On today's edition of his radio show, Glenn Beck's cap and trade conspiracy theory made its triumphant return. Beck hosted Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to discuss legislation that would require Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to disclose information related to a "residential Cap and Trade system." Now, we've spent a lot of time debunking Beck's theory, which supposedly involves a variety of Beck bogeymen, including former Vice President Al Gore, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Van Jones, the Joyce Foundation, and Goldman Sachs. But now he's added a new piece to the story and today asked his listeners to dig up information on Obama administration official Alfred Pollard.
Central to his original theory is a 2006 patent that Beck claims will give "progressive radicals" a "direct pipeline to your wallet." Chaffetz and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) are introducing legislation that would force the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to produce documents related to that patent as well as a patent for a "tamper resistant outlet cover." On Beck's show, Chaffetz claimed that the agency "won't answer my questions" regarding the patents. Beck used this as a stepping stone to discuss a purported Fannie Mae "outlet lock" and to direct his listeners to "do your research" on Pollard -- FHFA's general counsel -- and discover his "connections." From Beck's show:
BECK: Jason, what have you found out on the outlet lock that they have the patent on?
CHAFFETZ: Well they say in this letter that, 'oh this is just a guy on staff.' And they were using it to try to make sure that it doesn't, you know, it doesn't allow surges on computers. Well, baloney. I mean they went so far as to get their attorneys engaged and they went and got these patents. And what it does it, it allows to take an individual unit, and you can go up to the actual outlet -- And it says its for home, it doesn't say its for business - and they go into the home and they can actually turn off your energy. So you - it literally locks down your energy in your home. And the concern that some of us have is that if they're pursuing cap and trade this would also allow them to go and say, 'you know what, you've used too much energy this month, you're not going to be able to access the very outlet that's in your home.'
BECK: The conspiracy here is that - that you - that that would ever happen. But if you look at all of the facts: Cap and trade is done through all of the usual suspects, through the Carbon Climate Exchange. What they're doing is they're trying to sell communities and people this new technology. For instance Van Jones says we're going to have criminals come out of prison and then they'll start making solar panels. Then they'll sell them to individuals so you in your home, what they'll say is, 'for your savings, you just pay us the difference on what your energy bill is now, you pay us how much you're saving, and give us that money and we'll put all of the technology in your house. So they go into your house. They put the technology of the solar panels in. they change your outlets, etc, etc. That's one piece of the technology they own the patent on. The second piece is the way to measure the carbon that you are burning in your home. Then they come at the end of the month and they say 'ok, energy cost is this. You would have paid this without this technology, so pay us 10% of the difference.' That's how they get paid. But if you don't pay, if you -- if something happens, or if you use too much energy, this outlet can only be opened with a special tool that only they have the patent to. So if they lock down your outlets, how do you get electricity?
The letter that Chaffetz references Pollard in response to Chaffetz's and Issa's inquiries into the origins of the patents. The letter dated June 7, 2010, undermines Beck's argument entirely. Specifically, with regard to the "outlet lock," Pollard noted that "[f]ollowing the grant of the patent in 2004, Fannie Mae opted not to pay the maintenance fee due in 2007, thereby placing the patent in the public domain."
Contrary to Beck's assertion, therefore, Fannie Mae's has no proprietary claim to any such nefarious technology and could not arbitrarily "lock down your outlets." Ever since they allowed the patent to expire in 2007, everyone has had access to the technology and design plans of the Fannie Mae patent.
The June 7 letter further debunks Beck's conspiracy theory by relating the results of a 2007 Department of Housing and Urban Development review of Fannie Mae's patent activities. The Department "concluded that Fannie Mae is permitted to acquire, hold and license domestic and foreign patents for any activity except those that are expressly prohibited under its charter."
Another letter Pollard wrote provides more background information on the patents for what Beck deems a "residential Cap and Trade system." The letter explains that Fannie Mae's intention in patenting the "System and Method for Residential Emissions Trading" were far from dastardly. The letter explains:
"Like many others in the housing industry Fannie Mae felt in the early 2000s that green building trends would further expand to residential housing. During this time, Fannie Mae, in coordination CO2e.com LLC, explored the possibility of helping residential housing developers and home builders gain access to capital by promoting the exchange of energy savings to be realized by building energy efficient homes. Fannie Mae viewed this concept at the time as a means to contribute to the financing of residential housing developments, without consideration for and independently from legislative efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. In short, the purpose of the invention described in the patent was to encourage the financing of energy efficient homes.
In filing the patent application, Fannie Mae did not intend to enter the energy trading business. Residential emission trading, if developed in the market, would be conducted by others in the financial industry or other subject matter experts. Similarly Fannie Mae did not pursue a patent out of a desire for potential royalties, but instead with the hope that it could help facilitate the implementation by others of its original concept that residential builders could leverage their investments made in building energy efficient houses."
This is just further evidence that Beck's cap and trade grand conspiracy theory is completely unfounded.