Debra J. Saunders

But Team Obama won't give up the dream.

Then again, the administration has friends in the green-titan community. Enter Oklahoma oil magnate George Kaiser, who raised at least $50,000 for the 2008 Obama campaign and is a frequent visitor to the White House. Kaiser was a top Solyndra investor.

In September 2009, Solyndra became the first recipient of an administration energy loan program that was part of the president's stimulus package. A 2010 Government Accountability Office audit of the program found that five applicants, including Solyndra, bypassed required steps for funding. A Department of Energy spokesperson told The Washington Post that the GAO got it wrong.

The Solyndra decision baffled some industry experts, who questioned the viability of the company's solar technology. "To think they could compete on any basis, that took a very big leap of faith," solar analyst Ramesh Misra later told the Post.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has been investigating the Solyndra deal -- with little cooperation from the administration. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., who chairs the investigative subcommittee, noted in a statement, "In an apparent rush to push stimulus dollars out the door, the Obama administration wasted $535 million in taxpayer funds in guaranteeing a loan to a firm that has proven to be unviable in the global market."

Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney defended the loan program with its goal to "invest in cutting-edge technologies."

The president, his Nobel Prize-winning energy secretary and Vice President Joe Biden (via satellite) participated in events that promoted Solyndra's brand. In addition, Solyndra got to spend a half-billion in taxpayer dollars -- and still the solar company couldn't succeed.

Stearns and the committee's chairman, Fred Upton, issued a joint statement that rang true. They said, "We smelled a rat from the onset."


Debra J. Saunders


 
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