Is conservative ire at plug-in cars shifting (slowly) from the Chevrolet Volt to Fisker Automotive? A new attack ad targeting President Obama certainly brings the California-based automaker further into the political fight – following Fisker ex-chair's comments about Mitt Romney – by making insinuations that the DOE is spending money to create jobs in Finland. As regular readers know, this isn't true, even though there is a connection between Fisker and Finland because that's where Valmet builds the company's Karma model. The DOE did approve a $529-million loan to Fisker, but hasn't given the company all of the money and the money that was spent on the Karma was for engineering and design work done in the U.S., Fisker said.
Released Thursday, the ad conflates these facts, as you can see down below. The DOE responded charitably, saying critics "are misunderstanding the loan," instead of accusing them of playing politics. The ad, which looks at various cases of what it calls wasteful spending, was released by Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a conservative group that gets some funding from the Koch brothers.
According to Delaware Online, two Republican U.S. Senators – Chuck Grassley (IA) and John Thune (SD) – are picking up the attack baton, writing a letter to DOE Secretary Stephen Chu Friday asking him to defend the Fisker loan. They write, "Though the Department of Energy has now frozen the remaining portion of Fisker's loan, questions remain as to why a loan was extended to this now 'troubled' auto company in the first place." The DOE is looking into things on its own, announcing recently it would assign a loan consultant to the Fisker situation.