Solyndra investor who made out like a bandit to host Hillary fundraiser
On Friday, Hillary Clinton attended a fundraiser hosted by George Kaiser, a noted businessman and philanthropist who was a major bundler for President Obama in 2008.
He is also the founder of Argonaut Private Equity, a hedge fund that poured $270 million into the now bankrupt solar company Solyndra. In 2009, Solyndra received more than half a billion dollars in taxpayer guaranteed loans. When the company went belly up in 2011, Kaiser and other investors were given a soft landing when they were guaranteed certain tax breaks that would kick in if Solyndra went bankrupt.
Kaiser is a curious choice to hold a fundraiser for Clinton, given her recent proposals to reign in the kind of crony capitalism exposed in the Solyndra mess, and other renewable energy company deals.
The arrangement allowed Argonaut to use Solyndra’s “net operating losses” to reduce its own future taxable income. At the same time, the U.S. Treasury was left holding the tab for nearly the entire $535 million original loan.
The terms were so generous that congressional Republicans launched a probe, arguing that Mr. Kaiser’s money and connections earned him special treatment.
The Clinton campaign didn’t respond to requests for comment about Mr. Kaiser and the fundraiser, but her website lists it as a two-hour affair. Guests are requested to give the $2,700 maximum donation in exchange for a “photo with Hillary.”
The fundraiser is sold out, and there was even a waiting list for eager donors, according to the campaign website.
“It’s truly rich. This is the way things are nowadays. The more government is involved in things, the more largesse they can bestow on their friends,” said Dan Kish, senior vice president for policy at the conservative Institute for Energy Research. “[Mrs. Clinton] is tied up with people who made out like bandits when Solyndra went down and the taxpayers ended up paying for it. It’s really sad, to be honest with you.”
Argonaut did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Mr. Kaiser’sGeorge Kaiser Family Foundation. Mr. Kaiser, through a spokesman, previously has denied lobbying the federal government for anything related to the Solyndra project.
News reports from 2011 and 2012, however, documented at least 16 visits by Mr. Kaiser to the White House during the time the Solyndraproject was underway and found extensive contacts between administration officials and Mr. Kaiser’s associates.
In 2011 court documents filed by the IRS and the Energy Department, the Obama administration estimated that Argonaut could get as much as $350 million in future tax breaks from Solyndra’s net operating losses, though it’s unclear how much the firm ultimately received or how much the company has financially benefited over the past several years.
Friday’s fundraiser could renew criticism Mrs. Clinton has faced from progressive activists over her ties to major donors and Wall Street interests. The activists fear she is too closely tied to the wealthy and powerful to be an effective advocate for the middle class.
We're so used to Clinton's hypocrisy by now that this little blurb of a news item will come and go with few in the media pointing out the dichotomy of Clinton being feted by a crony capitalist even as she assures the Democratic left she will be a warrior against Wall Street and the rich.
As for Clinton being an "effective advocate for the middle class," she only has to give lip service to being a plebe. The press will do the rest and portray her as a champion of the downtrodden.
Of course, taking in millions from the rich and powerful comes with no strings attached - or, at least that's the story line.