So Mitt Romney has decided to attack President Obama’s efforts to add green energy jobs to the economy, singling out government programs that provide support for green energy startups.
Romney says the programs “invite cronyism and outright corruption” and should be disbanded. That’s a a popular line of argument among Republicans these days, but as Ben Smith reports, the problem for Mitt Romney is that he was for it before he was against it:
In 2003, Romney launched the Massachusetts Green Energy Fund, a $ 15 million project aimed at providing “an opportunity to capitalize on two emerging trends: the growing level of investment interest in clean energy and the importance of Massachusetts’ academic and corporate R&D in forming clean energy technology companies,” according to its website.
At the time, Romney called the fund a “springboard for the commonwealth by focusing on job creation in the renewable energy sector.”
And it is in the nature of venture funds that some of their projects fail. That’s why the private sector funds can get such high returns, and why some energy projects seen as having a huge public upside — from nuclear to solar — have convinced government officials to back them.
And so while Romney has criticized Solyndra on the campaign trail as a major failure of the Obama administration, his Green Energy Fund invested in several companies that have since failed or not lived up to expectations.
Of the six companies listed in the fund’s portfolio, three are either struggling or have shut down completely.
Meanwhile, despite his efforts to engage in Solyndra scandal-mongering, Sam Stein reports Mitt Romney is fundraising with a former Solyndra lobbyist, Alex Mistri. Unfortunately for Mistri, Solyndra filed for bankruptcy before it paid its bills to him, but if Mitt Romney really believes Solyndra was a scandal, perhaps he should first explain why is raising money with a former lobbyist for the company.