When You Have Lost the Trib…
… You Have Lost Middle America.
(With apologies to Lyndon Johnson. Though I don’t know why.)
Before you can say, “Let the sun shine in,” Solyndra was basking in the limelight. The federal government backed loans of more than $500 million to the company. President Barack Obama toured its manufacturing plant. He touted its plans to hire 1,000 new workers and embraced its fuzzy math about producing enough solar panels in its expanded facility to replace the power from eight coal-fueled electricity plants. “It’s here that companies like Solyndra are leading the way to a bright and prosperous future,” the president declared at the time.
Fast forward to the not-so-bright and prosperous present: Solyndra is bankrupt, its factory shut down and its workforce on the street. The FBI raided its headquarters earlier this month, presumably suspecting fraud. Its top executives failed to appear Wednesday at a hearing on Capitol Hill where Republicans were itching to grill them.
A series of emails between White House officials and Office of Management and Budget watchdogs suggests that Solyndra got its federal guarantees prematurely, under pressure from the Obama administration, which wanted to stage an event featuring Vice President Joe Biden announcing the guarantees at a ground-breaking ceremony. A perfect example of shovel-ready stimulus!
But staffers reviewing the deal were voicing concerns about not having sufficient time to conduct proper due diligence on the financial underpinnings of the loans. The evidence suggests taxpayer dollars were put at undue risk for the sake of an administration photo op.
The Energy Department says it was the Bush administration that first made Solyndra a candidate for loan guarantees and set the timetable for consideration. The White House claims its communication about the project reflected merely a “quite active interest” in the outcome. Yet those explanations ring hollow in light of OMB emails referring to “rushed approvals” and “time pressure.” As one note said, “There isn’t time to negotiate.”
No time to negotiate on behalf of the taxpayer? That’s maddening.
“Buddy can you spare a solar panel?”
[update] In the blood will make you boil dept — link.