The firm that was awarded the Obama administration’s largest federal solar energy grant has close ties to Vice President Joe Biden and won the grant only after a coordinated lobbying campaign, the Wall Street Journal reports.
BrightSource Energy Inc. hired Biden’s former chief of staff to lobby the administration in an effort to win a $1.6 billion loan.
The lobbying blitz came as the $1.6 billion loan to BrightSource Energy Inc.—a centerpiece of the administration’s program to promote nascent green-energy projects—faced a do-or-die moment, and the company called on its Democratic connections to help push the deal forward, according to emails, records and those familiar with the loan.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said the Department of Energy made the loan-approval decision, not Mr. Biden nor other White House officials. A Department of Energy spokeswoman said it chose BrightSource, whose solar power plant in California continues to move ahead, based on the project’s merits.