What is it about clean energy that gets liberal Democrats so excited that they ignore ethics law? What is it about the environment that makes Democrats want to do anything to keep their work out of public view?
If that sounds a bit harsh, just consider recent events both in this Washington, and in the Obama administration in D.C.
In 2013, shortly after he took office, Jay Inslee created a new fund that promised to promote renewable-energy research and jobs. The Legislature approved Inslee’s Clean Energy Fund (CEF), a $36 million account that was part of the compromise budget that year, in a section of os state spending earmarked for construction. Nearly half – $15 million – of the fund was directed to “smart grid” matching grants in order to test “giant batteries and software that could help utilities use more solar and wind power.”
As Shift and KING 5 reported back in June—and the Seattle Times followed up on with an investigative piece this week—it’s the use of those grants have been shrouded in an ethics controversy in Snohomish County.
Over the summer, a whistle blower complaint launched an independent investigation into the Snohomish County Public Utility District (SNOPUD) and $16 million worth of no-bid contracts it had granted, since 2011, to a Seattle-based company called 1Energy for a project known as MESA (Modular Energy Storage Architecture).
According to records, outgoing SNOPUD CEO and General Manager Steve Klein directed the development of the no-bid contracts, including intellectual property arrangements connected to the project in question. And, he did so with the help of a rather interesting SNOPUD employee, David Kaplan.
Turns out that David Kaplan founded 1Energy while still working at SNOPUD. He started his company in 2010, and won the no-bid contract two months before the agency left to work at his company full time in September 2011.
Making matters worse, email evidence reveals Kaplan and his supervisors at SNOPUD negotiated most of the no-bid contract for his company while he was still working for the district. In fact, Kaplan was “part of the district’s executive team and reported directly to PUD CEO and General Manager Steve Klein.”
Unfortunately, the controversy does not end there. Top officials from the state Department of Commerce also went to work for 1Energy shortly before Commerce awarded Snohomish PUD a whopping $7.3 million contract to help pay for the work done by… 1Energy. Rogers Weed, former director of Commerce from 2009 until early 2013, in now one of Energy1’s vice presidents. The other vice president is Daniel Malarkey, who was deputy director at Commerce under Weed. Kaplan himself was a contractor for Commerce from April 2009 until March 2010.
The whistleblower commented this summer, “Pre-negotiating a contract with an employee in the public space? It’s not ok… Ethically, you have to know better than to negotiate a contract with your colleague and set him up three days after they leave.”
No, it’s not okay. But, because it has to do with “green” energy, Democrats don’t appear to believe that ethics matter. As the Seattle Times points out:
“State ethics law bars former employees from taking jobs for a year with firms that receive state contracts of more than $10,000 that the employee negotiated or administered while working for the state.”
Those in question—like Malarkey—do not seem to think that law applies to them, for one reason or another. The Seattle Times:
“Malarkey said he’s in the clear because he left Commerce six months before the contracts were awarded. In addition, he said he does no work on the grants at 1Energy.
“In any case, the law does not apply to subcontractors, Malarkey noted in a letter to the state ethics board.”
The problem is that extreme “green” liberals, like those caught up in this scandal, see themselves as the masters of the universe, working to save us all from ourselves as they fight pollution and rising ocean levels. They believe that they are above ethics because they are “green heroes” who could do no wrong.
Yet, scandal after scandal—from the millions of taxpayer dollars lost on Solyndra to the resignation of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber to Tom Steyer’s shady funding of “green groups” in Washington State to do his political attacks—has shattered the image of the “green heroes.”
Jay Inslee, of course, is not exempt from the “green” scandal machine. Inslee was recently caught advising other Democrat governors on how to attack and spread misinformation on climate change. Public records revealed memos circulated by a dozen Democrat governors spelling out talking points and political messaging tips in support of federal regulations, the purpose being to “sow doubts about our opponents [sic] motives.” For his part, Inslee’s office came up with a personalized memo of attacks to use, then circulated it to other governors.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, Sam Ricketts, the director of Inslee’s D.C. office, sent a memo to aides serving other Democrat governors with tips on how to blame natural disasters on climate change. The memo included a template on how to defend an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule by blaming any local extreme weather event on climate change. Of course, for our “green” governor that is not a new tactic. He could not wait to politicize the tragic wildfires in Eastern Washington earlier this year by blaming them on climate change, using the template language.
Now the latest example of “green” liberals acting as if they are above the law comes courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On Monday, congressional auditors confirmed that the EPA “broke the law in a social media campaign intended to generate public support for a controversial rule.”” Fox News reports:
“The EPA’s campaign violated restrictions against lobbying and propaganda by federal agencies, the Government Accountability Office said in a 26-page report. The agency blitzed social media in a campaign that urged the public to submit comments on the draft water rule. The effort reached at least 1.8 million people.
“Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma said the GAO finding confirms what he has long suspected: ‘that EPA will go to extreme lengths and even violate the law to promote its activist environmental agenda.’”
Far from acting out of a righteous desire to save the world, extreme “green” liberals have proven themselves to be motivated by self-interest time and time again. The Wall Street Journal put it best when it wrote, “Environmentalism, alas, is a church with its reformation nowhere in sight.”
Photo via Transmission and Distribution World, 1Energy CEO Dave Kaplan, left, Snohomish PUD CEO/GM Steve Klein and Washington Governor Jay Inslee
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