01.16.2018 0

Obama mega-donor tries to manipulate Trump using solar trade case

By Rick Manning

Trying to untangle the web of financial interests behind the two foreign solar panel manufacturers that have filed a trade case against hundreds of American-owned solar companies is tricky: one company is controlled by a foreign hedge fund, while the other company’s equity is split between German cronies of Angela Merkel and the Qatari government. The two companies are asking President Trump to impose tariffs against hundreds of American-owned solar companies, and the potential payout if they are successful runs into the billions.  But one of the biggest potential beneficiaries of this windfall has gone largely unnoticed to date: Democratic mega-donor Mark Gallogly.

Gallogly is the managing principal of Centerbridge Partners, a hedge fund that made a secured loan to the German/Qatari-owned Solar World that stands to earn Gallogly the single biggest payout from the solar trade case if Trump sides with the two foreign companies. Who is Gallogly?  He was an Obama bundler from his first run for the Presidency whom Obama appointed to serve on an Advisory Board during his first term. In exchange for over $650,000 Gallogly and his wife donated to Obama’s foundation, the couple were routinely invited to dine at the White House with celebrities and foreign leaders.

And ever since President Trump was elected, his funding of Democratic candidates and causes has exploded: over $33,000 a piece to the Democrats’ House and Senate campaign committees, maximum donations to almost every single Democrat Senator running for election this year, as well as recently elected Alabama Senator Doug Jones.

It is possible a decision to impose the solar tariffs for Solar World could earn Gallogly a payout of over $500 million dollars, money he would almost surely use to bankroll more anti-Trump political activity. He’s already funding potential liberal challengers to President Trump like New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, where Solar World’s U.S. operations are located.  Could he also use some of that $500 million in direct attacks on President Trump like his fellow limousine liberal, Tom Steyer?

The circumstances of the solar trade case are absurd: two foreign companies backed by liberal hedge fund traders are asking for tariffs that are opposed by hundreds of American-owned solar companies, as well as steel equipment manufacturers throughout the Midwest and South. This is purely a case where unscrupulous liberals are trying to use President Trump’s commitment to support U.S. manufacturing to get themselves a huge bailout on the backs of American factory workers in the Midwest who oppose these tariffs. Then they will turn around and spend their tariff windfall on Democrats who oppose Trump and his agenda. This is the Swamp at its worst.

President Trump’s choices in the solar trade case are clear: on one side you have Germans, Qataris, foreign hedge funds, and Mark Gallogly, a personal crony of Obama and someone who stands to use the proceeds of this case to inject millions into Democratic efforts to oppose President Trump. On the other side you have Republican members of Congress allied with American-owned, family run factories in the Midwest and South that produce steel equipment for the solar industry using American-made steel, and the 38,000 American workers at these factories that oppose solar tariffs.

This is one trade case where President Trump needs to take a hard look at what his enemies are trying to do.

President Trump needs to reject the International Trade Commission recommendation that benefits Obama cronies and foreign investors at the expense of American companies and workers.

It is President Trump’s decision. And in this case, tariffs harm U.S. business and worker interests and should be rejected.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government


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