White House monitored loan for parasite company Solyndra
Embattled solar cell company Solyndra is catching hell right about now. They’ve filed for bankruptcy, but if that’s not enough, they’re finding themselves drawing a lot of attention. That’s to be expected since President Obama highlighted a government loan to Solyndra as evidence that his green jobs program would jump start an industry that hasn’t been able to create profits for themselves.
So where is the mainstream media on this one? Well, ABC News has been on it, that’s for sure. They have obtained emails about how the White House monitored the loan made to Solyndra.
Newly uncovered emails show the White House closely monitored the Energy Department’s deliberations over a $535 million government loan to Solyndra, the politically-connected solar energy firm that recently went bankrupt and is now the subject of a criminal investigation.
The company’s solar panel factory was heralded as a centerpiece of the president’s green energy plan — billed as a way to jump start a promising new industry. And internal emails uncovered by investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee that were shared exclusively with ABC News show the Obama administration was keenly monitoring the progress of the loan, even as analysts were voicing serious concerns about the risk involved. “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.
The problem is, they apparently didn’t unwind anyone. The House has been investigating the green jobs program for a while, which isn’t surprising since Republicans control the House and aren’t big fans of programs like this one. So far, nothing they’ve encountered has changed their minds either.
“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.”
As federal authorities examine whether Solyndra misled the government about its true financial state, the Obama White House is fielding fresh questions over why it pushed so hard for Solyndra. Officials with DOE and the Office of Management and Budget are expected to testify Wednesday. Executives with Solyndra, invited to appear as witnesses, will not attend Wednesday’s hearing but have told the House committee they will voluntarily appear next week.
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.
This, boys and girls, is why government needs to stay out of private enterprise. It’s not that government is completely incapable of successfully helping businesses grow, it’s that the whole process becomes ripe for cronyism. Solyndra was connected, so it got a loan. Taxpayer money. Now, they’re filing for bankruptcy and we’re left holding the bag.
Green energy does have a place in our future. However, Uncle Sam’s involvement hasn’t really done anything to solidify what that future might be. It never will. Consumers are the arbiters of that and they always have been. Until green energy can compete, sans subsidies, with more traditional energy creation methods, it will always have a sketchy future. However, the subsidies the industry currently gets – along with loans to the connected companies – don’t actually encourage companies to create more efficient systems. Let’s be honest folks, without more efficient systems, the green energy industry will always need a place at Uncle Sugar’s table.