George Kaiser's Great Big Green Energy Scam
The Wall Street Journal reports that George Kaiser, "a Tulsa oil billionaire who bundled campaign checks for Mr. Obama in 2008," is poised to accomplish one of the great scams of all time. Here is how it works. The "primary investment arm of the George Kaiser Family Foundation" is Argonaut Ventures I LCCC. Argonaut Ventures happens to be the largest shareholder in Solyndra LCC, the California-based solar panel maker that received a $535 million U.S. Energy Department loan guarantee in September 2009 and went bankrupt two years later, laying off nearly 1,000 workers.
Now the very same Argonaut Ventures, thanks to a February 2011 deal with President Obama's Energy Department, (along with Madrone Partners LP) ranks ahead of the U.S. government in order of creditors who will be repaid from the proceeds of the sale of Solyndra's assets. As Bloomberg reports, the sale of the proceeds amounted to $117 million minus the $46 million it cost to sell the assets, for a total of$71 million. Since this is $6 million short of the $77 million Argonaut and Madrone loaned to Solyndra, the U.S. government will not receive a cent from the sale.
Not only that, but thanks to the same deal with the Energy Department, a holding company owned by George Kaiser's Argonaut Ventures will come into possession of Solyndra's net operating losses, which the IRS estimates will save George Kaiser's company as much as $350 million in future taxes.
So let us review: George Kaiser was the primary shareholder in Solyndra, which received, spent, and lost a $535 million U.S. government loan. George Kaiser will receive $71 million in proceeds from the sale of Solyndra's assets, and George Kaiser will pay $350 million less in future taxes as a result of inheriting Solyndra's losses. Not a bad return for bundling campaign checks for President Obama.