Energy Firm Serves as Revolving Door for Bureaucrats

November 20, 2013

It started as a plan small-government conservatives could get behind: spinning off a Department of Energy project into the private sector, where it would save the government money and prosper. It didn't work out that way, says the Washington Examiner.

Instead, the United States Enrichment Corp. became a revolving door where federal bureaucrats left their government jobs for a publicly traded company that paid them millions of dollars, even as it perennially begged the government for assistance in deals that tended to add to taxpayer liabilities and didn't produce any innovative technology on its own.

  • Scarcely three months passed after the company was privatized in 1998 before it ran to the government for an "emergency supplemental" appropriation of $325 million.
  • Since then, it has received virtually every form of government assistance, including loans, grants and contracts, as well as technology giveaways and obscure swaps.

Company officials have told shareholders and creditors that without government money, they have no "viable" business plan and could soon go bankrupt. It has a junk-bond rating and no source of private financing for the new plant it wants to build.

The privatized former government agency and its highly-paid executives said the problem is the government hasn't played a big enough role, and that has caused technological failings and losses that totaled $491 million in 2011 and $1.2 billion in 2012, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Source: Luke Rosiak, "Privatizing Energy Project Enriched Bureaucrats, Drained Federal Coffers," Washington Examiner, November 8, 2013.

 

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