Once again we learn that our government has no regard to meeting their fiduciary responsibility to the tax payer’s money . ABC has uncovered some emails which showed that the White House was very uncomfortable with the financial health of the solar energy company Solyndra before the Energy Department lent the politically-connected company over half a billion dollars. The company recently went bankrupt and is now the subject of a criminal investigation.
According to the emails uncovered by investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee the Obama administration was all over this deal even though some WH analysts were raising the red flag:
This deal is NOT ready for prime time,” one White House budget analyst wrote in a March 10, 2009 email, nine days before the administration formally announced the loan.
“If you guys think this is a bad idea, I need to unwind the W[est] W[ing] QUICKLY,” wrote Ronald A. Klain, who was chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, in another email sent March 7, 2009. The “West Wing” is the portion of the White House complex that holds the offices of the president and his top staffers. Klain declined comment to ABC News.
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The House has been investigating the Obama administration’s green energy loan program but two weeks ago it was moved to the front burner because Solyndra suddenly closed shop and laid off 1,100 employees. The FBI raided the factory a few days later as part of a joint investigation with the Energy Department’s inspector general.
“This is not right. This is not good,” said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., who chairs the House committee that is examining the loan. “It makes you sick to your stomach. This is taxpayer money.”
….Obama’s DOE has said it backed Solyndra as a potential game changer in the clean tech movement, but the company’s collapse came after clear warning signs the venture was a high risk from the start.
White House officials said the emails shared with ABC News Tuesday do show White House interest in the timing of the Solyndra decision — only because the president was considering announcing the decision himself while on a trip to California.
“I think that it is clear that folks understood at DOE that they were supposed to make their decision on the merits and do whatever they were supposed to do to kick the tires on the decision,” an administration official told ABC News. “Folks were interested in being updated as to whether the decision-making process was completed.”
It was the Bush Administration that first considered loans to Solynda but two weeks before he left office the Energy Department’s credit committee had voted against offering a loan commitment to Solyndra.
Even after Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, analysts in the Energy Department and in the Office of Management and Budget were repeatedly questioning the wisdom of the loan. In one exchange, an Energy official wrote of “a major outstanding issue” — namely, that Solyndra’s numbers showed it would run out of cash in September 2011.
There was also concern about the high-risk nature of the project. Internally, the Office of Management and Budget wrote that “the risk rating for the project sponsor [Solyndra] … seems high.” Outside analysts had warned for months that the company might not be a sound investment.
Despite the warning the Obama camp gave Solyndra the money. And there may be more Solyndra’s to come.
Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, told the Heritage Foundation that had called on the administration to hold off on awarding more loan guarantees from the program.
“The question is: how many Solyndras are out there?” Stearns said. “I’m convinced based upon what I’ve seen on this kind of industry and solar panel, that there’s more that are going to go bankrupt, and I think the president’s unwise to continue this idea of funding through taxpayer money industries that are not viable.”
Stearns would not reveal which companies he thought are at risk, saying he would save that information for his panel’s Wednesday hearing on the Solyndra bankruptcy. “I’ve called upon the president not to award any more money for this kind of venture, and to return the money to the Treasury rather than put it out the door,” he added.
The problem with President’s green energy policy is his lack of understanding of the free market. Rather then entice the best minds to come up with the best solutions for the marketplace, the White House picks the winning an losing companies, their favorite technology and then tries to create demand where there is none. Whether or not there was something rotten with the Solyndra deal other deals will be doomed to failure because of this lack of marketplace understanding.