'Green Infrastructure' Backers Stand to Profit From Gov't Spending Boost

Dem lawmakers, experts push green energy investments without disclosing financial ties

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April 21, 2021

Democratic lawmakers and expert witnesses pushing President Joe Biden's $2 trillion "green infrastructure" package stand to profit from the plan, financial records reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon show.

Biden's American Jobs Plan requires 100 percent of U.S. electricity to come from renewable sources—including solar, wind, hydrogen, and biomass—by 2035. The provision comes as a boost to Rep. Sean Casten (D., Ill.), who holds up to a $500,000 stake in biomass company Greenleaf Power, according to his 2019 financial disclosure. The Democrat stressed the need to make "big and bold" investments in "clean energy infrastructure" in a March statement that urged the passing of Biden's legislation but did not reveal his financial stake in Greenleaf.

Rep. Sharice Davids (D., Kan.)—who recently claimed that the American Jobs Plan would create a "smart and sustainable" economic boom—also holds up to $16,000 in clean energy utility companies, her 2019 financial disclosure reveals. Davids's portfolio includes Fuel Cell Energy, a hydrogen energy production company that enjoyed a 9 percent stock increase after Biden unveiled his proposal in March. The legislation steers $15 billion in taxpayer funds toward "climate R&D priorities" such as hydrogen.

Senate Democrats have also recruited climate "experts" in recent weeks to bolster government investment in green energy. Former Goldman Sachs executive Bob Litterman, for example, praised the American Jobs Plan while underscoring the need to "dramatically increase the flow of capital towards investments that will reduce emissions" during a Thursday Senate Budget Committee hearing. But Litterman—who also called for a "tax on fossil fuel production"—failed to mention that he is "betting his personal cash" on a slew of investments that short carbon-based energy companies. Litterman's investment firm, Kepos Capital, is also invested in "assets related to a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy," according to the Wall Street Journal.

Stephen Soukup, author of The Dictatorship of Woke Capital, highlighted the Biden administration's ties to "woke" financial services firms pushing for a "zero-carbon future." SEC chair and former Goldman Sachs partner Gary Gensler, he noted, is spearheading a "Climate and Environmental, Social, and Governance Task Force" aimed at punishing corporations for environmental misconduct.

"The aggressiveness of the efforts on the part of the Biden administration in this direction—specifically with regulations that will benefit former firms of a lot of the players in the Biden administration—is, I would say, unprecedented," Soukup told the Free Beacon.

Casten, Davids, and Kepos Capital did not return requests for comment. Biden's energy secretary, Jennifer Granholm, also stands to profit from the legislation—she owns up to $5 million in Proterra, an electric bus manufacturer that Biden virtually toured on Tuesday. The infrastructure package calls for a $174 billion investment in the electric vehicle market and creates a program that would electrify "at least 20 percent" of the nation's school buses.

Casten ran for Congress in 2018 as a "clean energy entrepreneur" and climate change champion. He has faced conflict-of-interest allegations in the past over his Greenleaf investment and role on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. His office dismissed the criticism, claiming that Casten "has no control, managerial or otherwise over Greenleaf." Regardless of his role in Greenleaf's operations, however, Casten would benefit financially from a Biden administration mandate on renewable utilities.

Davids also holds stock in solar provider SunPower Corp., according to her 2019 financial disclosure. The company applauded Biden's proposed 10-year extension of solar tax credits through the American Jobs Plan, with head of policy Suzanne Leta arguing that the move will "unlock more markets in the United States where we're just scratching the surface."

In addition to his role as risk committee chairman at Kepos Capital, Litterman launched plans in July 2020 to start another hedge fund "designed to profit from the transition to a lower-carbon economy," according to Bloomberg Green. His Senate testimony exemplifies the "blatant example of the relationship between big business and big government," Power the Future executive director Daniel Turner told the Free Beacon.

"Many Wall Street executives who have been telling their clients to invest in green energy stocks are now key Biden administration officials and will use taxpayer dollars to buy those green products," Turner said. "We talk about Big Pharma and the military-industrial complex, but big green is a real thing, and some people are going to get very rich thanks to the taxpayers."