Granholm Touted Failed Companies in Bid for Federal Energy Job

WikiLeaks memo cites flops as proof of her leadership

The latest batch of WikiLeaks emails included a leaked 2008 dispatch from then Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm promoting herself as a candidate for President Barack Obama’s secretary of energy. Granholm would have had to resign as governor midway through her final term had she landed the job.

Granholm attached a 12,000-word document describing what she considered her qualifications in an email to John Podesta, who was heading President Obama’s transition team. The list of accomplishments was heavy on corporate welfare programs Granholm had championed.

In one section of her pitch, the Democratic former governor wrote extensively about three companies that benefited from the programs. Two of those companies turned out to be flops – Mascoma Corporation and United Solar Ovonic.

Mascoma was awarded $26 million from the U.S. Department of Energy and $23.5 million from the state of Michigan to convert biomass into ethanol. In 2008, the company pledged that by the end of 2012 it would employ 70 people in a facility to be built in Kinross Township in Chippewa County.

"Michigan is proud to partner with Mascoma as part of our commitment to lead the nation in alternative energy production," Granholm quoted herself in the leaked email.

Except, it never happened, according to Kinross Township Clerk Sheila Gaines.

The plant was never built. In 2014, Mascoma sold its intellectual property rights to a private Canadian company called Lallemand.

United Solar Ovonic, a manufacturer of flexible thin-film modules, was approved for a $17.3 million state tax credit in 2008, to be paid out over 20 years.

"United Solar Ovonic is a great example of the type of investment needed to ensure Michigan's economic success in the 21st century," Granholm quoted herself in the attachment.

Granholm said the company would create 700 jobs. Instead, it went out of business in 2012 after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The person who won out over Granholm for the federal cabinet post - Steven Chu - presided over huge taxpayer losses in boondoggles like Solyndra.

Solyndra was a solar panel manufacturer from California that went bankrupt in 2011 despite $535 million in federal loan guarantees.