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Obama Backed Solar Company Slashes 70 Percent of Workforce

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

See if this sounds familiar.  A solar energy company with a principal investor who is a huge supporter Barack Obama and Democrat causes got a Department of Energy loan for hundreds of millions of dollars.  The President publicly claims the company will “create whole new industries and hundreds of thousands of new jobs in America.” However, fourteen months later the company is bleeding financially, laying off hundreds of workers, shutting down production to retool, and complaining that it is all China’s fault.

No, it is not Solyndra.  The company is Abound Solar; winner of a $400 million DOE loan in December, 2010.  Abound was to make solar panels at its Longmont, Colorado facility and build a second plant in Indiana.  Obama used part of a regular weekly radio address in 2010 to praise Abound who he said would “create 2000 construction jobs and 1500 permanent jobs.”  Barely a year later, Abound Solar is a skeleton of Obama’s fertile imagination.    The workforce is being slashed by 70%, 280 workers.  The anticipated Indiana plant is nowhere to be found.  

Company executives say competition from Chinese low-cost manufacturers has negatively impacted business forcing them to sell their solar panels below the cost of production.  Was China not in the solar panel market 14 months ago?  Did nobody notice?

So, how did Abound convince the Obama Administration to approve a $400 million loan?  Just as Solyndra and other companies that received millions and billions for green projects were connected to campaign contributors and administration officials, one of the main investors in Abound – Pat Stryker - is a big Democrat financier.  The following is courtesy of Joel Gehrke and the Washington Examiner.  What Gehrke failed to mention is that billionaire Stryker is also a founding member of the "Gang of Four" who invested millions in what became known as the Colorado Model, a largely covert political strategy that reversed the political power in Colorado and became embraced by the Democrat Party.

“Pat Stryker, founder of Bohemian Companies (an Abound Solar investor, as the Sunlight Foundation first observed), donated $50,000 to support President Obama's 2009 inauguration and bundled another $87,500 for the event, Stryker also gave $35,500 to the Obama Victory Fund 2012, according to FEC reports, and another $5000 to the Democratic White House Victory Fund in 2008.”

“In addition to supporting Democratic candidates, Stryker also provides significant financial backing to third-party groups that support Democratic candidates.”

“For instance, FEC reports show Stryker donated $145,000 in 2010 to America's Families First Action Fund (AFFAF) and $75,000 to ‘Women Vote’ operation organized by the pro-choice group, Emily's List. the Washington Post reported in October 2010 that AFFAF had spent almost $6 million during that cycle on behalf of Democratic candidates only. ‘Women Vote’ is a similarly partisan effort by Emily's List to ‘turn out women voters for our pro-choice Democratic women candidates and every Democrat on the ticket.’ “

Barack Obama played Investor-in-Chief with $80 billion borrowed dollars as part of his Economic Stimulus boondoggle.  Pretending he was the smartest guy in every room, Obama and his administration rejected warnings of industry analysts, sound business practices, and common sense, blindly throwing huge amounts of money at anything remotely “green” to satisfy his personal obsessions and placate contributors and friends.   As I wrote earlier this week, with the Obama Administration, Green has become the color of rotten corruption.

In the real world, an investment banker with such consistently flawed – even corrupt - judgment would be fired – and investigated.  That should be the case in politics, too.  November can’t come soon enough. 

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