“Another day, another ethics scandal for Katie McGinty. While serving as the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection, emails show that Katie McGinty used taxpayer dollars to bankroll her trips to job interviews across the country. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Katie McGinty is very comfortable using government resources to fund her trips through the revolving door between the public and private sector. Katie McGinty owes Pennsylvanians an explanation as to why she thought it was okay to use taxpayer dollars to hunt for private-sector paydays.” – PA GOP Communications Director Megan Sweeney
Katie McGinty Met With Potential Green Energy Employer on Taxpayer Dime
As top state energy official, McGinty met with green firm in hopes of landing board seat
Washington Free Beacon
August 31, 2016
Katie McGinty used a taxpayer-funded trip to California to meet with a green energy company that she believed could put her on its board of directors once she entered the private sector, according to email records from McGinty’s tenure as secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection.
McGinty, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania, has taken heat for her quick transition from the public sector to lucrative positions at top energy companies. The emails show that McGinty spoke openly about life after government during her final months on the job—including to her former boss, Al Gore.
In a 2008 email to the former vice president, who first hired McGinty to work in his Senate office and then brought her along to the White House, McGinty tried to obtain information about new solar technology that she hoped could help her potential future employers.
“Can’t sleep,” began McGinty’s 3:36 a.m. email to Gore, who was running green energy investments for the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. “I am back to thinking about csp [concentrated solar power].” McGinty was concerned about the “microclimate impact,” “bird impact,” and regulatory challenges of the energy generation method.
McGinty added that she hoped to be put on the board of energy companies, and planned to give them a competitive advantage over other firms by sharing her concerns about concentrated solar power.
One of those firms, the solar company Ausra, happened to be in Gore’s portfolio at Kleiner Perkins.
“Anyway, if I do serve on the bd of one or another of these companies (as you know KP [Kleiner Perkins] has Ausra in its portfolio and I am due to meet w the CEO of that company), I wld aim to help the company convert early awareness of these issues to a competitive advantage,” she wrote to Gore.
McGinty traveled to California three weeks later for the meeting with Ausra—but she didn’t make the trip on her own dime.
Email records show that McGinty met with Ausra and two other energy companies in Gore’s green energy portfolio during a business trip planned by Pennsylvania public employees and paid for with Pennsylvania tax dollars.
The Department of Environmental Protection flew McGinty to San Diego to speak at a conference on Jan. 30, 2008, according to flight confirmation emails obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
McGinty stayed in San Diego that night but took a flight to San Francisco the next day to meet with green energy companies associated with Kleiner Perkins.
Records show that Kleiner Perkins offered to foot the bill for McGinty’s ground transportation in San Francisco, a fraction of the trip’s total cost. The rest was paid for by Pennsylvania taxpayers.
It cost $847.52 for McGinty to stay at the Palace Hotel, according to records. The hotel stay lasted until Sunday even though McGinty had no scheduled meetings over the weekend.
McGinty’s flights for the trip, including the side trip to San Francisco for the Kleiner Perkins meetings, cost an additional $713.50.
McGinty was not given a position at Ausra, which turned out to be a failed investment for Gore and his firm, but she met with other companies during her time in state government that did hire her.
A few months after McGinty’s California trip, she held back-to-back meetings with two firms, NRG Energy and Iberdrola, which placed her on their boards after she resigned from state government that year.
The Department of Environmental Protection spent $524 on the limousine that transported McGinty to the New Jersey headquarters of NRG Energy, a company that paid McGinty $1.1 million over the next five years.
With NRG Energy, McGinty got her wish of being on the board of a company involved in concentrated solar power technology, but she failed to give her firm a “competitive advantage.”
Even with a $1.6 billion grant from the government, the project has produced far less energy than expected and may be shut down. McGinty’s concern about the migratory bird impact of the solar technology also failed to make a difference—NRG’s Ivanpah plant has burnt thousands of birds to death.
To read the entire piece by Brent Sher, please click here.