From interviews with former Solyndra employees, the Washington Post has pieced together how Solyndra burned through the better part of its $535 million federal loan.
Former employees of Solyndra, the shuttered solar company that exhausted half a billion dollars of taxpayer money, said they saw questionable spending by management almost as soon as a federal agency approved a $535 million government-backed loan for the start-up.
A new factory built with public money boasted a gleaming conference room with glass walls that, with the flip of a switch, turned a smoky gray to conceal the room’s occupants. Hastily purchased state-of-the-art equipment ended up being sold for pennies on the dollar, still in its plastic wrap, employees said.
As the $344 million factory went up just down the road from the company’s leased plant in Fremont, Calif., workers watched as pallets of unsold solar panels stacked up in storage. Many wondered: Was the factory needed?
“After we got the loan guarantee, they were just spending money left and right,” said former Solyndra engineer Lindsey Eastburn. “Because we were doing well, nobody cared. Because of that infusion of money, it made people sloppy.”
As more nauseating details emerge from the scandal surrounding Solyndra's demise, Republicans need to persistently make the case that this malfeasance isn't isolated to one company, but is part and parcel of President Obama's stimulus legacy. Solyndra's sloppy spending spree is really just a small manifestation of Obama's sloppy spending spree.