An investigation by the Energy and Commerce Committee has revealed that, for political reasons, the White House rushed a $528 billion federal loan to solar firm Solyndra, which went bankrupt two weeks ago. Taxpayers should be outraged. Not just about Solyndra, but about the inherent corruption of government's entire push to pick winners and losers in the energy sector, and micromanage the economy in general.
In case anyone has missed it, here's a refresher on what happened with Solyndra. After the Department of Energy had tentatively approved Solyndra’s loan, White House officials unduly pressured the Office of Management and Budget to give final approval. Vice President Joe Biden was scheduled to appear at the company’s groundbreaking ceremony and the White House didn’t want to miss its photo opportunity. Even then Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel wrote to ask if there was anything he could do to speed the process along. Officials worried that rushing to approve the loan meant they didn’t have enough time to assess the risk to taxpayers. But, the loan went ahead and so did Biden’s photo op.
President Obama touted the project as central to his green jobs plan, visiting the company in May 2010. Solyndra was the first solar company to receive a loan from a federal program to support green energy, a promising symbol of all those green energy jobs still to come. Then, two weeks ago, Solyndra went bankrupt. Now subject to an FBI investigation. The failed company leaves 1,100 people out of work and taxpayers liable for $528 billion in federal loans.