The Ecotality mess: Lying by omission
Squandering taxpayer money on attempts to pick “green” energy winners once again has left the Obama administration's Department of Energy red-faced: Its own inspector general says officials failed to disclose for an audit that they knew a taxpayer-backed electric car charger company was headed for bankruptcy.
The Washington Times reports that Ecotality of San Francisco, headed by Pitt graduate Ravi Brar, received $100 million in 2009 stimulus funds, plus $35 million that Energy approved in 2005 and 2011. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sept. 16. Energy's IG says Ecotality told Energy on May 21 that it wouldn't meet September benchmarks for installing charging stations and collecting electric vehicle usage data.
But the department didn't mention that in comments provided July 9 for an IG report. Instead, it “asserted that previous award modifications ... made Ecotality's production and installations goals achievable,” the IG's office wrote. And though Energy did cut off Ecotality's stimulus funding, it continued some payments OK'd in 2011.
The Energy Department has agreed to transparency improvements suggested by its IG. But it would have spared itself this Ecotality embarrassment — and taxpayers another huge loss — had it learned the lessons taught by its $535 million Solyndra debacle.
The Obama administration's politically motivated distortion of markets has proven financially disastrous — again. And distorting the truth (lying by omission, actually) about a beneficiary of that practice only compounds what's so wrong about it.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.