Archive for September, 2011

By John Rossomando
The Daily Caller 4:51 PM 09/15/2011

An email from February 2011 shows that the now-bankrupt solar energy company Solyndra denied receiving money from the federal government. Solyndra spokesperson David Miler reacted viscerally to an early Daily Caller report about a growing congressional investigation into $535 million in federal loan guarantees, which have recently become the subject of scandal and intense scrutiny.

“Your story today on Solyndra has several inaccuracies I wanted to point out,” Miller wrote to TheDC on February 22, 2011. “For sake of accuracy … [T]he federal government has not spent a dime on Solyndra.”

He went on to write that the congressional investigators were incorrect, and that the federal government would only have to pay anything “in the unlikely event Solyndra can’t pay back its loans.”

Miller has come under scrutiny in recent days for another email offering White House special assistant Johanna Maska “corporate employment,” and for his efforts to manipulate media coverage through contact with the White House. (RELATED: White House political pressure alleged in Solyndra loan deal)

In a conversation with The Daily Caller, Republican Georgia Rep. Tom Price, who chairs the House Republican Policy Committee, denounced the failing green energy company’s apparent effort to work with the White House to manipulate news coverage.

Solyndra’s efforts to manipulate coverage are “worse than Nixonian,” said Rep. Price, and the latest example of “classical Chicago politics” coming out of the Obama administration.

Recent events have vindicated the concerns raised by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns in their initial Feb. 17, 2011 letter about the company’s viability and long-term solvency. In that letter, which spurred TheDC’s initial report, the congressmen asked Secretary of Energy Steven Chu for information about the loan guarantee.

“In March 2010,” Upton and Stearns wrote, “Solyndra’s own auditor declared in an amendment to the company’s SEC registration that ‘the Company has suffered recurring losses from operations, negative cash flows since inception and has a net stockholders’ deficit that, among other factors, raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern,’ … [S]ubsequent concerns raise questions about whether Solyndra was the right candidate for a loan guarantee in excess of half a billion dollars.”

Miller, the Solyndra spokesman, objected particularly to comments Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) spokeswoman Leslie Page made to The Daily Caller, calling the loan guarantee “pork-barrel spending.”

“Correction: Again, not a dime has been spent on Solyndra,” Miller responded in his email to TheDC, “it is a loan guarantee.”

Rep. Stearns, however, recently disputed Miller’s claims.

“There is no doubt, they received the money,” Stearns said.

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New polling shows union members have grown disatisfied with Obama by a 58 percent margin.

By John Rossomando
The Daily Caller
Published: 1:15 AM 09/08/2011

New polling shows reliably blue Pennsylvania, a state that hasn’t voted for a Republican for president since 1988, could be up for grabs in 2012. And in a wisdom-bending development, organized labor could help the state trend red.

A new poll from the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. shows 52 percent of Pennsylvanians want someone other than Barack Obama elected president in 2012. Just 41 percent say he deserves another term.

But most telling in the Franklin & Marshall poll is remarkably high dissatisfaction with Obama in households where rank-and-file union members live.

Although 61 percent of all Democrats polled said they want to see Obama re-elected, 59 percent of union households told the pollsters they wanted to see someone else in the White House.

“Depending who the Republican nominee is, this state should be very competitive,” said Dr. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Opinion Research, who runs the poll several times a year. “It’s 80 percent about Obama.”

The poll of 525 Pennsylvanians included 216 declared Democrats and 140 declared Republicans, mirroring the massive voter registration advantage Democrats enjoy in the Keystone State. As of mid-May, that gap was more than 1.1 million voters wide.

Madonna told The Daily Caller that the key to putting Pennsylvania in the “R” column will be for voters there to see the eventual nominee as a viable alternative to Obama. (RELATED: AFL-CIO’s Trumka won’t condemn Hoffa’s remarks)

These union numbers mirror overall polling data from overwhelmingly blue-collar, Democratic areas of the state such as the Pittsburgh area, where 58 percent of all voters say it’s time for a change. Only 31 percent from that region said Obama should be re-elected.

Allegheny County, where contains Pittsburgh, sided with Obama over John McCain by a 57–42 margin. But now that same majority — 57 percent — want Obama out of the White House.

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By John Rossomando
The Daily Caller
Published: 10:12 PM 08/28/2011

Republican staffers tell The Daily Caller that new tax cuts and regulatory reforms aimed at jumpstarting the economy will be on the agenda in the House of Representatives when it returns from recess after Labor Day.

Staffers say no specifics have been locked in yet. But a significant tax reform package could come this fall, they say, because nothing is likely to be accomplished after the 2012 election cycle begins in earnest.

“Republicans need to lay out a tax proposal sooner rather than later instead of just focusing on spending,” said Texas GOP Rep. Kevin Brady, the vice-chairman of the congressional Joint Economic Committee. “A strong economy is key to reducing our deficits.”

The conservative House Republican Study Committee is also reportedly planning to supplement the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan with a “growth” element including tax cuts and regulatory reforms.

Hill staffers tell TheDC that details will become clearer in September. But Ohio Rep. James Jordan, the RSC chairman, sent a letter to his members on Aug. 24 asking for input on “adding robust growth components, like tax reform and regulatory reform” to Cut, Cap and Balance.

According to Rep. Brady, the RSC’s eventual proposal will be a force to be reckoned with in the House Republican Conference because the two groups’ memberships overlap significantly.

Tax cuts were a key part of the budget plan, proposed by Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan, which passed last spring. That plan sought to reduce corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 25 percent and similarly lower the top personal income tax bracket from 35 percent to 25 percent.

The Ryan budget also proposed closing corporate tax loopholes that allow some companies to avoid paying any taxes at all, and eliminating $800 billion in new taxes included in President Obama’s health care overhaul.

A committee spokesperson told TheDC that Michigan Republican Rep. David Camp, who chairs the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, intends to make tax reform a priority after Congress reconvenes and push for the same tax rates contained in the Ryan budget.

Rep. Brady told TheDC that the tax rates contained in the Ryan and Camp plans will enjoy strong support from most House Republicans.

“Both regulatory reform and broad tax reform — to simplify the system and lower rates — are priorities for the speaker,” Brendan Buck, spokesman for Speaker of the House John Boehner, wrote in an e-mail to TheDC. “Both are part of our ‘Plan for America’s Job Creators.’”

But Rep. Brady cautioned that many members of Congress will want to influence how changes to the tax code are made, so it remains to be seen what form a final bill will take.

He predicts that passing tax reform into law will be difficult as long as President Obama occupies the White House and Democrats control the Senate.

Former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin urged Republicans to provide a clear alternative economic vision to the one Obama and the Democrats advocate. He called on them to hold the line on developing a tax reform package.

Holtz-Eakin said a proposed Republican tax-reform strategy could be a “spectacular” messaging tool for GOP congressional candidates entering the 2012 election cycle.

“Good policy makes for good politics,” Holtz-Eakin told TheDC. “All policy needs to focus on growth, considering the abysmal track record of this administration, which has placed social programs before growth.

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