[T]his is very important,” O’Rourke added.

The email contained a DOE presentation outlining the department’s consideration of Prologis’s $1.4 billion loan guarantee application for Project Amp, an effort to retrofit Prologis warehouses with large solar panel installations.

“Confidential treatment requested,” states a notice on each of the presentation’s slides. The cover slide contains a longer confidentiality request, which reads, in part:
Restricted distribution – this email or document contains sensitive proprietary information and other information that is subject to protection under federal law include the Trade Secrets Act, 18 U.S.C §1905, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. §552. Please safeguard this information and refrain from further dissemination.

The email, embedded below, was obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is investigating the political connections behind green-energy firms that received taxpayer backing through DOE.

Another email obtained by the committee, sent in September 2011 and also embedded below, suggests that Project Amp was originally going to retrofit Prologis facilities with Solyndra solar panels until the company went bankrupt in August of last year. Solyndra had major connections to the Energy Department and the White House.

The eventual Prologis project, approved on September 28, 2011, was partially financed by NRG Energy, which also enjoys significant political clout.

Kathleen McGinty sits on the company’s board of directors. Described by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as a “protégé of Al Gore,” McGinty is a former member of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the founding director of the White House Office on Environmental Policy. She is also a former senior advisor to the Democratic National Committee.

McGinty has personally met with Nancy Sutley, who chairs the Obama White House’s Council on Environmental Quality to discuss the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), White House visitor logs show.

NRG managing partner David Lincoln met with President Obama and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanual at a 2009 White House event on green energy. Lincoln said that White House specifically discussed retrofitting buildings with energy efficient technology at that event.

NRG CEO David Crane and Prologis CEO Walter Rakowich are testifying before an Oversight Subcommittee regarding the companies’ political ties on Tuesday morning. The hearing can be viewed live here.

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