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« John Stossel, Glenn Beck & Penn Jillette Discuss The Nanny State, Canada and ObamaCare (VIDEO) | Main | Bogie & Bacall: Ron Paul And Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke (VIDEO From Today's Hearing) »

Big Government Cronies: John Stossel On Crony Capitalism And The Obama White House (VIDEO)

Video:  Excerpt from John Stossell's  phenomenal report on Crony Capitalism -- Full investigative report is embedded at the bottom of this story.

While most of the window business seems to be in decline, one little-known company is receiving serious attention from Obama and Biden.

Complete video and accompanying article are inside.


Big Government Cronies

By John Stossel

Many window-making companies struggle because of the recession's effect on home building. But one little window company, Serious Materials, is "booming," says Fortune. "On a roll," according to Inc. magazine, which put Serious' CEO on its cover, with a story titled: "How to Build a Great Company."

The Minnesota Freedom Foundation tells me that this same little window company also gets serious attention from the most visible people in America.

Vice President Joe Biden appeared at the opening of one of its plants. CEO Kevin Surace thanked him for his "unwavering support." "Without you and the recovery ("stimulus") act, this would not have been possible," Surace said.

Biden returned the compliment: "You are not just churning out windows; you are making some of the most energy-efficient windows in the world. I would argue the most energy-efficient windows in the world."

Gee, other window-makers say their windows are just as energy efficient, but the vice president didn't visit them.

Biden laid it on pretty thick for Serious Materials: "This is a story of how a new economy predicated on innovation and efficiency is not only helping us today but inspiring a better tomorrow."

Serious doesn't just have the vice president in his corner. It's got President Obama himself.

Company board member Paul Holland had the rare of honor of introducing Obama at a "green energy" event. Obama then said: "Serious Materials just reopened ... a manufacturing plant outside of Pittsburgh. These workers will now have a new mission: producing some of the most energy-efficient windows in the world."

How many companies get endorsed by the president of the United States?

When the CEO said that opening his factory wouldn't have been possible without the Obama administration, he may have known something we didn't. Last month, Obama announced a new set of tax credits for so-called green companies. One window company was on the list: Serious Materials. This must be one very special company.

But wait, it gets even more interesting.

On my Fox Business Network show on "crony capitalism," I displayed a picture of administration officials and so-called "energy leaders" taken at the U.S. Department of Energy.  Standing front and center was Cathy Zoi, who oversees $16.8 billion in stimulus funds, much of it for weatherization programs that benefit Serious.

The interesting twist is that Zoi happens to be the wife of Robin Roy, who happens to be vice president of "policy" at Serious Windows.

Of all the window companies in America, maybe it's a coincidence that the one which gets presidential and vice presidential attention and a special tax credit is one whose company executives give thousands of dollars to the Obama campaign and where the policy officer spends nights at home with the Energy Department's weatherization boss.

Or maybe not.

There may be nothing illegal about this. Zoi did disclose her marriage and said she would recuse herself from any matter that had a predictable effect on her financial interests.

But it sure looks funny to me, and it's odd that the liberal media have so much interest in this one company. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, usually not a big promoter of corporate growth, gushed about how Serious Materials is an example of how the "stimulus" is working.

When we asked the company about all this, a spokeswoman said, "We don't comment on the personal lives of our employees." Later she called to say that my story is "full of lies."

But she wouldn't say what those lies are.

On its website, Serious Materials says it did not get a taxpayer subsidy.  But that's just playing with terms. What it got was a tax credit, an opportunity that its competitors did not get: to keep money it would have paid in taxes. Let's not be misled. Government is as manipulative with selective tax credits as it is with cash subsidies. It would be more efficient to cut taxes across the board. Why should there be favoritism?

Because politicians like it. Big, complicated government gives them opportunities to do favors for their friends.


Big Government Cronies -- Complete report

Complete video from Hulu -- if Hulu stops hosting the episode in the future, click HERE for the individual episodes on youtube.


Video:  Youtube series (clips play automatically)


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Reader Comments (12)

EXCELLENT video(s), as usual DB! Thank you.

As for Stossel's report: been there, done that. I lived thru this all in Argentina BEFORE, wherein you have some investigative reporters openly airing instances of public corruption, cronyism and insider dealing AND NOTHING EVER HAPPENS. Most Americans assume that the government will automatically step-in and intervene to restore justice and rule of law when things get out of hand.

What ythey FAIL TO CONSIDER is, "what happens when it's THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF that's engaging in such brazen conduct"?

Answer: NOTHING!

Americans should at LEAST have inferred as much from watching so much TV: who ever saw the sheriff arrest HIMSELF?
We're currently at that part of the film where ordinarily Clint Eastwood would come in and shoot the entire corrupt town leadership, restore order, balance and justice ...and then ride off into the sunset.

Quite frankly I was hoping Joe Stack's actions would spark some kind of generalized public reaction that would serve to get BACK our governments attention from their beloved lovers at Goldman Sachs. But although Joe accomplished the first and last parts; namely shooting-up the town & then riding off into the sunset ... number 2 (restoring order, balance and justice) NEVER REALLY HAPPENED.

Now if 500 Joe Stacks came forth .....

Anyway I'm giving this all a rest for awhile. I'm trying to follow SNK's advice and take a step back from all this because I feel it's pissing me off too much for my own good.

Regards comrades!!!
Feb 24, 2010 at 8:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterRecoverylessRecovery
Bonds...out of the frying pan and into the fire...great video DB...take a look before you get all pissy that I didn't talk about how great John Stossel is...

Feb 24, 2010 at 11:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterDB's Ignored Conscience
Americans deserve to be informed of all, accurate facts of any reporting - first and foremost. Read the company's response here:
http://blog.seriousmaterials.com/?p=1007. Stossel did not report any of this background, nor context, and links to the 48c tax credit are public. Seven other companies got a tax credit, and if you look at what Serious Materials did, they bought two bankrupt factories, rehired workers - at the time when the administration is touting their stimulus bill and recovery act. This doesn't look like cronyism to me, it looks like Stossel needs some drama to keep serving his audience - who deserve better.
Feb 25, 2010 at 1:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Cornor
A Plane Crash Into The Beginning Of Civil Unrest In The United States Of America
"There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." -Ludwig Von Mises
The beginning of civil unrest and social uprising in the United States of America reared it’s head and showed us the shape of things to come as social order comes unraveled as a result of the financial collapse and ravaging of the nation [looting the burning mansion model] well on it’s way into 3rd world status.

The heaviness in the air and the lateness of the hour causes myself no surprises in such events as the plane crash in Austin, TX is just an example of what to expect in the coming days, weeks, and months from a nation of people being urinated on and raped by a group of international banksters that hold absolutely no allegiance to anyone or anything. There is much speculation on if this was a patsy, a ploy, a pissed off American, a patriot, or just a false flag staged by the government. I strongly feel that this is just the beginning of some seriously tough times ahead.

Feb 25, 2010 at 1:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterKen
Change you can believe in! (If you believe in the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Global Warming and the idiots on the Nobel Prize Panel.)
Feb 25, 2010 at 6:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterOberon4life
David Cornor, looks like you've been tasked with carrying the water for Serious windows. Cathy Zoi's appointment was announced on March 26, 2009. The Serious brochure makes a big deal about saying she wasn't confirmed or employed until June, 2009. The prez's announcement of her nomination makes no mention of Robin Zoi and Serious Windows.

Even more interesting, Cathy Zoi was a chief executive of Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection. Much of their funding comes from donations connected to the film An Inconvenient Truth, and Al Gore's share of the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Nah, there's no political cronyism here, at all. LOL. As Stossel would say, Give me a break.
Feb 25, 2010 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames H
nice find on cathy zoi and al gore...


gobias...the prechter clip was good...he's always interesting
Feb 25, 2010 at 11:26 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
This is just a blatant example of what goes on in the United States government, both local and national, all the time. Some people call it 'revolving door government' where lawyers work for the FDA, IRS and other government agencies for a few years simply to learn how to beat the rules.

Corporations and business interests in general run the American government and have for at least 100 years with minor periods of adjustment such as the 1930's and during the two world wars.

I don't see why this simple fact is so difficult for people to grasp, especially since the Supreme Court just ruled that corporations can give as much money as they want to elect their boys and girls into office, AND since revolving door Paulsen and his friends bailed out the "banking" industry where they used to be CEO's.

Economics 101:

Fascism: The state controls corporations and all economic activity
Socialism: The government runs all business (example the U.S. Postal Service)
Oligarchy: Business controls all state governments.

The trouble is, all control is relative and temporary and there are revolutions, civil wars and foreign invasions as History 101 teaches us.

You can ignore reality (history, sociology and economics) for a very long time but the longer you ignore it the harder it kicks you in the ass and kicks all of us in the ass when it exacts its pound of flesh. (Remember Neville Chamberlain holding a piece of paper in the air and shouting "peace in our time" after his meeting with Adolf Hitler http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/september/30/newsid_3115000/3115476.stm

All you have to do is go to the average school lunch counter and look at all the candy, fizzy sugar drinks, potato chips and all that other healthy stuff to see who runs America. If that's libertarianism then I don't want any part of it.
Feb 25, 2010 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Street
Obama - Dumbest President Ever

Obama's latest tirade focused on "blaming the GOP for what he called politically motivated opposition on virtually every issue."

Politics? In Washington D.C.? Who knew? Maybe if someone had told him that a political career would involve politics - well, maybe he could have chosen a different career path. How could he have known?

This moron will go down in history as the most petulant, puerile, acerbic, confrontational president in U.S. history. I hate to think that he'll be in office for 3 more years. I get the feeling we haven't seen anything yet.

The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get rich quick theory of life.
-Theodore Roosevelt-

Every generation needs a new revolution.
-Thomas Jefferson-
Feb 25, 2010 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterKen
This doesn't look like cronyism to me, it looks like Stossel needs some drama to keep serving his audience - who deserve better.
February 25, 2010 | David Cornor

What shoe-box has yr wife had you locked in and the basement closet......................... Thats Great, that BHO has gave a tad of our, the peoples money to a little bitty titt.............Company that gave all it had for the BHO Campain.............

Boy, wake the F Up. Let me clue you in here, since you've been in a box for the last 2 years..! Back last year thAre was many Car Dealerships than were forced to go under............................................................"Why".......................................

Becouse they were "R Party" supporters and they will now pay the PRICE ! The ones that payed money to the "D Party" was alowed to stay open. WHY...................................................

Thats how goverment works. You scrach my balls and I'll scrach yr balls. Thats how it works my friend. So he put some uf us starving people back to work, thats fine. Thats better than fine, becouse with out the "Suckking on BHO's ass hole they would still be on the Frickking street.

Thats a good thing..........................................OR..................IS..........IT ? You tell me. The givers to the BHO Camp get new jobs. The starving people that thier boss gave money to the "R Party" Dont Get Fuckkin-Shit" becouse thier boss was on the wrong side.

How Frickkkkkkkkkkin Fair is that to the guy that lives next door to you, and you go camping 8 times with his family a year......? He gets FCK'ed becouse his boss is a tad for the people of America.

Im happy for the people that got back to work. But if you "Stab In the Back" yr fellow man becouse BHO got money from a little company, and by the way, he will neaver save the bigger companys, that would cost a "Shit Load" of the peoples money.

So you better either surch yr sole for the guy next door, or get back into that little box and have your wife lock you back in for the next 100 years. We'll catch ya back up when your back out........................................!

Your either a part of us suffering, our yr part of BHO, and willing to "Stab Your Friend in the Back" for your gain............Are you with us, or aginst us.

Please dont twist the #'s for your gain, Please. If your one of the ones back to work, thank us for having BHO stealling money from us to pay you. If you can live with that, so can I. Im glad your job has been saved, but Please dont shit in our face becouse that SOB took money from us, to save you.

Just pay your bills and be happy. Please dont "Toot Yr Horn"...............it only shits in our face. Yes were happy, just dont rub it in, Please..............................................Were paying for your job with our money that BHO took from us.

Wake up, many people gave up thier job becouse thier boss gave money to the worng side. Its just how goverment works......................!
Feb 25, 2010 at 9:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterTexas Dar
Sorry, I got a bit pissed last night when David Corner stuck up for BHO. Boy dose he need to wake the heck up.

Now, here is a piece I got last May and what took place just down the road a piece from me. I know the Dealer that was forced to shut it down and dump 47 people on the street. Yes, im Pissed Off at the BHO Anamils in Washington. Please read. I cleaned it up the best I could. You'll get the drift. Took me 2 hr. to find it out of 657 saved e-mails !

This is unbelievable.
This could be a scandal of epic proportions and one that makes
Watergate or Clinton 's Monica Lewinsky affair pale by comparison. Why
there neither rhyme nor reason as to which dealerships of the
Corporation were to be closed? Roll the clock back to the weeks just
Chrysler declared bankruptcy. Chrysler, like GM, was in dire
straights and federal government graciously offered to "buy the company"
keep them out of bankruptcy and "save jobs." Chrysler was, in the words
Obama and his administration, "Too big to fail," same story with GM.
The feds organized their "Automotive Task Force" to fix Chrysler and
Obama, in an act that is 100% unconstitutional, appointed a guy named
Rattner to be the White House's official Car Czar- literally, hat's what
title is. Rattner is the liaison between Obama, Chrysler, and GM.
Initially, the national media reported that Chrysler had made this list
dealerships. That is not true. The Washington Examiner, Newsmax, Fox New
a host of other news agencies discovered that the list of dealerships
put together by the "Automotive Task Force" headed by none other then
Steve Rattner. Now the plot thickens. Remember earlier we said earlier
there was neither rhyme nor reason why certain dealerships were
Actually there's a very interesting pattern as to who was closed
Again, on May 27, 2009, The Washington Examiner and Newsmax exposed
connection. Amazingly, of the 789 dealerships closed by the federal=0D
government 788 had donated money, exclusively, to Republican
causes, while contributing nothing to Democratic political causes. The
"Democratic" dealership on the list was found to have donated $7,700
Hillary's campaign, and a bit over $2,000 to John Edwards. This same=0D
dealership, reportedly, also gave $200.00 to Obama's campaign. Does
seem a little odd to you?
Steve Rattner, the guy who put the list together. Well he happens to
married to a babe named Maureen White. Maureen happens to be the
national finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee. As such,
would have access to campaign donation records from everyone in the
Republican or Democrat. But of course, this is just a wacky
we're certain.
Then comes another really wacky coincidence. On that list of
being closed down, a weird thing happened in Arkansas , North Louisiana,
and Southern Missouri . It seems that Bill Clinton's former White House
Chief of
Staff, Mack McClarty, owns a chain of dealership in that region,
with a fellow by the name of Robert Johnson . Johnson happens to be
of Black Entertainment Television and was a huge Obama supporter and=0D
financier. These guys own a half dozen Chrysler stores under the
title of RLJ-McClarty-Landers. Interestingly, none of their dealerships
ordered closed - not one- while all of their competing Chrysler/Dodge
Jeep dealership were! Eight dealerships located near the dealerships
by McClarty and Johnson were ordered shut down. Thus, by pure luck,
two major Obama supporters now have virtual monopoly on Chrysler sales
their zone. Isn't that amazing? Go look in The Washington Examiner,
story's there, and it's in a dozen or so other web-based news
this isn't being made up.
Now if you thought Chrysler was owned by Fiat, you are truly mistaken.
the federal court ruling, 65% of Chrysler is now owned by the federal=0D
government and the United Auto Worker's union- Fiat owns 20%. The other
is still privately owned and presumably will be traded on the stock
Obama smiles and says he doesn't want to run the auto industry.
As horrifying as this is to comprehend, and being as how this used to be
United States of America , it would appear that the president has the
to destroy private businesses and eliminate upwards of 100,000 jobs,
because they don't agree with his political agenda. This is Nazi
stuff, and it's happening right here, right now, in your back yard.
are voices in Washington demanding an explanation, but the "Automotive
Force" has released no information to the public or any of the
demanding answers for what has been done. Keep your ear to the ground
more on this story. If you've ever wanted to make a difference about anything in your life, get on the phone to your national senator or
representative in the House and demand an investigation on this.
Benjamin Franklin had it right when he said, "All that's necessary for
to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
Car Czar No More
An amazing thing happened as this story was going to press. Obama's
Czar, Steve Rattner, resigned on July 13 and was promptly replaced by
steel workers union boss Ron Bloom. According to CBS News, Rattner left
return to private life and spend time with his family." Treasure
Tim Geithner said, "I hope that he takes another opportunity to bring
unique skills to government service in the future." By the way, Rattner
under investigation for a multi-million dollar pay-to-play investment
scandal in New York . Uh-oh! But, we're certain that had nothing to do
his resignation. And, according to several news sources out there, there
rumors he's being investigated for what could be pay-to-play scandal=0D
involving the closing of Chrysler and GM dealerships. Really? Again,
couldn't have anything to with his resignation- that's ridiculous! Like

said, this guy just wants to spend more quality time with his family.
Obama has thirty-two personally appointed "czars" that answer to no one but
all of whom are acting without any Constitutional authority. But hey,
sure they all have "unique skills," as Tim Geithner likes to say.
"Taxpayers already believe the inmates are running the asylum in
Washingt=. Now it appears they are being compensated for their efforts."
Feb 26, 2010 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterTexas Dar
BHO aside, this company never got a dime from the feds. If they really used their own money to buy these plants and hire Americans...we should not be going after them.
Looks like Serious updated their response too
Feb 28, 2010 at 3:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterKelly Jones

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