Solyndra Deal Allows Obama Billionaire to Get Paid Before Taxpayers

John Ransom
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Posted: Sep 15, 2011 12:01 AM

I’ve heard enough now.

It’s time for Congress to appoint a special prosecutor in the Solyndra case.

Beside the foot dragging inside the White House and the OMB in document production, revelations made recently about political pressure from inside the administration on the Office of Management and Budget to approve the Solyndra deal, and the subsequent restructuring that put taxpayers at greater risk, say that there is no way the administration can be expected to investigate itself with any reasonable level of objectivity.

And an investigation is warranted.

In February, the administration renegotiated with Solyndra’s billionaire investor- remember the one who was also a big contributor to the Obama campaign?- as the company was failing. That deal allowed billionaire George Kaiser’s foundation to jump ahead of the American taxpayers for all but $150 million of the government’s $527 million loan in any company bankruptcy.

Oh, and it’s a transaction that also happens to be illegal. Although Democrats are floating the idea that the government has the authority to make the taxpayers take a back seat to Kaiser in a bankruptcy, sources close to the investigating committee say that a plain reading of the statute never allows taxpayers to go to the back of the line under any circumstances.

In other words, under the law, the government always has the obligation to protect taxpayer money in any case, including a bankruptcy. It’s a novel concept for this administration, but it happens to be the law.     

And bankruptcy for Solyndra was just a matter of time according to outside due diligence done by the DoE

According to Bloomberg, the credit agency hired to analyze Solyndra’s financial condition guessed as early as August, 2009 the exact date Solyndra would run out of money:

The financial model used by a credit-rating company to review the Solyndra guarantee showed “the project would run out of cash in September 2011,” according to the report.

“This is a liquidity issue,” according to an Aug. 20, 2009, e-mail between Energy Department officials who weren’t named in the report.

Yet the loan was still issued. And I find it hard to believe that the loan would have been approved by a Department of Energy staffer with a pension on the line, just trying to put in 20 years.  

Yet that’s what the White House would have you believe.

They’re trying to pin the failures in due diligence not on political influence, but on staffers at the DOE, says the Washington Post, despite mounting evidence that it was the administration that was responsible for the “go” decision:   

“There was interest in when a decision would be made because of its impact on whether an event involving the vice president could be scheduled for a particular date or not, but the loan guarantee decision was merit-based and made by career staffers at DOE,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.

The White House was more interested in a PR event, than energy policy apparently.

When things go right it’s: “I shot Osama bin Laden, today!” When things go wrong?

“It’s a staffer’s fault!”

Solyndra announced it would seek bankruptcy protection on August 31st, 2011.

I count the extra day between August and the September date predicted by the credit agency that the company would be defunct as a case of irony moved by the angels and saints.

Maybe the administration can sue the rating agency for misleading them by one day. 

I’d smile, except I’m furious that this administration has proven itself even more inept, obtuse and reckless than Republicans charged it would be during the 2008 presidential election, as even voters in New York’s 9th Congressional district are coming to believe.

When the OMB told the White House that the jig was up back in February, a political decision was made to put taxpayer money at greater risk rather than try to mitigate those risks for taxpayers, says Bloomberg.

When the Solyndra loan was restructured in February, OMB found in a preliminary analysis that liquidating, rather than renegotiating, would give the U.S. “greater recovery” of its investment, the committee said in the report. The company sought bankruptcy protection six months later.

Why then would the administration allow a billionaire to jump ahead of taxpayers as the company spun into bankruptcy?

We can only speculate. Kaiser made multiple visit to the White House. Don’t expect Obama to come clean about what he and Kaiser talked about when the president can always pin it on a DOE bureaucrat.

But a special prosecutor can investigate the facts of the case when politicians won’t be frank.   

And that’s exactly why a special prosecutor should be appointed in any case.


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