David Vitter Denounces ‘Crony Capitalism’ While Begging For Subsidies For His Favorite Firms

The most remarkable thing about U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), if you ask me, is that he was able to publicly confess to committing a crime and just kind of skate on by without getting into any trouble. Indeed, as best I can tell, Vitter’s official position continues to be that people like David Vitter ought to be thrown in jail, unless they happen to be him, in which case they should be U.S. senators. So once you’re that far down the hypocrisy rabbit hole, this stuff is positively small time:

“We can’t afford any more crony capitalism,” Vitter said in Wednesday. Vitter should know. He’s written a bunch of letters to the Energy Department’s loan program seeking loans for renewable energy firms.

For example, on July 1, 2009, Vitter and Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana wrote Energy Secretary Steven Chu to support a loan application by the V Vehicle Company, a clean-car start-up (backed by T. Boone Pickens and the venture capital leviathan Kleiner Perkins) that was planning a Louisiana factory. “This vehicle would serve as a catalyst for job creation,” they wrote. A year later, Vitter joined the entire Louisiana delegation in another letter pushing “expedited consideration” for VVC. Alas, the Energy Department rejected the loan, citing concerns about the company’s financial viability. Vitter must have been annoyed by all this due diligence, because in December 2010–after VVC changed its name to Next Autoworks–he, Landrieu and Congressman Rodney Alexander tried once more. “Every day that Next Autoworks’ application is delayed is another day that workers cannot be hired,” the wrote. So far, no luck.

Needless to say this is over-and-above Vitter’s strident support of production subsidies for oil and gas companies. There’s no need to even ask whether or not Vitter thinks his favorite dirty energy firms ought to pay the freight for the negative externalities their activities have on the commons.