Politics

Highway bill amendment defeated that would have sent billions to Soros, Pickens, Douglas companies

The Senate Tuesday killed legislation to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to encourage companies to use natural-gas powered vehicles. The legislation also would have benefited wealthy backers of the Democratic measure, including George Soros, T. Boone Pickens, and Kevin G. Douglas.

The amendment to the highway bill required 60 votes to pass but was defeated 51 yeas to 47 nays.

First reported by HUMAN EVENTS, the measure sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sen. Richard Burr (R- N.C.) would distribute billions in subsidies to these key entities and others for the purchase of natural gas vehicles and to build fueling stations. It would be funded through a new tax on consumers that charged 2.5 cents per gallon of natural gas beginning in 2014, with another increase to 12.5 cents in 2021.

“Gas prices are skyrocketing and meanwhile natural gas is $1.50 cheaper than gas, and we have 100-plus years of supply we can draw from,” Menendez said. “The only thing in our way is so few natural gas vehicles and gas stations on the road.” Menendez and Burr said their measure would give the natural gas market a needed jump-start by the federal government. “This gives it a five-hour energy drink,” Burr said. “This is essential if you want natural gas prices to stay down.”

With only a few minutes of debate allowed before the vote, no Senators on either side of the aisle spoke out against the New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions (NATGAS) Act.

Earlier in the day, Menendez said their measure would displace 20 billion gallons of petroleum. “Is this just another handout to energy companies? The answer to that question is a resounding no,” Menendez said.

The amendment was opposed by an unusual alliance of free market organizations and environmental groups who urged Senators in a letter Tuesday to vote against the measure.

“By providing billions in tax subsidies, the NATGAS Act interferes in the marketplace to favor natural gas over other transportation and energy technologies that may be more cost-effective or sustainable,” said the letter from Taxpayers for Common Sense, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Heartland Institute, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, among others.

The NATGAS Act provides significant subsidies for natural gas at all levels of production — from manufacturing and infrastructure to consumer tax credits — carrying an estimated $5 billion price tag, the organizations said.

“While a consumer fee would be used as an offset over the long-term, the fee does not even begin (to) phase in until 2014, sticking taxpayers with the immediate fiscal impacts,” the organizations said.

The office of Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) declined to comment on whether he will withdraw support for the House version of NATGAS, which he introduced April 6, 2011.

Among the bill’s big beneficiaries would have been George Soros, T. Boone Pickens, Kevin G. Douglas as companies under their control stood to reap the rewards of billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies contained in the Democratic-sponsored measure.

The act would have subsidized three different enterprises controlled by Soros, Pickens and Douglas, who consistently rank among the most generous political donors, according to Federal Election Commission Records.

Moreover, HUMAN EVENTS has learned that one of these companies, Fuel Systems Solutions based in Santa Ana, Calif., has and continues to conduct business, through its foreign subsidiaries, with customers in Iran, according to the company’s U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The company acknowledges in those filings that tougher international economic sanctions levied in light of that nation’s civilian nuclear program may adversely affect its Iranian-based revenues in 2012, as such measures have in the past.

Douglas is a key shareholder in Fuel Systems, and he is the largest individual investor in Westport Innovations, a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based supplier of natural gas engine systems and retrofit kits. Westport’s investors also include Soros Fund Management, an investment vehicle of the Soros family. Westport’s board previously included T. Boone Pickens, who currently owns Clean Energy Fuels Corporation, a Houston-based supplier of natural gas.

Fuel Systems, Westport and Clean Energy Fuels constitute what Robert Brown, a stock analyst with Craig-Hallum Capital in Minneapolis who specializes in the energy sector, referred to as “the big three” of the natural gas-powered automation arena in North America. The companies are all relatively small in terms of revenues and considered speculative as stock investments, but the NATGAS act would allow them to profit from their research, design and development.

Clean Energy Fuels supplies liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG), and specializes in the development of natural gas distribution platforms. Westport and Fuel Systems offer engine and fueling systems for vehicles that run on CNG, an alternative to gasoline, and LNG, an alternative to diesel.

Brown said that all three companies would profit handsomely on passage of the NATGAS act and that all three will be harmed should Congress scuttle the Menendez Amendment.

Pickens, Soros, Douglas fund NATGAS act proponents

The three investors and their affiliates are on record as financially supporting proponents of the NATGAS act, according to FEC reports. Douglas and his wife Michelle have contributed more than $130,000 to President Barack Obama, Democrats and Democratic super PACs since 2009, according to FEC records, including to Nat Gas act supporter Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.).

Soros’ history of Democratic financial support is well known, such as $1.5 million to MoveOn.org from 2003 and 2004. In 2011, Soros gave $175,000 to the House Majority PAC and the Majority PAC, two super PACs whose donations have come mostly from American labor unions, according to FEC records. He has also given broadly to Democratic committees since 2009.

Pickens, his wife Madeleine and senior employees of Clean Energy Fuels have contributed more than $150,000 to politicians and committees that support the NATGAS act, according to FEC reports. Pickens and his wife gave $60,800 to House Representatives, including the act’s sponsor, Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.)

To Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) or related committees, the couple has given $20,800. To the Democratic Parties of New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada, all key states for the natural gas industry, the couple has given $30,000.

Clean Energy Fuels employees have given a combined $19,750 to congressional representatives who support the NATGAS act, and $10,500 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, according to a HUMAN EVENTS review of FEC reports. Clean Energy Fuels employees have also given $7,800 to Sen. Reid and $4,400 to Sen. Menendez.

Fuel Systems in Iran

Details regarding Fuel Systems’ business in Iran are available in the company’s Form 10-K filed March 8, 2012 for the year ended Dec. 31, 2011. The company’s investor relations spokesperson declined to comment on the companies operations in Iran and phone calls to the company’s corporate office were not returned as of Tuesday morning.

The SEC document, filed March 8, 2012 for the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, contains the following:

Some of our foreign subsidiaries have done, and may continue to do, business in countries subject to U.S. sanctions and embargoes, including Iran.

Some of our foreign subsidiaries sell fuel delivery systems, related parts and accessories to customers in Iran, a country currently subject to sanctions and embargoes imposed by the U.S. government, the European Union (“EU”), the United Nations, and other countries. In addition to Iran, there are other countries that are also subject to sanctions. These sanctions are complex. We believe we have procedures in place to conduct U.S. and foreign operations without violating U.S., EU, or other sanctions. However, if we fail to comply with U.S. sanctions, EU sanctions or other sanctions in our foreign operations, we could be subject to material fines and penalties and incur damage to our reputation, which may lead to a reduction in the market price of our common stock.

In addition, our foreign subsidiaries’ sales to Iran could reduce demand for our common stock among certain of our investors for political reasons.

Recent Iranian sanction laws and regulations have adversely affected our revenues and may cause us other adverse consequences.

In June 2010, the United Nations Security Council by Resolution voted to impose a new and expanded round of sanctions against Iran. In July 2010, the European Union implemented the UN Resolution. On July 1, 2010, President Obama signed into law the new Comprehensive Iran Sanctions and Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010 (the “CISADA”). In November 2011, President Obama signed Executive Order 13590 imposing broad sanctions similar to those included within the CISADA and which expressly apply to any individual or entity (whether or not a U.S. person). In January 2012, the EU expanded its sanctions against Iran. The expanded round of laws and regulations imposing sanctions on Iran has not significantly impacted our revenues derived from this country. We can offer no assurance that any further expansion of Iranian sanctions will not further adversely affect our revenues and cause us other adverse consequences.

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KIDDSVG26ZNPSUXYEJF6NFETPE Robert

    Natural gas makes common sense.  No politics need be involved.  No subsidies required.  DOH

  • http://PalinsDirtyLittleSecret.blogspot.com/ CoverUpPartTwo

    After the coup and cover up too bad the media couldn’t report on Soros involvement in the last election.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ed-Cole/1781461369 Ed Cole

    We can “help” natural gas and some of the newer energy technology development without engaging in radical egalitarian-type regulatory and policy strategies that aim to make alternative energy sources “more competitive” price-wise with oil by artificially raising the price of oil.

    This is the same tired, failed, radical liberal ideology that advocates forcing the fastest runners to carry large weights while they run, in order to allow the slower runners to have a “fair chance” in the race. Or, in practical application, that bans foot races, or any other competition in elementary schools where the slower kids’ self esteem might be hurt because they came in last. 

    This is the ideology the present administration is applying to energy policy.  They are stalling on an oil pipeline from Canada; they are fomenting unrest in the Middle-East (Arab Spring) and attempting to provide support to the Muslim Brotherhood factions that are taking over; they are stalling in offensive action against Iran’s non-peaceful nuclear armament. The last two policy actions by the administration are intentional, in order to escalate regional tensions, which directly increases the price of crude oil.  

    They KNOW that all the “alternative energy” options are too immature, or will never be able to mature to a sustainable level to compete with oil in the free market, so the only desperate ploy they can use is to impede the supply of oil, thus driving up its price to where the also-rans in the energy market look slightly less stillborn in their competitiveness.

  • ProudVet1

    The NG shale boom has created tens of thousands of American jobs in states like Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Louisiana.  The technology innovated by the American NG companies is being being applied to extract oil from shale in the Dakotas.  The boom in NG production has resulted in the USA becoming an exporter of NG. A fuel that has been safely used to power cars and trucks for decades. 

    The Nat Gas act would support converting 18 wheelers to CNG and installing fuel pumps across the country. In addition to the fuel pump installation and re-outfitting diesel engines with CNG engines,  new pipelines would be built, more drilling would occur, and steel would be produced for the construction. With the exception of steel production NONE of these jobs could be outsourced. The NG act is real stimulus, unlike the $700 billion handout to states (porkulus). It will also keep hundreds of millions a year in the United States, supporting American industry. Right now that money goes to Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. 

    Drill here, drill now, use CNG and pay less!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Sheridan/100001243219577 John Sheridan

    This will continue as long as we have “The best politicians that money can buy”.   All federal elections should be mandatory federally funded with all candidates equally funded.  Whatever this might cost will be regained five times over when there are no ‘paybacks’ from spending bills(like Solyndra).  This should pass the supreme court now that the PACs can spend without limit giving many outlets for ‘free speech’ requirements.  Oh, and 12 years of service in congress maximum(both chambers combined).  The founding fathers did not approve of career politicians or expansive government.

  • Patriot41

     Nothing leftist about wanting that which is right for our country!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VRGHDPHGUVC7QT7GTFMBXCCZCQ moreintellectthanu

    Idiots everywhere here. Culture warrior is a libitard with no facts and HK Charlies mom is throwing herself at white guys for $20. You all need to STFU

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KNE6GBV6TUJO543A2AJ7XESNKM Jake

    Then why have gas prices doubled…no OIL MAN BOGEY ???

  • NickSJ

     And if controlled government forces like the CAFE fuel economy standards cause tens of thousands of additional highway deaths and hundreds of thousands of additional serious injuries, that’s just “oh well?”  And if government sponsored environmentalist lies about CO2 cause hundreds of millions of people to suffer from higher costs for energy and everything made with energy, as well as hundreds of thousands of fewer high paying jobs in the energy industry, that’s just “oh well?”

  • griefman

    And check out the Pelosi connections to this matter. I smell something and it really stinks.

  • Guest

    The Obama Administration knows for sure now that they will go the way of Jimmy Carter come November. What we are seeing now is a Looting of the American Economy and Society as fast as possible before January when the GOP takes over. It is now comical. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KNE6GBV6TUJO543A2AJ7XESNKM Jake

    What do you mean. You got and average min $40 payroll tax gift. Now they say it will help with gas prices. They are right, for the first 10 gallons ONCE A MONTH. The Dem’s are worst than the R’s. They hate and play harder.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZNAV3ESWOX7RU337UA7EOFSBL4 decmocratsrcommunits

    when you have a stupid frail weak unelectable kenyan in his death -throws, just about anything can happen. America is coming for obama and his hick supporters and there’s not a thing they can do about it save hang themselves

  • griefman

    And he said “no strings attached”

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/LB5H5GKAVW7ISNTJ4E36S7J6P4 liamland

    Is anyone surprised? Soros is Obama’s puppet master.

  • Dustoff

    Yeah UNION spending means zip. Even when the members hate the way it’s spent. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KNE6GBV6TUJO543A2AJ7XESNKM Jake

    Did you know John F’ing Kerry served in Viet Nam? Great example, caught cheating his state out of taxes on his boat.

  • griefman

    The algae was the incorrect octane you ninny. 

  • dginga

    Because they were the ONLY company in the world with the capability to DO the specialized work the government hired them to do.  The other work they did (and Halliburton is a highly diversified company) was work that competed with other companies in the government bid process.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KNE6GBV6TUJO543A2AJ7XESNKM Jake

    Need REV WRIGHT to bless it. Rememeber…GD America?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_M7HDP7X56OLGUHX3UKGAYHEQMQ Head Ruffian

    Why not quit all the subsides and ease up on the regulation ?  Its free, its fair and it is how the market is intended to operate. 

  • griefman

    prove it……  or do you mean lives created/saved????

  • Dustoff

    The Nat Gas act would support converting 18 wheelers to CNG and installing fuel
    *************************

    Ahhhhh do you understand the size of the fuel tank

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KNE6GBV6TUJO543A2AJ7XESNKM Jake

    You are looking at it all wrong. What is a 1/2 billion when you gen up $500 thousand for the mans campaign?

  • 1LonesomeDove1

    All the lefties know is that Halliburton was involved in Iraq. They never said a word of criticism before that, and anyone connected to Bush becomes an immediate target for a smear campaign.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DFWECSWYWZHKYXU4TIPSHD3VJA mountainbiker

    The U.S. Government for sale! Perish the thought.

  • ProudVet1

    Sir, I worked in the oil and gas industry for years. I can assure you that I am an “all of the above” guy and I want to see the XL pipeline built. 

    That said, the NG act is a very, very good idea. Sometimes the government needs to lend a hand to get good ideas going. It took an act of congress and millions in loans during the 1800s to get the railroad industry started in the USA. 

  • Dustoff

    Thanks for showing us (again) how stupid you really are. What does ” Halliburton” do.

  • antidrone

     The NG boom is a good thing. But let the market fund it, NOT the taxpayers for the direct benefit of Hussien Obamas crony’s!

  • griefman

    probably not; but when Mitt (that is what nonlibtards call him) is elected, your access to internet comments will be revoked.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KNE6GBV6TUJO543A2AJ7XESNKM Jake

    Agree. Dogma, and people like Culture_Warrior  will always justify bad behoaivor with previous bad,  and you never move off the dime. Mr. Obama wants “higher” than $5.00 gas. Then we are focred to green equal level spending. But it is six years aways so there is no transition, just shock.   Hosuing, he and the like of Dodd and Franks pressed for no docs, no down housing which now is “no good” and blame banks. DUH The Dem policy is like there budget, not there and nothing.                  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FZTRU2NIOFNU5XSLWEE3DWYKPM TJP

    We shouldn’t be subsidizing transportation period. If the technology is good, it will prevail in the free market. If not, it should wither on the vine. That having been said, billions of dollars of subsidies have been totally wasted on expensive, inefficient electric cars, batteries, solar panels, etc. Natural gas is non-polluting, offers power efficiency equivalent to $2 gasoline, and we have a 50+ year supply. If we are going to subsidized -anything- , it should be natural gas and not electric.

  • Texas_Freedom

    And seemingly powerless to do anything about it . . .

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Carden/100002905013137 Kevin Carden

    Thank goodness this thing did not pass.  Did anyone read about the money to build “refueling stations”  the Liberals won’t  build any more nuclear power-plants because of the danger but have no problem with natural gas refueling stations!?  That would have been a terrorists dream!  Just drive your car bomb up to a station, connect it to an enormous  natural gas tank and watch it blow.  these people don’t put an ounce of thought beyond what they will get out of it financially, or politically, into anything they do, unbelievable

  • seaarrow

    It is what happens when Obama lets Soros write pending bills.  Or should I say Soros dictates to Obama what he wants in a bill.        OMG

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Carden/100002905013137 Kevin Carden

    It seems more and more like Obama doesn’t even got to the toilet without permission from Soros

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7RCD3Z75OBX3D6WNVOSO4VUBKQ Obamammy

    Cuckoo…..cuckoo…..cuckoo….cuckoo….

  • psadie

    When is this BS going to stop with the Dems and Soros?  Both are pillaging this great nation for their own pockets.  WHEN is Soros going to be arrested along with the shady Dems.  It is an utter disgrace and a shame what is being done to the American people and their nation!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_X4R4ISMSR3X4GYQLO34WLINL24 Mike

    And how would this be different from funding billions to Solar companies which are failing at a incredible rate. At least Natural gas is a proven and real alternative. That said, I don’t think the government  should be picking ANY winners. They need to stay out of it, and stop throwing away money on Solar and other alternative companies.  Let the free market do it’s thing.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XGHPKWL5KYMR5YK7UZHORX4O4A Lyndie

    Ever hear of compressed gas?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Carden/100002905013137 Kevin Carden

    Especially since it’s OUR money, not theirs.  I’m surprised they don’t start sending congressional clerks to Vegas with big chunks of taxpayer dollars to try to “invest” in some of the roulette tables

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XGHPKWL5KYMR5YK7UZHORX4O4A Lyndie

    Your use of the “word” repug shows your alligence to the Democratic Party. This story exposes people like George Soros for what they are. And, you can’t let an opportunity go by to spread the blame can you? If it had been Republicans in the news you wouldn’t be so kind.

  • Steve Bunten

     Lyndie, that is where you are sorely mistaken.  I am very conservative.  But those Republicans who also support Crony Capitalism like this are repugnant and need to be voted out in the next primaries and replace with those who truly believe in the Free Market and let it do its magic.

    We know where most of the Dems stand on things like this (except for the development of our own energy sources, something I am sure that the EPA will try to stop by coming up with some reason why fracking is environmentally dangerous).  If they can help their contributors and supporters with regulations, subsidies, etc. they will.  I just don’t want the Republicans to do the same–have had enough of that with ethanol and other subsidies like that.

    Hope this helps!

  • quick_quip

    Standing by?  They are helping it along.  While this attempted larceny rates right up there, the payouts to his bankster and union cronies has to be the epitome of generational theft. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cka-Redstate-America/100003211888505 Cka Redstate America

     It’ll stop when the majority of voters in state and federal elections decide to toss from office the Democrats/progressives/liberals/leftists causing the problem.

    But, then, those voters have to perceive or know there’s a problem.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XGHPKWL5KYMR5YK7UZHORX4O4A Lyndie

    Plus it has since been proven that DDT was not the great environmental scurge portrayed by those who fell in love with Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”.  Not only are over 40 million people dead from malaria since they banned DDT, but it wasn’t even the problem the environmentalists screamed about.