released communications regarding the loan approval for Solyndra, the
now failed California solar energy company, show direct intervention by
an Energy Department adviser and Obama campaign fundraiser, and raise
new questions of possible involvement by
Rahm Emanuel and the President. As more is learned, it becomes
increasingly clear that the Administration used the Stimulus, and
specifically the green energy loan program, as a campaign slush fund to
distribute billions of dollars like party favors to supporters and to
grandstand for re-election to a perceived constituency.
mid-2009, the White House was obsessing to make headlines with an
announcement of a $535 million loan to Solyndra as the first of many
green energy loans in the DOE's pipeline that would be funded by the
recently passed Stimulus. Initially the staff tried to schedule an
announcement by Obama, and later as approval was delayed, they shifted
to the Vice-President.
said this morning that the POTUS definitely wants to do this (or Rahm
definitely wants the POTUS to do this?)," a White House staffer told an
Obama scheduler on August 17, 2009 according to The Washington Post. This
was a reference to Ron Klain, Chief of Staff at that time for the
Vice-President. "Rahm" refers to Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff to
Solyndra loan was finally approved in September 2009 over a plethora of
warnings and objections from within the Department of Energy, the Office
of Management and Budget, and numerous private and solar industry
experts. Following the company's collapse, questions have haunted
the White House of possible political corruption and cronyism as
investigations revealed that executives and investors in Solyndra were
also significant donors to the Obama campaign with repeated access to
top White House officials. In addition, critics charge that the
administration disregarded objective financial analysis, and blindly
threw billions of taxpayer dollars at green energy companies like
Solyndra with little chance of success.
to the warnings from his own White House advisers that the company was
in serious trouble and would run out of cash in September, 2010 (and it
did), Obama visited the Solyndra headquarters in May 2010 and hailed it
as "leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future."
The Washington Post is
also reporting that
Steve Spinner, a major Obama 2008 campaign fundraiser, later appointed
by the White House to "advise" the Department of Energy regarding the
green energy loan program, applied heavy pressure on DOE officials for
approval of the $535 million loan guarantee for Solyndra.
(expletive) hard is this? What is he waiting for?" Spinner wrote to a
DOE official by email on Aug. 28, 2009 questioning why the Solyndra
application was not already approved. "I have the OVP (Office of
the Vice-President) and the WH (White House) breathing down my neck on
this. They are getting itchy to get involved."
the same day, Spinner asked the same DOE official to "walk over there
and force him to give you the answer."
another exchange just minutes after getting an email from Solyndra,
Spinner fired off a message to the DOE officials asking if the White
House budget office (OMB) had completed their review. "Any word on
OMB? Solyndra's getting nervous," he wrote.
loan was pushed through, and on September 4, 2009 Joe Biden announced by
video link the deal as the "unprecedented investment this Administration
is making in renewable energy and exactly what the Recovery Act
(Stimulus) is all about."
involvement is in direct contradiction of previous representations by
the DOE. Spinner had specifically recused himself from the
Solyndra application because his wife's law firm, Wilson Sonsini
Goodrich & Rosati, represented the company on the DOE loan and
pocketed $2.4 million in legal fees for their efforts.
AP reports that
an administration official, speaking on condition that he not be
identified because of ongoing investigations in the evolving scandal,
said that Spinner "clearly was actively involved in facilitating between
DOE and OMB."
Biden was partially correct – unfortunately. Solyndra is typical
of what the billions of Stimulus dollars tossed around by the Obama
Administration was "all about" – about waste, cronyism, and
corruption. The taxpayer is on the hook for $535 million,
but before this is done some once big shots in Washington will
deservedly be cut down to size.