Before Bashing Renewable Energy Projects As ‘Reckless,’ Sen. Vitter Repeatedly Sought Loans For Them In His State

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), best known for frequenting the prostitution services of the DC Madam, is joining the GOP’s Obama-bashing over Solyndra — the renewable energy company that received federal government loans before it went bankrupt. Vitter has even introduced a bill to increase scrutiny of taxpayer-financed renewable energy projects.

Vitter called the administration “reckless” for awarding billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for renewable energy projects. That’s a particularly hypocritical charge coming from a man who has repeatedly asked for loans for those very same projects in his home state:

But Vitter was not always so critical of the loan program. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show he wrote to the Energy Department at least seven times since 2009 seeking money for projects that would benefit his home state.

One of the projects backed by Vitter, a company that makes activated carbon to reduce pollution at coal-fired power plants, has received preliminary approval for a $245 million loan guarantee.[…]

Vitter has also backed projects for nuclear power, renewable diesel fuel and a company that makes fuel-efficient cars.

Vitter’s bill would require that federal agencies conduct a full audit of any renewable energy projects that have received taxpayer money since 2009 — presumably including the projects he lobbied for.

“We can’t afford any more crony capitalism where the federal government picks winners and losers and then leaves taxpayers on the hook when everything falls apart,” Vitter said in a news release announcing the bill. The Time’s Swampland blog points out that the Senator doesn’t seem to be opposed to crony capitalism so much as he opposes the fact that his cronies haven’t benefited enough. So far, several of the projects Vitter has pushed have been turned down by the Department of Energy.

Vitter once also signed a letter complaining that the Energy Department was being too careful with loan guarantees for nuclear plants. The coal project he championed that received federal loans presumably isn’t crony capitalism because “clean coal isn’t renewable.” Vitter has also defended taxpayer funded subsidies for the five biggest oil companies and sought to protect Big Oil from liability for spills they caused.

So according to Vitter, Big Oil doesn’t need more oversight — just renewable energy firms. Republicans’ manufactured fury over Solyndra threatens to derail important clean energy investments around the country.

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