…on a couple of levels (but, no, it didn’t generate a tingle down my leg). Paul Chesser, of the National Legal and Policy Center, wrote about a law firm and Fisker Automotive earlier this week. Of particular interest to me in the article were two things. One was this:
Debevoise & Plimpton LLC, received $1,842,180 in Recovery Act funds to provide legal advice, conduct due diligence, and review documents for two loans from DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. One $529 million loan award was to Fisker Automotive to develop and produce two lines of electric vehicles….
Debevoise provided the same services to DOE for its $5.9 billion loan to Ford Motor Company, to convert five of its factories…so they can produce more fuel-efficient vehicles.
That’s a potful of taxpayer money for what seems a straightforward legal task (I won’t go into the political donations employees of the firm made; there’s more of that in the article. Besides, there’s no evidence of anything illegal having been done here). Perhaps some of the lawyers reading this can weigh in on the actual costs and charges such analyses normally entail. I also wonder how many jobs were “saved or created” by this particular Stimulus payout. Oh, wait, Chesser addressed this:
At the height of its legal services activity for DOE, 1.25 jobs were created that were attributable to Debevoise’s work on the two loans.
The other thing is the quality of the due diligence and analysis provided. Now it’s certainly possible that loans on which proper due diligence has been done will still fail. But getting information about this particular loan analysis out of the Department of Energy has been like pulling teeth from a chicken. Judicial Watch has been forced to sue in Federal court under the Freedom of Information Act to get any serious data concerning this loan of taxpayer money. The cynic in me has to ask what information has the administration so nervous.