King Wind Project Cited by Congressional Investigation


Report Refers to project as part of a pattern of “dysfunction, negligence and mismanagement”
(This story was updated at 3:44pm)

Just a day after Angus King announced he was divesting his stake in his wind energy company, a Congressional Oversight Committee has called into question the basis for a $102 million loan guarantee granted to King’s Record Hill Wind project.

The U.S House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform yesterday released an extensive report on questionable funding for projects authorized through the U.S. Department of Energy. The report, titled “The Department of Energy’s Disastrous Management of Loan Guarantee Programs”, reveals that the Record Hill project received a loan guarantee based on “questionable reasoning” by King’s company.

From the report:
“After conducting a substantial review of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) loan guarantee program, it is clear that the significant losses absorbed by taxpayers as a result of Solyndra’s collapse is just the beginning. The investigation conducted by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has uncovered numerous examples of dysfunction, negligence and mismanagement by DOE officials, raising troubling questions about the leadership at DOE and how it has administered its loan guarantee programs.”

The report shows that the Department of Energy (DOE) “approve[d] Record Hill Wind’s $102 million loan guarantee project as “innovative,” despite the project using commercial technology. DOE knew that the Record Hill project did not use significantly innovative technology.”

“the Record Hill Wind project attempted to categorize minor modifications to existing commercial technology as “innovativeness.” DOE eventually agreed with Record Hill Wind’s questionable reasoning”

In 2011, Independence Wind partners Angus King and Rob Gardiner celebrated the federal loan guarantee in a press release:
“The U.S. Department of Energy has issued a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee to cover a portion of the cost of constructing the Record Hill wind project… “We’re delighted that the exhaustive review done by the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office has resulted in this step toward making the project a reality,” said Independence Wind, LLC President, Rob Gardiner.”

The report’s release calls into question the timing of King’s announced separation from Independence Wind. Just a day before the Oversight Committee released its findings, King announced he would separate himself from Independence Wind to avoid a conflict of interest. According to the Associated Press:
“Independent Senate candidate Angus King completed the transfer of his stake in a wind energy company he co-founded to his business partner and said Monday he would go one step further to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest by placing his investments in a blind trust.”

According to King’s campaign spokesperson Crystal Canney, King originally scheduled interviews last Friday to spread the word about his disassociation with Independence Wind. MPBN reported Friday the 16th that King had filed the paperwork to dissolve his relationship with Independence Wind, and that, “As a result, any financial benefits he might have received from federal energy subsidies as a principal in the company will no longer be valid issues in his campaign.”

Canney said that King had no knowledge of the Oversight report until it was released publicly this week.

“Angus is smart, but he is not clairvoyant.”

Details of King’s project can be found on page 63 of the report below.