by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Department of Energy last week announced a conditional loan of $259 million to Alcoa, Inc., supporting the manufacture of lightweight-aluminum auto bodies.
The resurrection of the DOE’s controversial fuel-efficient-vehicle loan program is a bad idea in light of the agency’s awful track record on taxpayer-backed green investments. All told, the DOE’s loan programs have lost taxpayers at least $780 million.
But Americans should also question why Alcoa, which tallied $23.9 billion in revenue last year, needs a helping hand from taxpayers. Then again, this corporate giant and its leaders have deep ties to the Obama administration.
Daniel Cruise — who became Alcoa’s vice president of government and public affairs the same year Obama took office — has been a big Obama bundler, raising between $50,000 and $100,000, according to OpenSecrets.com. He has also donated thousands of dollars to Democrats, according to Federal Election Commission filings. …
… As Alcoa cozies up to the White House, it has been playing a cynical political game, pushing for more-stringent fuel-efficiency standards and decreased U.S. emissions. Keep in mind that these are the very regulations that spawned the Advanced Technologies Vehicle Manufacturing Fund, from which Alcoa will now receive taxpayer cash.