Crony capitalism and Obama’s big new national defense idea

In his speech to the VFW today, Mitt Romney derided President Obama’s defense policy as follows: “When the biggest announcement in his last State of the Union address on improving our military was that the Pentagon will start using more clean energy – then you know it’s time for a change.”

Romney might have added that Obama has used his “clean energy for the military” policy to line the pockets of at least one big Democratic political supporters.

Thus, we learn from Wynton Hall at Big Peace that the United States Air Force spent $639,000 on 11,000 gallons of alcohol-to-jet fuel from Gevo Inc., a Colorado biofuels company, at $59 a gallon. The cost of petroleum is presently $3.60 a gallon, and one imagines that the government can use its purchasing power to get a considerably lower price than that.

So why pay $59 per gallon? It turns out that one of the venture capital funders behind Gevo Inc. is Vinod Khosla. Since 1996, opensecrets.org reports that Mr. Khosla has made $474,534 in campaign donations, 86 percent of which went to Democrats. As of this March, when Gevo filed with the SEC, Khosla’s firm owned a 27 percent stake in the company.

Similarly, the U.S. Navy has purchased millions in biofuels to demonstrate that a carrier strike group could be run on biofuels. The company that sold this fuel to the government reportedly is owned by the husband of Sen. Diane Feinstein.

Unfortunately, using clean energy policy to funnel money to big Democratic contributors is standard operating procedure under the Obama administration. In his book Throw Them All Out, Peter Schweizer revealed that 80 percent of the Department of Energy’s $20.5 billion loan program went to companies owned by or connected to Obama’s campaign donors.

Indeed, Khosla himself is no stranger to failed biofuel projects involving taxpayer monies. According to Big Peace, he was the chief backer of Range Fuels, a biofuels company that received a government-guaranteed $64 million loan only to later go bust and leave taxpayers holding the bag.

The sad truth about many forms of clean energy is that they don’t make economic sense. But if they make political sense, that’s more than good enough for Barack Obama.

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