Solyndra Investigation Heats Up

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The House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman’s investigation into the bankruptcy of Solyndra, the solar manufacturing company that was the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s green jobs agenda, is heating up. Republicans allege that the White House, in a series of emails, attempted to pressure officials tasked with making a final decision on the company’s financing, so that Vice President Joe Biden could announce its approval at a 2009 groundbreaking for a new company factory. Committee Democrats, in alliance with the White House, sought to drag the Bush administration into the mix because it began the process of considering loan guarantees to the company in 2006. Yet no loan was ever finalized until Barack Obama became president and the first stimulus package was passed.

The current focus of the probe centers around a series of emails uncovered by investigators for the committee. They demonstrate two things. First, those emails shared with ABC News reveal that the White House was decidedly in the loop regarding the financial deliberations surrounding the company. Two of them indicate serious reservation’s about Solyndra’s viability. “If you guys think this is a bad idea, I need to unwind the WW[West Wing] QUICKLY,” wrote Ronald A. Klain, former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, on March 7, 2009. Three days later, and only nine days before the administration announced that the company would be the first beneficiary of the first stimulus package, a White House budget analyst raised another red flag. “This deal is NOT ready for prime time,” he warned.

Second, emails released exclusively to the Washington Post demonstrate that the Obama administration was, in fact, attempting to rush the federal loan reviewers. The paper notes that White House officials repeatedly asked Office of Management and Budget (OMB) officials when a decision could be made, while reminding them about the upcoming press event. OMB officials reportedly expressed concern that they weren’t being given enough time to make an adequate assessment as to whether the $535 million loan was an acceptable risk. One email referred to “the time pressure we are under to sign-off on Solyndra.” Another warned, “There isn’t time to negotiate.” Yet another OMB staffer sent an email to Joe Biden’s domestic policy adviser, Terrell P. McSweeny, noting that “We have ended up with a situation of having to do rushed approvals on a couple of occasions…We would prefer to have sufficient time to do our due diligence reviews.”

The White House, while admitting to an “active interest,” stressed that interest was all about the timing of the decision, not the merits of the loan. “There was interest in when a decision would be made because of its impact on whether an event involving the vice president could be scheduled for a particular date or not, but the loan guarantee decision was merit-based and made by career staffers at DOE,” said White House spokesman Eric Schultz.

White House press secretary Jay Carney echoed that sentiment to reporters on Air Force One Wednesday. “What the emails, I believe, made clear is that there was urgency to make a decision about a scheduling matter,” he said. “As you know, and you are familiar with it in a way that most Americans aren’t, it is a big proposition to move the president or to put on an event and that sort of thing. So people were simply looking for answers about whether or not we could move forward.” Jonathan Silver, executive director of the Energy Department’s Loan Programs Office, also insisted there was no pressure put on Obama administration staff to finalize the funding for the beleaguered solar manufacturer.

Committee Republicans weren’t buying it. “In this time of record debt, I question whether the government is qualified to act as a venture capitalist, picking winners and losers in speculative ventures and shelling out billions of taxpayer dollars to keep them afloat,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). He further noted that the program was “shrouded in secrecy and uncertainty,” questioning whether the loan represented “one bad bet” or the “tip of the iceberg.”

Whether or not Solyndra is an anomaly or part of a larger agenda remains to be seen. But there is little question that this particular company was a risky investment at best. A timeline published by iWatchNews reveals that concerns about Solyndra’s financial viability go back to 2008, when Fitch Ratings assigned the company a not-so-hot B+ credit rating, and Dun & Bradstreet assessed its credit as “fair.” In March 2010, accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers noted that Solyndra “has suffered recurring losses from operations, negative cash flows since inception and has a net stockholders’ deficit that, among other factors, raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.”

Yet in May 2010, the president delivered an address to an audience of Solyndra employees telling them that “the future is here. We’re poised to transform the ways we power our homes and our cars and our businesses. And we’re poised to lead our competitors in the development of new technologies and products and businesses. And we are poised to generate countless new jobs, good-paying middle-class jobs, right here in the United States of America.” One month later, Solyndra withdrew a scheduled Initial Public Offering (IPO), despite being told by auditors the company wouldn’t last 12 months if it didn’t raise the $300 million it was seeking.

In November 2010, the Department of Energy announced that Solyndra had a “cash flow crisis that is very common for innovative start-up companies that are growing quickly,” even as nearly 180 workers were laid off. In February 2011, the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations launched its investigation, while the company got $75 million from a group led by Obama campaign bundler George Kaiser. The DOE then refinanced its part of the company’s loan, and agreed to put private investors at the front of the line ahead of taxpayers if the company defaulted.

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  • mikidiki

    When someone else's money is available due diligence goes out of the window. Green energy in the red makes a colorful picture.

    • StephenD

      What is worse still is that he doubled down on this despicable behavior in the fact that his friends will be first in line to get their money and the tax payers money have to get behind them. And we're supposed to believe he cares about the people of America?!?

  • CrossofMalta

    The OClowna a man who has never worked or done anything in life except access affirmative action programs and causes – including working for that great group Acorn. OClowna pronouncing Solar as the future;
    "Yet in May 2010, the president delivered an address to an audience of Solyndra employees telling them that “the future is here. We’re poised to transform the ways we power our homes and our cars and our businesses."

    $600 mn wasted on his pet solar company. Why aren't politicians going to jail for this fraud along with Solyndra execs ??????

  • geez

    It's hilarious, Solyndra is a perfect representation of green jobs and this President's future. He's destined to be Jimmy Carter's replacement as the biggest moron to hold the office. Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya BO (and Lurch).

  • Ageofreason

    Yes, the Democrats must take sole responsibility for this boondoggle whether by "manning up," and/or through legal means, but there's one thing the Republicans must face. The fact that the Republicans even considered financing a private enterprise tells us that they don't understand that just as separation of church and state is a foundation of America, so too must be separation of economics and state. The government must stay out of the private business of the nation. If a business fails, so be it. Taxpayer dollars must never go into businesses even if they appear, at some point, successful! It is wrong to do so, and always ends in trouble. Furthermore, government ownership of business has a name: Communism.

  • jacob

    It is my understanding that this SOLYNDRA company manufactured solar water
    heathers and if I'm wrong, please somebody correct me..
    Now, having visited ISRAEL, I've noticed that most houses/apartments have solar
    water heathers and some supplement it with gas heathers for winter, when the
    sun is not as strong but speaking to people knowledgeable on the issueI never
    heard of any such manufacturers enjoying govmt. subsidies as this SOLYNDRA company did but the most strange thing is that almost after receiving the funds,
    it closed for good ???
    And needless to say, it is BUSH administration's fault….
    I know BUSH's administration had quite a few "HOOF IN MOUTH" but it is fully
    unfair to pretend making it the ISRAEL of all the failures of this "administration"
    (For all those not aware of the situation, all of world's troubles are ISRAEL's fault)
    Or isn't it true that even General PETRAEUS claimed that Muslim "insurgents"
    were killing American soldiers because of the Arab-Israeli conflict ????

  • Cuban Refugee

    Will Solyndra become Obama's Watergate? Don't hold your breath … as has been proved by all the recent cover-ups eagerly effected by adoring "journolists," there is a huge hole in the search for truth where today's Woodward and Bernstein ought to be. The universe is witnessing the most corrupt, duplicitous, Chicago-thug administration in the history of our nation, and the press sit on their i-Pads. We have bloggers to thank for any dribble of news; and, if not for Glenn Beck and his nonpareil research staff, We the People would be lambs on the way to slaughter, completely blind to the shenanigans in this red White House. The Fourth Estate may be fearful of being reported to the regime's latest Attack Watch if they expose the truth; but, the weak, traitorous hacks in bed with evil have nothing to fear but their collective conscience for their nefarious roles in our republic's demise.

    • Tanstaafl jw

      The constitution requires that the President of the United States be a natural-born citizen. Not simply a citizen of the US, but a natural-born citizen. A natural-born citizen has two American citizens as parents. This is constitutional requirement for the office. The fourteenth citizenship but says nothing out natural-citizenship and more importantly, does not repeal this requirement for the office of POTUS.

  • Chezwick_mac

    I was thinking the same thing. If a Woodward and Bernstein actually existed today at the Wapo or NYTimes – an unlikely prospect in-and-of itself – they would no doubt be muzzled by the editors of these "respected" institutions.

  • FTrask

    Let us not forget "wind turbines". They would be hugely successful if only our politicians would blow on them. Otherwise, they are just another huge suck-up of taxpayer money.

  • patti

    Looks like Ground Zero has a "Green" problem….

  • BLJ

    Just another reason that Comrade Obama and his cohorts should be residents in the graybar hotel. If there was a Republican in the WH this would be front page news and the dolts in the MSM would be leading the charge.

    This whole "green" energy stuff is just a big time scam. Another way for the supporters of this to steal more money from the American people.

    Finally, how come the bond holders for GM and Chrysler didn't get this kind of guarantee for their investments like some of Obama's fat cat buddies?

  • "gunner"

    right, "no pressure" BANG!

  • mrbean

    The Obama administration will stonewall it and nothing will happen just like when Clinton was having bags of money dropped off at the White House by the Chinese Red Army agent Johnny Cheung or when Clinton was taking bribes for pardons when he left office.

  • polipath

    "Next week, when the top two executives of Solyndra testify – or don’t – we’ll get a much clearer picture of where these investigations are headed."

    I'm guessing they're headed for the same trashcan that Filegate, Chinagate, Berger's theft of Nat'l Archives documents, the guns to Mexico scam, Al Franken's Senate election theft and every other Dem scandal goes. The GOP RINO's always retreat when the D's and their Media Propaganda apparatus threaten to expose some trivial piece of dirt on a GOP solon who was caught holding hands with an intern or some such.

  • Bowmanave

    Its a shame when green industries don't do very well, but nevermind the environment, because when they fail we can bash the current president.

    • kafir4life

      Green industry has nothing to do with the environment. It has to do with redistribution of wealth.

  • kafir4life

    Talk about equality!! Up until now, every single worst president we've had has been white! It refreshing to see that a black man can be a disgusting piece of filth one-term loser too.

  • kafir4life

    President Hussein needs money for his re-selection, and a lot of his previous campaign funding has dried up as former supporters have come down off the drugs. There were presidential "tip jar" concerns that helped fast track the "loans", which were really nothing more than elaborate scams designed to fund Obama's follies at the expense of the taxpayers. His gun running operations, while successful, are not bringin in the kind of cash that he needs, and the dinner raffle is just a failure. No way he can get himself re-selected at 5 bucks a pop.

  • Asher

    This administration knew that Solyndra would run out of money in Sept of 2011 as foretold to them and yet spent over 500 million of Tax payer money to help them…Now look at more layoffs at that company. This administration has deceived everyone, Democrats, Republicans, Hispanics, and Blacks. They don't care about America period, this is Stealth Jihad through government policies and control!

  • Alan D.

    I wonder which is the greater crime and scandal?
    The gunrunning false flag operation, the counterfeit
    birth certificate or Solyndra.
    Alex Jones "Obama Birth Certificate Is Fake".

  • scandals

    Excellent blog here! Also your site rather a lot up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your associate link for your host? I want my website loaded up as fast as yours lol