Republicans have uncovered a damning email sent by the former CEO of an infamous, defunct solar panel company. Details below, but here's a quick primer on Solyndra, since it's been awhile since we last discussed this scandal:
So, the company received a $535 million taxpayer loan via President Obama's stimulus program in 2009, only to file for bankruptcy and lay off all of its employees in 2011, just after the 2010 elections -- which we later learned was no accident. Obama's political team was so obsessed with making the company the "poster child" of its failed "green jobs" push, they ignored repeated warnings about the soundness of Solyndra's business model. The loan application had been rejected under the Bush adminstration, and several Obama officials strongly opposed its approval. The deal was green-lit anyway, much to the delight of one of the company's principal investors -- a man named George Kaiser, who also happens to be a major Obama fundraiser. Despite the administration's claims to the contary, records show that Kaiser visited the White House frequently in the lead-up to the loan guarantee decision. Again rejecting admonitions, Obama scheduled a presidential photo-op at Solyndra to highlight the "success" of his stimulus program. That factory is now shuttered. With a huge green mess on his hands, President Obama has attempted to suggest that Solyndra wasn't even his program, "per se." This was, and is, a lie. Flash forward to today's two new Solyndra developments. First, we have the aforementioned email, in which Solyndra's chief executive excitedly touts Obama's taxpayer loans. He refers to the White House as the "Bank of Washington:"
What an appropriate nickname for the Obama crew. "The Bank of Washington." They spend hundreds of billions of dollars in other people's money, making false promises and racking up debt at a dizzying clip along the way. The Solyndra CEO's breathless formulation should be acutely insulting to taxpayers, who ought to hold the Obama administration responsible for enriching the president's campaign donors via reckless loans. It gets worse. A report in today's Washington Post confirms that the administration poured more taxpayer cash into Solyndra even after it knew it was doomed, again ignoring advice from one of their own OMB analysts:
As the Obama administration moved last year to bail out Solyndra, the embattled flagship of the president’s initiative to promote alternative energy, a White House budget analyst calculated that millions of taxpayer dollars might be saved by cutting the government’s losses, shuttering the company immediately and selling its assets, according to a congressional investigation. Even so, senior officials in the White House’s Office of Management and Budget did not discourage the Energy Department from proceeding with its plan to restructure a federal loan to Solyndra — a move that put private investors ahead of taxpayers for repayment if the company closed, the investigation by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee found. The restructuring went forward, but within months Solyndra failed anyway, leaving federal taxpayers on the hook for much of the half-billion-dollar federal loan. Now, a year after the company’s collapse, debate continues over whether the refinancing plan was legal or a wise investment. Last week, Solyndra’s final liquidation plan estimated that the government will recover just $24 million of the $527 million that taxpayers lent to the company.
Got all that? The Obama White House again ignored internal advice, opting to restructure a failing loan in such a way that taxpayers would be subordinated to the firm's investors (like Obama bundler George Kaiser) in bankruptcy proceedings if (when) the company finally collapsed. That collapse, by the way, that was predicted to the month by government accountants before the initial loan was approved. The current debate is whether the White House violated the law in engineering this sweetheart bailout. For what it's worth, another internal email reveals that a DOE attorney saw the restructuring as "a serious problem." This seems like a good time to quote our president: "We tried our plan, and it worked."
UPDATE - White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked about Solyndra at today'd briefing. According to CBS News' Mark Knoller, he ducked the question and said Congress should act to avoid the fiscal cliff: "Asked about the report on Solyndra, WH spksman Jay Carney said Congress should be passing middle class tax cuts instead." The Republican-controlled House of Representatives acted to do exactly that yesterday afternoon. (Democrats don't like the GOP's solution because it doesn't raise taxes on anyone). If Carney weren't a hack, he would (a) answer questions about the administration's Solyndra fiasco, and (b) demand action from Harry Reid on the House-passed bill, which would resolve this issue. In fairness to Reid, he's a little busy these days.