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Uh-oh: Green stimulus recipient probed for insider trading

President Obama’s public investments in alternative energy companies continue to pay off for the American taxpayer.

Oh, wait.

From CBS News:

A company given $126.2 million in stimulus taxpayer funds from the U. S. Department of Energy is under investigation for insider trading according to a federal subpoena obtained by CBS News.

The company, San Francisco-based Ecotality, makes and installs chargers for electric cars.

The subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission, issued in December of 2011, specifically asks the company for documentation surrounding the public announcement of the first Department of Energy grant to the company for $99.8 million on August 5, 2009.

The government also wants all communication regarding the federal grant from at least four Ecotality employees and two board members including the company’s CEO Jonathan Read.The company was required to supply documents to the SEC by early January.

A company spokesperson told CBS News in an email, “We are cooperating fully with the SEC and have no further disclosures or updates that we are able to provide outside of our public filings.”

Ecotality received $99 million in 2009 and an additional $26 million in October 2011. Since the beginning of the grant period in October 2009 the company reported creating 144 jobs according to .

As part of the grant the company is supposed to install 14,000 electric car chargers in five states. To date the company says they have installed 6,400, less than half.


Some background on Ecotality:

When I heard Obama praising the stimulus bill, when he told us to ask the small business in Phoenix that is tripling its work force, I thought I’d do a little research into who that company is.

Easy enough. It’s called Ecotality, based out of Scottsdale, and it was the lead receiver of a $100 million grant from the Department of Energy through the stimulus bill. (Ecotality, which used to be called Alchemy Enterpreises, has MANY subsidiaries, so much of this money is actually going to those subsidiaries rather than directly to Ecotality. One such example is Electric Transportation Engineering Corp., a division of Ecotality, which will be putting in electric vehicle infrastructure as far away as Oregon).

President Honors ECOtality/eTec in State of the Union Address

Total jobs added? According to them, 15 in 2009 and 27 in 2010. For $100 million. Am I supposed to cheer for that?

And it appears on the surface that there are political connections — of course, there always are! — to how Ecotality got this grant.

Its CEO, Jonathan Read, is a successful entrepreneur with wide-ranging political connections in Phoenix. He maxed out his political donations in 2006 to Harry Mitchel (D), who beat incumbent JD Hayworth (R) that year. Ecotality falls within Mitchell’s district.

Slade Mead is on the board of directors. He is a lawyer and former Republican state legislator turned Democrat who has given more than $17,000 to Democrats since 2005. He maxed out to Harry Mitchell’s 2006 campaign.

Further, Colin Read is the Vice President of Corporate Development. He was the Assistant Finance Director for Harry Mitchell’s successful 2006 bid for Congress.

They also met with VP Biden not all that long ago.

I don’t have the time to research into this further than what I’ve found; such as, did Harry Mitchell earmark that money in the stimulus bill? Or is it all just a coincidence?

But the real take away from this? Obama points to this company as an example of the stimulus bill’s success; but it is really just another example of money being doled out to political allies to little effect. How much of that stimulus money do you think will end up going back as political contributions?


And more on green cronyism and ECOtality from Paul Chesser at The American Spectator here.

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