E-mails subpoenaed by a House committee investigating the deal reveal that the administration knew the company was on shaky ground. It was well known that a credit-rating agency predicted the company would run out of money in two years.
As predicted, the company declared bankruptcy two years after receiving the loan. Instead of properly vetting this company, e-mails show that the administration was rushing the project. The goal was to force the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve the loan in time for Vice President Joe Biden to make the loan announcement at the groundbreaking ceremony for the company’s new factory.
Today, Solyndra has closed its factory and is facing financial ruin. Sadly, 1,100 employees have been released and U.S. taxpayers are on the hook for the big loan.
To make matters worse, the company, long a pet project of the Obama administration, is under federal investigation. FBI agents raided the offices of Solyndra last week removing boxes of information that will assist in an ongoing probe. The extent of the investigation and the exact targets has not been revealed, but it is certain that authorities are questioning the operation of this so-called “green” company.
The Obama administration claims that nothing improper occurred and that “investment” in alternative sources of energy should continue. Disgusted taxpayers certainly have another opinion, not wanting more of our precious funds to be wasted on pursuing an economically unfeasible green agenda.
According to U.S. Representative Fred Upton (R-MI) the whole Solyndra loan was “shrouded in secrecy and uncertainty.” The loan was initially rejected by the Bush administration, but revived once Obama took office. Was there any influence exerted on behalf of major Solyndra investor billionaire George Kaiser, who is an Obama fundraiser? After Obama’s election as President, Kaiser has often visited the White House. What did he discuss with President Obama? Surely his cozy relationship with the President did not hurt Solyndra’s chances of receiving the federal loan. Hopefully, we will have more definitive answers as a House committee investigation proceeds.
While the Obama administration believes the company was hurt by global economic trends, such as competition from Chinese companies, the reality is that the busted loan was typical of other losses in alternative energy and another example of the folly of the stimulus bill.
This one incident is a stinging indictment of the agenda of the Obama administration. Instead of allowing market forces to determine private sector investment, the administration tried to pick winners and in the process the biggest losers were the American taxpayers.
The administration wanted the photo-op of Biden handing over the funds at the groundbreaking. Instead, they now have the photo-op of FBI agents raiding the company’s headquarters.
This situation smells of a left wing political agenda coupled with political cronyism while the taxpayers are left holding the bag.
It is time that this scandal received the proper attention from the media and Congress. A wide ranging and extensive congressional hearing need to be conducted to determine how this company was selected and whether undue pressure was used to accelerate the release of funds.
The funds originated from the Department of Energy, founded during the Carter administration and given the sole directive of reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Several decades and over one trillion dollars later, our country is more dependent on foreign oil than ever.
The department’s solar loan was about as successful as its quest to wean our country from Middle Eastern despots.
A better solution is to eliminate the failed department and its ludicrous loan programs and unleash the domestic oil industry.
Maybe if our country started to aggressively drill for oil again we would not have to worry about bad bets on solar companies or a department full of bureaucrats wasting taxpayer money.
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected].
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