Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) rendered a significant service to the United States by uncovering a potential pay-to-play scheme during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on Thursday. The scheme involved Joe Biden’s widely recognized “$400 billion Man.”
Jigar Shah, who holds the position of head of the Energy Department’s loan program, found himself in an uncomfortable spotlight as Senator Hawley revealed how he had been attending dinners with energy industry insiders, suggesting questionable associations.
During his questioning, Hawley pointed out that these individuals were seemingly paying for access to Shah, a claim that Shah initially disputed dubiously. However, when Hawley pressed the matter further, Shah was unable to provide a clear response.
Biden DOE official acts like a deer in the headlights when I ask him about his pay-to-play speaking events pic.twitter.com/Vn7ANVEtxk
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 19, 2023
Hawley: Mr. Shah, I just want to follow up, I didn’t understand your answer to the ranking member…so you do attend dinners with industry leaders where they pay to hear you speak? Is that a yes or a no question?
Shah: No, I, uh, attend many, many events some of which I am invited to speak at…
Hawley: And they don’t pay?
Shah: And many don’t pay and some are like paid conferences and others but one of the things…
Notice how he just said some of these conferences do pay? Hawley sure did.
Hawley: Wait, that was a yes and a no so let’s just go back. Do you attend events where people pay to hear you speak?
Shah: I have attended where people pay to attend the event.
Hawley: Do you think that is a good idea?
Shah: I think it’s important for us to meet potential applicants, American innovators and entrepreneurs who want to scale up their technologies…
Hawley: Applicants for loan programs?
Shah: Applicants for DOE funding (so, yes).
Hawley: Wait a minute. You think it’s a good idea to go to events where people are trying to get federal money to see you?
Shah: They’re not paying to see me.
Hawley: I though you just said just spoke at events where people paid?
Shah: Not to see me. I’m not that important (laughs nervously).
Hawley (flabbergasted): Wow. You learn new things everyday. What’s your title? You’re the director of what?
Shah: Of the (DOE’s) loan program’s office.
Hawley: You’re the director of the loan program’s office for the federal government at the Department of Energy. People who want to get loans from the government are paying to see you and you think that’s fine?
Shah: (left completely speechless).
Hawley: That’s not a rhetorical question.
If Senator Hawley’s assertions, which appear highly credible, hold true, this could potentially evolve into a substantial pay-for-play scandal.
In July, the Wall Street Journal already pointed out that Shah had been referred to as Joe Biden’s “$400 billion man” by the President’s team. This designation was due to his influential role in channeling substantial taxpayer funds towards green energy initiatives that have faced scrutiny for their efficiency.
Given his pivotal role in allocating significant public funds, is it really plausible to believe that Shah is not a figure of importance significant enough to engage with prominent industry insiders?