Obama administration knew $535 million Solyndra loan was too risky

FBI agents remove evidence from Solyndra Headquarters
FBI agents remove evidence from Solyndra Headquarters

Here’s the latest from the radically leftist New York Times.

Excerpt:

Republican lawmakers, escalating the political furor over the collapse of a solar equipment manufacturer that received a $528 million government loan, released excerpts from Obama administration e-mails on Wednesday suggesting that the White House pressed federal officials to wrap up their review of the loan quickly for political purposes.

In the e-mails, officials at the Office of Management and Budget expressed frustration that they were being put under time pressure to sign off on the loan to the company, Solyndra, two years ago so that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. could announce its approval at a groundbreaking for a factory. The White House wanted an announcement that would show progress on job creation.

The disclosure became a focus of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on Wednesday about the loan to Solyndra, which has developed into a political headache for the Obama administration. The administration used the company as a prime example of stimulus bill dollars creating “green jobs.” But Solyndra recently filed for bankruptcy protection and closed its factory, and its headquarters was raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, apparently in connection with the loan.

The bankruptcy filing and the raid “clearly show that the committee was more than justified in its scrutiny of the deal,” said the panel’s chairman, Representative Fred Upton, Republican of Michigan. “Why did the administration think Solyndra was such a good bet?”

[…]Suspicions that the administration might have pushed the loan for political reasons have centered on the fact that a major investor in the company is a charitable foundation associated with George B. Kaiser, a billionaire from Tulsa, Okla., who raised $50,000 to $100,000 as a “bundler” for President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Logs show that Mr. Kaiser visited the White House on several occasions during the spring and summer of 2009, while the loan to Solyndra was being considered. Among the officials he met with were the chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, and Pete Rouse and Valerie Jarrett, both senior advisers to Mr. Obama.

[…]While Mr. Kaiser’s connection to the Obama campaign and to Solyndra, based in Fremont, Calif., have helped draw attention to the loan, he was not a major topic of discussion at the hearing on Wednesday. Republicans did, however, press those testifying on whether the Solyndra bankruptcy offered proof that the government should not be lending to companies that have trouble raising money from private investors.

“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,” Mr. Upton said.

ABC News reported on the contents of the e-mails: (H/T Director Blue)

The company’s solar panel factory was heralded as a centerpiece of the president’s green energy plan — billed as a way to jump start a promising new industry. And internal emails uncovered by investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee that were shared exclusively with ABC News show the Obama administration was keenly monitoring the progress of the loan, even as analysts were voicing serious concerns about the risk involved. “This deal is NOT ready for prime time,” one White House budget analyst wrote in a March 10, 2009 email, nine days before the administration formally announced the loan.

“If you guys think this is a bad idea, I need to unwind the W[est] W[ing] QUICKLY,” wrote Ronald A. Klain, who was chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, in another email sent March 7, 2009. The “West Wing” is the portion of the White House complex that holds the offices of the president and his top staffers. Klain declined comment to ABC News.

I think people need to get very clear on what “stimulus” spending is. Stimulus spending is nothing more and nothing less than taking money from the private sector job creators (“tax the wealthiest Americans”) and giving it to the people who got the socialists elected (“rebuilding our crumbling roads”).

More details from the Daily Caller.

Excerpt:

In light of the Solyndra bankruptcy, terms like “economic stimulus package” and “green jobs” now appear to be Team Obama code words for “kickbacks to political supporters so huge they would make a third-world despot green with envy.”

Solyndra is (or, more accurately, was) a California solar energy company that was the crown jewel of Obama’s first economic stimulus package, which cost $787 billion. Solyndra’s chief investor, George Kaiser, was also a bundler for Obama’s 2008 campaign, gathering over $50,000 in campaign contributions. Kaiser, together with Solyndra executives and board members, donated $87,050 to Obama’s campaign.

As part of the economic stimulus, Obama’s Department of Energy (DOE) fast-tracked a loan of $535 million (at the lowest interest rate granted by the DOE program) to Solyndra in 2009 to create green jobs. All other energy companies that received loans are paying an interest rate three to four times higher, and Solyndra got this amazing deal despite a Dun & Bradstreet credit rating that was only “fair.”

About a year later, Solyndra wasn’t making the payments and needed refinancing. In 2011, Solyndra’s CEO communicated with members of Congress, claiming that the company was on sound financial footing and would be able to repay a refinanced loan. DOE had a man attending Solyndra’s meetings, so they should have known whether the CEO was telling the truth. DOE arranged for refinancing.

Just a few months later, Solyndra laid off nearly all of its 1,100 workers and declared bankruptcy. Just a few days after that, agents of the FBI and the inspector general were raiding Solyndra headquarters and the homes of the CEO and two other executives, with search warrants.

That means that criminal charges are possible. But in the bankruptcy, DOE allowed Kaiser and other investors to recover their investments first, before DOE attempted to recover the $535 million in taxpayers’ money. What a sweetheart deal. America’s taxpayers have been left holding the bag.

Mark Levin took a call from a Solyndra worker who says that “everyone already knew that China had developed a more inexpensive way to manufacture these solar panels. Everyone knew that the plant wouldn’t work. But they still did it. They still built it.”

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