Thursday, December 14, 2017

Energy loan watchdog an Obama donor

WASHINGTON — A veteran Wall Street executive who performed an independent review that exonerated the Obama administration's program of loans to energy companies contributed $52,500 to re-elect President Barack Obama in the months since completing his work, according to an Associated Press review of campaign records. The executive defended the integrity of his conclusions and said he decided to donate to Obama after his work was finished.

The campaign contributions to Obama started just weeks after Herbert M. Allison Jr., in congressional testimony in March, minimized concerns that the Energy Department was at high risk in more than $23 billion in federal loans awarded to green energy firms. Two weeks later, Allison began giving to the Obama campaign. His contributions to Obama and the Democratic National Committee totaled $52,500 by last month.

Allison did not make any Obama donations during his four-month review of Energy Department loans, and he has a long history of working with and giving money to both political parties. However, Republican Party officials and congressional critics of the energy loans said Allison's donations to Obama raise doubts about his objectivity and highlight his decision not to assess multimillion-dollar loans to two companies that later went into bankruptcy — the troubled Solyndra solar panel company and Beacon Power, an energy storage firm.

Allison defended the integrity of his review.

"I was on the record with the White House that this had to be a completely independent review and they agreed," he said Wednesday. "It didn't hew to anybody's political persuasion, I think, and it had to be fully factual or it wouldn't be credible."

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