Rep. Kelly Calls Out CEO for Dumping Stocks Right After Receiving Nearly $1 Billion in Federal Loan Guarantee

May 16, 2012 Issues: Energy, Government Oversight and Reform

Rep. Kelly Calls Out CEO for Dumping Stocks Right After Receiving Nearly $1 Billion in Federal Loan Guarantee

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“You sold almost 700,000 shares of stock in a three-day period. Now you are voting with your feet. You’re getting the heck out of a situation, saying ‘I got to get out of this.’ But what I’d really like to do-- I’d like these hardworking American taxpayers to put money into my company…I’m going to take my money and run and I’m going to ask these hardworking American taxpayers to just keep funneling money in….I have no respect for a situation where the chief executives take their money and run and ask the American taxpayer to continue to fund a project.”

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) participated in today’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing titled, “The Obama Administration’s Green Energy Gamble: What Have All The Taxpayer Subsidies Achieved?” Witnesses included  recipients of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program, which provided billions of dollars in federal funds to support alternative energy projects.

Among those testifying was Michael Ahearn, former chief executive officer and current chairman of the board of First Solar, Inc, a solar panel industry leader. Between 2008 and 2012, Mr. Ahearn sold roughly $450 million worth of First Solar stock. Throughout that period, First Solar’s stock lost nearly 95 percent of its value. In early August 2011, just days after First Solar was awarded its first DOE loan totaling nearly $1 billion, Mr. Ahearn sold approximately 700,000 shares of stock at a value of more than $68.5 million.

Despite receiving a total of more than $3 billion in DOE loan guarantees, First Solar has laid off 30 percent of its workforce and has delayed plans to hire hundreds of employees for its yet-to-be completed Mesa, AZ, facility.

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