by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Republican senators are working to make the electric battery company President Joe Biden toured to promote his $1.9 trillion infrastructure plan this administration’s Solyndra.
Biden’s promotion of electric battery and bus manufacturer Proterra has struck a nerve on Capitol Hill after the Washington Free Beacon reported that Biden’s energy secretary, Jennifer Granholm, still has up to $5 million invested in the company. The administration’s $1.9 trillion infrastructure plan includes a $174 billion investment in electric vehicles, as well as plans to replace diesel-powered buses with electric-powered buses—the very product Proterra specializes in.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) says the conflict of interest created by Biden’s visit has the potential to be “even worse than Solyndra,” the solar panel company that went bankrupt after receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in government-backed loans from the Obama administration.
“President Biden’s decision to heavily promote a business where his energy secretary holds a multimillion-dollar stake has all the potential to be even worse than Solyndra,” Cruz told the Free Beacon. “President Biden and Secretary Granholm should immediately remove themselves from their glaring conflict of interest.”
The Solyndra boondoggle became a lasting symbol of failure during the Obama administration, which awarded the green energy firm a $535 million loan guarantee through the 2009 stimulus package. The loan was announced with fanfare by then-vice president Biden and Energy Secretary Steven Chu during a Sept. 4, 2009 speech at Solyndra’s California headquarters. Obama, even after being warned that the company was on the brink of failure, visited its headquarters a few months later and hailed it for “leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future.”
The company months later shut down all operations and declared bankruptcy.
The overt promotion of Solyndra bears resemblance to the current treatment of Proterra. …