The Solyndra Probe Broadens

Helen Whalen Cohen

9/14/2011 9:45:00 PM - Helen Whalen Cohen

It looks as though the inspector general from the Treasury will join IG from the Energy Department (not to mention the FBI) in investigating Solyndra. The plot thickens.

The new probe involves the $535 million loan, arranged by the Energy Department, but actually processed by the Federal Financing Bank, a government lending institution that falls under Treasury's control. Already, the FBI and the Energy Department's inspector general have executed search warrants at Solyndra's headquarters and questioned company executives.

"We're going to look at everything the FFB had to do with its role in this thing," Rich Delmar, a spokesman for the Treasury Department's inspector general, told ABC News and iWatch News.

Also worth noting is Solyndra's 1-2 percent interest rate.

Earlier this month, iWatch News and ABC News disclosed that Solyndra received a rock-bottom interest rate of 1 to 2 percent -- lower than those affixed to other Energy Department green energy projects. The low rate was set even as an outside agency, Fitch Rating, scored Solyndra as a B+ -- "speculative" -- investment. Energy Department officials said the bank set the rate, based on formulas including the payout length, and that Solyndra did not receive special treatment.

A $535 million stimulus loan combined with a bargain basement interest rate sounds like special treatment to me.