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Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) is a great guy. He really likes to use taxpayer dollars to help people...especially if those people are members of the Kanjorski family. Some years ago, Rep. Kanjorski secured earmarks of $9 million in federal grants for an energy company called Cornerstone Technologies LLC. Cornerstone was run by members of the Kanjorski family, including the Congressman's nephew, Russell Kanjorski (remember his name). Sweet deal for the Kanjorski's. It's good to have friends in high places. Even sweeter, Cornerstone ran it's company out of a building owned by Congressman Paul Kanjorski, so all the rent paid by Cornerstone (which was really paid by the taxpayers) went into the Congressman's pocket.
Unfortunately, the Cornerstone Kanjorski's didn't know how to run an energy company. It went bust in 2003. The $9 million in taxpayer funds went down the drain. Here's a Fox News video recounting the entire sordid tale. Try not to throw up on your computer screen as you watch this, because it is sickening:
I especially liked the part where Congressman Kanjorski tried to blame hiw own self-serving corrupt activities on "the Republican machine." Evidently, Kanjorski has a sense of humor in addition to being a crook.
Somehow, Congressman Kanjorski is still in office instead of in prison where he belongs for bilking the taxpayers. Way to go, Pennsylvania voters. I wonder if anyone outside Fox News even reported Rep. Kanjorski's corruption. It's good to be a Democrat, I guess. Things didn't go quite so well for, say, Duke Cunningham.
Now we fast forward to today. President Obama recently announced $2 billion in guaranteed government loans to two energy companies. For those who don't know, a "guaranteed government loan" means if the companies go belly up, the taxpayers are on the hook for the dough. Nice deal for the companies receiving the funds, not so nice deal for the taxpayers.
One of the companies receiving guaranteed government loot is Abound Solar, a startup company that just began ramping up to produce solar panels in 2008. Abound Solar is getting $400 million from Obama. Well, technically, Obama is borrowing the $400 million, because the U.S. government is on it's ass, dead broke.
Now for the trivia question - Guess who is the Vice President Of Marketing for Abound Solar ?
(Cue the theme song from Jeopardy)
De-de-de-de, de-de-de, de-de-de-de-deep, de-de-de-de-de......
If you said, Alex, who is Russell Kanjorski ?, you would be absolutely correct. After bilking the taxpayers with Cornerstone, Russ Kanjorski landed another plum top management job with another company being financed by the taxpayers. Don't that beat all !
The CEO of the Abound Solar startup is Tom Tiller, who previously headed up a company that produced recreational vehicles and atv's. Tiller was made the CEO of Abound about three months ago. He has no experience with solar technology, but he is a Harvard MBA. Abound Solar has other investors besides the American taxpayers. A hedge fund company, an asset management company, former Goldman-Sachs persons, former Lehman Brothers persons, other Harvard grads, etc. have invested $150 million in Abound. The company is also aligned with BP on some biofuels projects. BP used to call itself the "world's first green petroleum company," if you remember, but I doubt anyone living on the Gulf Of Mexico would agree with that description.
The other company receiving big Obamabucks is a Spanish company called Abengoa, who will receive $1.45 billion. Former Democratic VP Al Gore has an investment in that company, though the amount is unknown. It's that transparency thing again. The $1.45 billion investment in Abengoa is to build a concentrated solar plant outside Phoenix, Arizona. The plant is supposed to provide energy for 77,000 homes once it reaches full capacity (there are about 500,000 homes in Phoenix). It will create 85 permanent jobs. That's not a typo. 85 jobs for the $1.45 billion investment.
Speaking of Spain, that country made a big committment to solar power, with heavy subsidies from the Spanish government. What Spain has found is that the solar panels don't pay for themselves. They cost far too much, and require massive ongoing government subsidies. Now Spain wants to cut back on solar power.
But I'm sure that could never happen here. I bet Russ Kanjorski would agree.
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