Jon Stewart has already explained why sycophants who've decided the Solyndra saga is much ado about nothing are fighting a losing battle, so let's get you caught up with the scandal's latest developments. The Associated Press has uncovered more emails detailing the Obama White House's political machinations surrounding its reckless $535 million taxpayer-funded loan guarantee to a "green energy" company backed by a major Obama donor. It appears the administration was less concerned about the bruising hit taxpayers would absorb after the company crashed and burned than they were about how Solyndra's failure might affect the president's re-election bid:
Emails released Thursday night show that Obama administration privately worried about the effect of a default by Solyndra Inc. on the president's re-election campaign. "The optics of a Solyndra default will be bad," an official from the Office of Management and Budget wrote in a Jan. 31 email to a senior OMB official. "The timing will likely coincide with the 2012 campaign season heating up." The email, released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee as part of its investigation into the Solyndra loan, showed that Obama administration officials were concerned about Solyndra's financial health even as they publicly declared the solar panel maker in good shape.
In public: Everything's fine and dandy, America! In private: Uh oh, this could damage the boss in 2012. Priorities. Even as warning bells were clattering at increasingly unbearable decibels, the White House charged ahead, undeterred by overwhelming evidence:
Emails obtained by The Associated Press show that a White House official dismissed reports about Solyndra's gloomy future. An email from Greg Nelson, a White House official who had been involved in the planning of Obama's May 2010 trip to Solyndra's headquarters, to a Solyndra executive downplayed a July 2010 news story in a trade publication that criticized the company's financial health. "Seems B.S.," Nelson wrote.
A 2009 report by the Energy Department's inspector general warned that the DOE lacked the necessary quality control for the loan guarantee program, which was created in 2005 to support clean-energy projects that could not obtain conventional bank loans due to high risks. In July 2010, the Government Accountability Office said the Energy Department had bypassed required steps for funding awards to five of 10 applicants that received conditional loan guarantees.
That last sentence suggests there could be more Solyndras lurking out there. Indeed. Let's return for a moment to the subject of perverse priorities. We've already discussed how badly misplaced the White House's concerns were in all of this. Care to one-up your administration buddies, Solyndra?
The 1,100 full- and part-time employees who were abruptly laid off two weeks ago aren't the only ones whose paychecks have been affected by the sudden and dramatic failure of bankrupt solar energy company, Solyndra Inc. Because for its brief lifespan, Solyndra proved to be pretty good for the lobbying community. According to records filed with the Clerk of the House and a search of disclosure forms compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, Solyndra spent nearly $1.9 million on lobbying activities over a period of 43 months from 2008 to 2011.
About $1 million of that was earned by the company's two in-house lobbyists, Joseph Pasetti and Victoria Sanville, over an 18-month period from 2010 until this year. But Solyndra has also had several big-name lobbying shops on its payroll, including established powerhouses Dutko Worldwide and Holland and Knight, which began representing the then-fledgling company in 2008.
Yup, these devious creeps were spending big bucks to lobby Congress (presumably they didn't need to persuade any of their cheerleaders at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave) all the way up "until the end," as the New York Times headline puts it. This is akin to White Star Line PR men aboard the Titanic snapping up print adverts for the ship in New York newspapers via telegraph, even as the vessel was fully vertical and plunging into the Atlantic's frigid depths. Total madness. I'm told by well-informed GOP sources that there are even more damaging Solyndra emails in the pipeline. Do you think the president has been briefed on this mess yet?
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography