Chicago Energy Firm Has 'Direct Line' to White House

Company co-founded by Rahm Emanuel enjoyed much access
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2012 12:43 PM CDT
In this March 16, 2011 photo, steam escapes from Exelon Corp.'s nuclear plant in Byron, Ill.   (AP Photo/Robert Ray, File)
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(Newser) – In Chicago, Exelon Corporation powered Barack Obama's neighborhood. Now, in Washington, Obama's administration is powering Exelon. The company has a plethora of ties to the administration—it was co-founded by Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod used to consult for it, among others—so it's had easy access to top officials, the New York Times reports. And in many cases that's paid off: It got a $600 million stimulus grant, for instance, and $646 million loan from the Treasury on favorable terms to build a huge solar project.

Environmental regulations have also forced many coal-burning Exelon competitors to close. "We were the hyena looking for dead stuff on the road," a former CEO once said. Exelon says it simply shares a clean energy vision with the White House, and that it hasn't always gotten its way. But one official says Exelon was always treated well. "It is not necessarily unethical," he says. "It is just a fact of life that Exelon … has a fairly direct line to fairly high places in the White House." For many more details, see the Times. (Read more Exelon stories.)

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