'Stossel' Finds 'Crony Capitalism' in Green Jobs Stimulus

Crony capitalism is often a charge liberals make against conservative politicians, but Fox Business Network found an example of such cronyism connected to the Obama White House that included tax breaks and direct endorsements by both the president and vice president.

On Jan. 14, John Stossel and his guests explored the seemingly cozy relationship between representatives of Serious Materials, an energy efficient building materials company, and the administration.

Annette Meeks of the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota summed up the issue: “We at least deserve the transparency of how did it happen that in a list of all these tax credits released last week only one was given to a window manufacturer. How did they happen to win that sweepstakes? How does it come about that repeatedly -- at least six times last year -- executives from one window manufacturer, one small California company, appeared with the President and Vice President and no other company even gets a mention?”

Meeks and her colleague Jonathan Blake took an interest in the stimulus tax credit going to just one particular window company because there are larger window companies in Minnesota.

“There’s a lot of companies that do this (window weatherization) and that’s the interesting thing. Wouldn’t you -- you’re dealing with billions of taxpayer dollars and you’re picking winners and loser. We understand that government does this, we might not like it, but government routinely does it.”

Stossel’s report showed video clips of a Serious Materials representative introducing President Obama and CEO Kevin Surace thanking Vice President Biden for his “unwavering support.”

The report also pointed out that the company’s policy director is married to Cathy Zoi, Asst. Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Stossel called her the “weatherization boss.”

According to Blake, Zoi has control of $16.8 billion of stimulus funds.

Stossel asked Blake “what’s wrong” with the government supporting weatherization. Blake replied, “Maybe nothing, and our issue here isn’t a policy issue. But when there is a serious conflict of interest, or at least an apparent conflict of interest, and $16.8 billion worth of taxpayer money is on the line we think this becomes more than just a policy discussion.”

White House, the Dept. of Energy and Serious Materials all declined to be interviewed by Stossel. A Serious Materials spokesperson called Fox Business and said the story was full of lies, but didn’t say what the lies were according to Stossel.


Like this article? Then sign up for our newsletter, The Balance Sheet.