Judicial Watch sues to get records about former Trump lawyer's possible lobbying for Bellefonte loan guarantee
Judicial Watch is suing the U.S. Department of Energy to obtain records of any communications about how President Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen may have lobbied on behalf of developer Franklin L. Haney, who is seeking up to $5 billion in federal loan guarantees to finish the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant which the Tennessee Valley Authority is selling in Alabama.
The Washington D.C.-based conservative foundation, which says it works to promote transparency, accountability and integrity in government, said the Energy Department improperly failed to respond to its Freedom of Information Act request for any correspondence or records about Cohen's lobbying efforts.
he Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that Cohen was offered a $10 million "success fee" and paid a monthly retainer if he was successful in obtaining the DOE loan guarantee for the Bellefonte project from Haney's Nuclear Development LLC.
Haney, a former Chattanooga developer who is seeking to revive work on the unfinished twin-reactor in Hollywood, Alabama, is seeking the federal loan guarantees to back his financing for the completion of the Bellefonte reactors, which TVA quit building three decades ago.
Haney submitted the winning $111 million bid to buy the abandoned nuclear plant site and equipment two years ago and has until next Wednesday to close the sale, unless TVA grants him an extension. TVA says it doesn't need the power that Bellefonte would generate, although Haney says it could replace other power TVA purchases from other sources.
In June, Haney signed an agreement to hire the Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin to finish construction of Bellefonte. Haney has estimated both reactors could be finished for around $13 billion, which is only about half the cost of what Georgia Power is spending for new nuclear units at its Plant Vogtle in Georgia.