Issues

Jordan grills Chu over DOE loan program, political connections

Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) grilled Energy Secretary Steven Chu over the political connections of many green energy companies that received Energy Department loans at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Tuesday.

Jordan listed nine people with ties to the Obama administration and financial stakes in Energy Department loan recipients, asking Chu if any had influenced the Energy Department’s decision to award the loans.

For example, there is Steve Spinner, a loan program officer at the Energy Department and a former bundler for the Obama campaign. Spinner’s wife’s law firm represents Solyndra, the bankrupt solar company, which received $535 million in taxpayer-backed Energy Department loans.

"My understanding is there were 27 companies in the 1705 loan program, eight of which had connections to the White House," Jordan said. "Do you see a pattern or concern there?"

Chu said the political connections had no influence on his decision to award the loans. He said neither they nor the White House lobbied him for the loan guarantees.

Chu testified Tuesday on the Department of Energy loan program, which was in charge of awarding billions of dollars in stimulus money as part of the Obama administration’s green jobs initiative.