So what was John Podesta's now-collapsed Russian green energy scheme really all about?
So much for collusion.
A Russian government-backed green energy company called Joule lost a lot of money as it collapsed in the wake of President Trump's "unexpected" election to president. It had been literally banking on a Hillary Clinton electoral victory, according to a new investigative report from the Daily Caller, expecting that a Clinton presidency's renewable energy focus would be just the thing for the company's fortunes. The plan flamed out when Trump was elected.
That made its ties with Clinton campaign manager John Podesta utterly worthless. Joule had brought Podesta onboard as a board member from 2010 to 2013 to influence its fortunes. Podesta got 75,000 shares for it, worth millions. The Daily Caller reported that Podesta joined the Obama administration in 2014 and then left the board, but he stayed in friendly and helpful contact with the company at least through 2015. There's no word on whether he kept his shares.
What kind of a company can stay afloat only if it has political connections? It would have to be a company that simply couldn't produce anything it could otherwise sell of value. That's what the Daily Caller seems to have found. Joule was known for its secrecy, leaving the biotech industry baffled, the Caller reported. It also tended to overpromise and under-deliver, making wild promises to investors on what it had in the works. The Daily Caller reported:
The company's rise as well as its demise have been shrouded in secrecy. It claimed to have a patent for genetically engineered microbes that could harness the sun's energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into ethanol, diesel fuel or jet fuel.
"Many people were very skeptical that they could pull off what they were trying to pull off," Robert Rapier, who runs a website called R-Squared Energy, told The Boston Globe.
With no-show results like that, and Russian backing (at least three of its board members were affiliated with a Russian venture capital company called Rusnano, which is known in Moscow as "Putin's baby"), it sounds as though it wasn't really in the business of making things of value. Its game was shaking money out of the government with its green energy policies and subsidies, which Podesta was an excellent fit for, and then maybe doing some spying on the side. The Daily Caller found as much here:
The FBI was concerned about Russian government investments in American high-technology firms, as previously reported by TheDCNF.
Lucia Ziobro, the special agent in charge at the FBI's Boston field office, issued an "extraordinary warning" in 2014 about Russian investors to startups like Joule.
"The FBI believes the true motives of the Russian partners, who are often funded by their government, is to gain access to classified, sensitive and emerging technology from the companies," she wrote in a Boston Globe op-ed.
It's worth noting that Russian President Vladimir Putin had a falling out with Rusnano board member Anatoly Chubais, as I noted here and here, which raises questions as to whether Podesta was doing Putin's bidding or was aligned with another Kremlin oligarch faction instead.
What is certain is that a company that can't stand on its own probably isn't a company that should be out there. A company that relies on having superior government connections rather than producing a superior product might be pleasing to someone who hates free-market capitalism, but it's not a credible company. It's a front for something. Was it a front for Russian spies, or was it a front for payoffs to connected Clinton cronies in exchange for subsidies? With Podesta's Joule, there don't seem to be any possibilities in between.
Small wonder we haven't heard much lately about 'Trump colluded with the Russians to win the election." The Russian colluding we are seeing has the Podesta name on it.