Waste, Fraud and Solyndra

Posted: Nov 10, 2011 9:56 AM

Can you say “bad timing”?

Yesterday morning: President Obama signs an executive order to end government waste.

That afternoon: Investigators uncover emails indicating a prominent Obama donor actively lobbied the administration on behalf of Solyndra (the now-bankrupt stimulus-backed California-based solar energy company).

George Kaiser, the donor, was also a major Solyndra investor. Unsurprisingly, Kaiser and the White House had flatly denied such conversations ever took place between them.

Talk about “waste, fraud, and abuse.”

As Bloomberg News reported:

“Emails released by a House committee appear to show that a major donor to President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign discussed with White House officials a federal loan to a failed California solar company. That's despite repeated assurances by Obama administration officials that the donor, George Kaiser, didn't discuss the loan with the White House.”

That’s not what White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said back in September. Here’s Carney, on Kaiser:

“He did not lobby administration officials with regard to this, with Solyndra.”

Even President Obama himself denied any special treatment just last month:

“The process by which the decision was made was on the merits. It was straightforward.”

With these latest emails, it seems like anything but “straightforward.”

If it didn’t look like pay-for-play politics before, it sure does now. Billionaire George Kaiser bundled large sums of money for Democrats and the Obama campaign. And then the Obama White House gladly bundled up $535 million in a taxpayer-funded loan for the company in which he’d invested.

No wonder the White House has been avoiding Congressional subpoenas on the Solyndra investigation.

The more troubling question now is: What else are they hiding? This “most transparent administration in history” has been suspiciously opaque on their Solyndra dealings. And each time new details come to light, they create more questions—not fewer.

Americans want answers. Was $535 million of our money used to buy a political favor? Is this standard operating procedure for the Chicago politicians in the White House?

The executive order President Obama signed yesterday is meant to stop using taxpayer dollars to buy “swag”—pens, sweatshirts, and other items given out for promotional purposes. For the sake of our fiscal future, I hope “swag” also includes politically motivated loans.