White House pushed for loans to bankrupt Solyndra
WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - Blockbuster news indicating the Obama administration ignored red flags to push for government money to a financially shaky solar energy company was released prior to a House committee hearing today.
Internal emails show the Obama administration urging funds be approved for the now bankrupt "green" company Solyndra.
Investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (HEC) provided information exclusively to ABC News prior to the hearing on "Solyndra and the Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program." The hearing was part of a seven month investigation into DOE's $535 million stimulus loan guarantee to the now-bankrupt solar company.
"This deal is NOT ready for prime time," one White House budget analyst wrote in a March 10, 2009 email, quoted by ABC News.
The email was sent nine days before the administration formally announced the loan.
DOE senior officials, as well as those from the Office of Management and Budget, testified at the hearing. Solyndra President and CEO Brian Harrison and Senior Vice President and CFO W.G. Stover, Jr. will appear next week.
ABC News, in conjunction with the Center for Public Integrity (CPI), was the first to report about political influence involved in the loan guarantee.
As CPI reported, "Time and again, the government handed breaks to Solyndra Inc., an upstart California solar panel firm backed by a major supporter of the president ... time and again, benefits flowed from Washington despite warning signs that the government's $535 million investment was a risky bet."
After Solyndra was awarded the first stimulus DOE loan in the spring of 2009, it was promoted as a stimulus jobs "success story."
President Obama visited the plant in May 2010. But the company announced its bankruptcy on Aug. 31. Solyndra was the subject of an FBI raid on Sept. 8.
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) issued the following statement ahead of the hearing:
"Solyndra was the hallmark of the President's green jobs program and widely promoted by the administration as a stimulus success story, right up until its bankruptcy and FBI raid.
"We had a sense Solyndra was a bad bet from the beginning and its failure raises significant red flags for the entire loan guarantee program. It is not the role of government to pick winners and losers in the market. With taxpayers potentially on the hook for this half-billion dollar bust, it's time to sound the alarm about the remaining $10 billion in loan guarantees set to expire September 30. Let's learn the lessons of Solyndra before another dollar goes out the door."