Solyndra Was on Fast Track to Receive Second Federal Loan of $469 Million, E-mails Show


The Obama administration, in a peculiar attempt at damage control, is maintaining that the Solyndra debacle, is no debacle at all.  As Mollie reported yesterday, the President told ABC News that he had no regrets over the $535 million loan guarantee to the failed solar panel company.  “Hindsight is always 20/20…It went through the regular review process and people felt that it was a good bet,” President Obama said.

A Dept. of Energy spokesman followed suit with a variation on the theme.

“This program was established by Congress to support innovative, cutting-edge projects that by their nature carry a degree of risk,” said Damien LaVera, an Energy Department spokesman. “These emails show that the Administration was aware of those risks, and that decisions were based on more than two years of rigorous analysis and due diligence by career officials spanning two administrations. As we have consistently said, there was a thoughtful and appropriate debate within the Administration and decisions were made solely on the merits of the project.”

But the White House narrative doesn’t quite seem to mesh with the latest round of incriminating Solyndra e-mails that show that the Energy Department was poised to approve a second loan of $469 million for the company, even as Solyndra’s auditors repeatedly warned that the company was already caught in a death spiral of debt and ever increasing expenses.  Emails exchanged between the Energy Dept. and the White House at the very least suggest some very reckless behavior.

Even in May 2010, Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s top advisers — his senior adviser on stimulus , Matt Rogers, and his chief of staff, Rod O’Connor — were telling the White House not to worry about the auditors’ warnings on Solyndra’s finances. They also referenced the need for more federal money for Solyndra.

O’Connor told a top White House adviser to Vice President Biden that the warnings were exaggerated, when a venture capitalist and Obama donor had flagged the company’s finances as a reason the president shouldn’t visit Solyndra as scheduled on May 25. O’Connor also raised the issue of more government support for Solyndra.

“Bottom line is that we believe the company is okay in the medium term, but will need some help of one kind or another down the road,” O’Connor wrote on May 24.

Rogers, who had been a senior consultant at McKinsey before joining the administration and returned to that company last fall, told the White House the same day that such auditors’ warnings were typical for startups. Rogers acknowledged shifts in the market that were not favoring Solyndra, but stressed the short term and raised no concerns about the president visiting the company in a high-profile press conference touting Solyndra’s work.

Whether continued investigations reveal the whole fiasco to be merely the result of reckless and sloppy attitudes, or more consequentially, the result of fraud and corruption, one thing’s for certain.  As Larry Summers himself said, “[Government] is a crappy venture capitalist.”

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  1. Profile Photo Member
    Diane Ellis, Ed.:

    Whether continued investigations reveal the whole fiasco to be merely the result of reckless and sloppy attitudes, or more consequentially, the result of fraud and corruption, one thing’s for certain. As Larry Summers himself said, “[Government] is a crappy venture capitalist.” ·

    I think it’s neither – it’s an ideology that thinks that Govt knows best. It’s symptomatic of the entire Obama Presidency.

    They are trying to emulate the Chinese Govt, but that only works if you go all the way (which they would like to do, but can’t).

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Member

    First requirement of a representative government: remember whose money it is…and it AIN’T YOURS.

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  3. Profile Photo Member

    In an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Rand Paul pointed out that the original loan of $535 million was substantially more than the annual federal highway funds returned to the State of Kentucky. At over $1 billion, this starts to get to be serious money.

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  4. Profile Photo Member

    For those that may have missed it, last week’s Law Talk touched on this subject.

    You don’t give unproven businesses money. You carefully structure goals for them that, if they meet, then trigger financing. There is nothing about Obama’s reward program for his donors that resembles venture capitalism. The goals Obama sets have more to do with campaign contributions than business goals.

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  5. Profile Photo Member

    The only facet of entrepreneurialism that Obama has mastered is failure. Just had some tell me that the entire farcical cycle, from the Stimuli to ObamaCare to the Super Committee to the Occupy Wall Street and whatever else so we can figure out our demands is just the systematic execution of a Cloward-Piven strategy to crush the Constitution by fiscal crisis.

    473 days to the Inauguration.

    • #5

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