Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has called for an investigation into the Obama administration’s handling of loans to two electric vehicle companies.
Citing ties to Obama campaign donors, Romney said that the administration’s dealings with Fisker Automotive, which got $529 million in loans from the Energy Department, and Tesla, which got $465 million, raise questions.
“Congress should investigate carefully how so much taxpayer money was spent so poorly on behalf of so many donors,” he wrote in the Orange County Register on Monday. “But there are larger lessons from this sorry story. First, the U.S. government shouldn’t be playing venture capitalist. It’s not merely that government bureaucrats are bad at picking winners. The very process invites cronyism and outright corruption.”
Romney writes that Fisker investors, among them Al Gore, “have donated more than $1 million to political campaigns.
“Tesla, for its part, has financial backing from a fundraiser who bundled hundreds of thousands of dollars for the President’s campaign,” Romney wrote. “Tesla’s CEO is also a major Democratic donor who has poured money into Obama’s campaign coffers.”
Tesla, founded by Internet billionaire and PayPal co-founder Elon Musk, makes green cars for the super-rich.
Romney’s editorial comes as the administration’s backing of green jobs has drawn scrutiny for creating few jobs and for a $535 million loan to Solyndra, a Silicon Valley solar energy company that later went bankrupt. Obama is on a major fund-raising swing out west, where, Romney says, “at least one Solyndra-linked fundraiser is helping to organize Tuesday’s presidential cash call in San Francisco.”
“The creation of environmentally friendly jobs has been at the top of Barack Obama’s policy agenda since coming into office,” Romney wrote. “With the first of his now many jobs plans, the President set out to fulfill his campaign promise of spending $150 billion to create ten million green jobs. Alas, things didn’t quite worked out as planned.”