Lugar Instrumental in Securing Stimulus Funds for Failing Indiana Battery Company Tied to Russian Millionaire

Nov 03, 2011, 17:04 ET from Hoosiers for Richard Mourdock, Inc.

Manufacturer EnerDel being monitored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Electric car battery manufacturer EnerDel, which received a $118.5 million federal stimulus grant, was placed on a "watch list" by the DOE earlier this week for being the latest company in serious financial trouble aided by the department. Last Friday, EnerDel's parent company Ener1 was delisted from the NASDAQ exchange for failing to file a June 30th quarterly report. Ener1 is controlled by Russian millionaire and timber magnate Boris Zingarevich. Senator Dick Lugar supported securing the taxpayer-backed loan for the failing battery manufacturer in 2009.

"First Solyndra, Evergreen Solar, and Beacon Power Corp., now we can add EnerDel to the growing list of DOE loan recipients who have filed for bankruptcy or on life support. Washington bureaucrats have no business picking winners and losers in the business world and this is but the latest example of showing how inept they are as venture capitalist," stated Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who will be opposing Lugar in the 2012 Republican Primary.

In 2009, Senator Lugar was instrumental in securing $6.5 million in Congressional earmarks for EnerDel. He then urged DOE's Energy Secretary Steven Chu to approve the company's application for the $118.5 million grant that was part of Obama's stimulus bill. According to EnerDel's website, the company has received multiple grants and contracts from the federal government. Earlier this week, it has been reported that EnerDel currently has only 33 Indiana positions being supported by the DOE stimulus grant. This currently amounts to $3.5 million per Indiana job in total stimulus money awarded.

"The most troubling part of this entire story is that the American taxpayers are subsidizing a Russian millionaire's company in order to promote President Obama's vision of alternative energy. The problem is, alternative energy really isn't an alternative when it must be subsidized by the government," stated Treasurer Mourdock.

Zingarevich was listed by Forbes Magazine as the 75th richest person in Russia in 2004, with an estimated net worth of $330 million. He has close ties to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and is frequently listed among the powerful and influential businessmen known in Russia as "oligarchs."

Mourdock has previously criticized Senator Lugar's support for earmark spending and has called for an end to the practice. In 2010, Senator Lugar voted against reforming the earmark process.

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