Fake News: Nancy Pelosi's Brother-In-Law NOT Given $737 Million Of Taxpayers' Money To Build Giant Solar Power Plant In Middle Of The Desert

Fact Check

  • by: Alan Duke

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fake News: Nancy Pelosi's Brother-In-Law NOT Given $737 Million Of Taxpayers' Money To Build Giant Solar Power Plant In Middle Of The Desert

Was Nancy Pelosi's brother-in-law given $737 million of taxpayers' money to build a giant solar power plant in middle of the desert? No, that's not true: Ronald Pelosi served as a board member for an investment group that invested in a solar energy company that was given a federally-backed loan to build a solar power plant in Nevada, but it is false to say Pelosi was "given" taxpayers' money. Pelosi did not have ownership of the project. He was paid $25,000 a year to serve on the board of the investment group, which California corporate records show dissolved in 2012.

The story originated from a since-corrected 2011 DailyMail.com article that was republished by others without the corrections in 2019, It was more recently repeated in a post (archived here) published by Diamond And Silk on October 6, 2019. It read:

Looks like the Dems are keeping corruption all in the family. It's been alleged that Nancy Pelosi brother-in-law was given 737 Million of tax payer dollars to build a solar power plant in the Middle of the desert. Is this true? How did he get this sweetheart deal? #FollowTheMoney

This is what social media users saw:

The false claim has been turned into a meme that is also widely shared:

Neonnettle.com revived the false story on February 10, 2019, basing it on the retracted 2011 DailyMail.com report. You can choose from three debunk articles -- from FactCheck.org, Snopes.com and The San Francisco Chronicle -- to see what's wrong with those stories. Neonnettle.com revised their story in response to Lead Stories' debunk article.

This is the correction notice added by the DailyMail to its story:

UPDATE: This article has been amended since first publication to remove allegations that Nancy Pelosi's brother-in-law was given $737m of taxpayers' money. We are happy to clarify that the money was in the form of a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy, and that Mr Pelosi did not have a personal financial stake in the outcome.


  • 2019-10-10T19:53:54Z 2019-10-10T19:53:54Z
    Update October 10, 2019: Neonnettle.com corrects its story.

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  Alan Duke

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

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