Email ties Solyndra scandal directly to White House

August 3, 2012

Obama’s Chief Investment Adviser

If former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley knew about Solyndra’s financial troubles, and yet the DoE still went ahead with restructuring the loan to illegally subordinate taxpayers in the event of default, what are the odds Barack Obama didn’t know?

Buried in the treasure trove of White House emails related to Solyndra released Thursday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee is one suggesting that concerns about Solyndra’s viability were shared all the way up to then-White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley a full six months before the company went bust.

(…)

As Solyndra began sinking for good last August, [OMB analyst Kelly] Colyar sent an email summarizing the events leading to a near total taxpayers loss of the $535 loan.

“You may recall that DOE announced in March that they had restructured the Solyndra loan,” Colyar writes. “Prior to this restructuring, OMB staff expressed reservations about the prospects of the company and DOE’s proposal.”

And here’s the key line: “The issue was discussed with the NEC and the Chief of Staff.”

In the end, of course, the loan restructuring went through anyway and, Colyar writes, “Unfortunately, the scenario which OMB staff had feared has materialized.”

That “unfortunate situation”, of course, was a bankruptcy that left taxpayers unable to recoup almost all of $535 million loan blown by Solyndra.

Sure, Daley and the National Economic Council signed off on the loan restructuring without consulting their boss. Uh-huh. Would you care to buy this lovely bridge, too?

Ed Morrissey calls it a bombshell:

This, however, is much more serious.  This is the first time Obama’s inner circle has been tied to the restructuring and its illegal subordination of those taxpayer loans.  If Daley was briefed on the details of that restructuring before it got put in place and it still went forward, one can infer that Daley didn’t raise any objections to it.  It’s hard to imagine that Daley would have gone out on that limb without getting approval from the man to whom he directly reported — Barack Obama.

I think it’s time the Energy & Commerce Committee called Mr. Daley in for some testimony under oath, don’t you? Not only should the federal government not have ever been playing the role of venture capitalist, a role it’s lousy at, but its failure to write off Solyndra at an earlier stage, when Colyar first warned about it, cost the taxpayers an additional $394 million. And it broke the law by putting taxpayers behind outside investors —including an Obama bundler— for claims on assets in case of a bankruptcy. Which is just what happened.

Remember what Obama said a few weeks ago? “We tried our plan, and it worked!”

Heckuva job, Barry.

RELATED: Earlier posts on Solyndra.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Solyndra fiasco summarized

June 3, 2012

Obama loan officer at work

The Washington Post has a good summary of the Solyndra loan fiasco. For those not familiar, Solyndra was a “Green energy” company that bet it could make big bucks selling solar panels that were more expensive than those produced in China.

Yeah, I know. Dumb bet.

Anyway, Solyndra applied for a loan from a program for alternative-energy startups that began under George W. Bush. (1) The loan was rush through the approval process by the Obama administration, apparently so Obama and Biden could both use the company for photo ops.

Then everything fell apart.

Solyndra went broke, the more than $500,000,000 in stimulus money (2) vanished down the toilet of dumb ideas, and first crack at any money recovered Solyndra’s corpse goes not to the taxpayers who loaned the money, but to a big-time Obama donor who backed a loan restructuring just before the company went toes-up.

What’s amusing is the Democrats all screaming that this is just election-year politics and that it’s a waste of time investigating this.

Politics? Oh, yeah. Holding the party in power accountable for its decisions is exactly what an opposition party is supposed to do.

But, “waste of time?” On the contrary: this is a drum that should be beaten again and again until election day.

Meanwhile, read the article. If the waste, venality, and (I think) likely corruption doesn’t make you mad, nothing will.

PS: Romney 2012, because adolescents should never be trusted with the national credit card.

RELATED: Earlier posts about Solyndra.

Footnotes:
(1) Note to Mitt Romney: this was a bad idea. Government should not be in the venture-capital business. When you’re in office, kill it.
(2) In other words, Solyndra is part of the over $800 billion dollar Stimulus package that accomplished nothing, except to drive us deeper into debt. So, not only have we lost $500 million on Solyndra, roughly 40% of it has to be paid back to our creditors. But, to hold Obama accountable would just be election year politics. And racist.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Solyndra: taxpayer-funded bonuses for the bankrupt — Update: subpoena issued

November 3, 2011

Remember when Congress, the MSM, and President Obama were all aghast and outraged at the bonuses paid to AIG execs after the 2008 crash?

So you can be sure they’ll be pounding the podium over bonuses paid to executives of now-bankrupt Solyndra:

Karen Alter, senior vice president of marketing, received two $55,000 bonuses on April 15 and July 8 of this year, on top of her $250,000 annual salary.

Ben Bierman, executive vice president of operations and engineering, received $120,000 in bonuses this year on top of his $276,000 salary.

Paula Camporaso, vice president of information technology — $80,000 in bonuses on top of her $107,000 salary.

Dave Sanat, vice president of supply chain — $80,000 in bonuses on top of his $111,000 salary.

Bill Stover, the company’s CFO who took the fifth before Congress at a September hearing, was awarded at least $120,000 in bonuses on top of his $367,000 salary.

The document also reveals that Chris Gronet, one of Solyndra’s founders, was “transitioned to the role of adviser and consultant” from his position as CEO on July 1, 2011, and negotiated a severance package worth more than $450,000.

I especially like paying a hundred grand in bonuses to a “marketing” exec for a company that couldn’t sell enough product to stay in business.  I bet they all had MBAs, too.

Bear in mind that Solyndra was a failing company: it was paying out more than it was taking in. The bonuses were essentially made possible by the loans Solyndra received from the Department of Energy. Even if no loan cash went directly into these bandits’ paychecks, the loans made them possible — money is fungible.

Meanwhile, as Stiles points out in the article, these clowns get to keep their money, but, thanks to the loan “deal” agreed to by the DoE, the taxpayer (that’s you and I) has a lower claim to any money recovered through a sale of Solyndra’s assets than do the private investors.

Obama is so good to his “friends!”

RELATED: Earlier posts on Solyndra.

PS: As a friend pointed out, isn’t it interesting how the various Occupy groups who are so angry at the banks have had nothing to say about the money the Obama Administration has blown on various “Green schemes?” Guess that’s different… somehow.

via Power Line, which also lists the… interesting pattern of political donations made by these executives.

UPDATE: The House Energy and Commerce Investigations subcommittee has lost patience with the White House’s stalling and has issued a subpoena for documents relating to Solyndra. (h/t Hot Air)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Occupy the Department of Energy! Or, loans for Russian billionaires?

October 27, 2011

I must’ve missed the memo announcing the rebirth of the Friends of Angelo program under the aegis of the Department of Energy.  Under the leadership of Secretary Chu (Like his boss, a Nobel Prize winner. Be impressed.), the DoE has fast-tracked and awarded loans with preferential terms (1) to a failing “Green” energy company, Solyndra; a “Green” car company, Fisker, which plans to make its cars in Finland, when they get around to actually making the cars; and another “Green” automaker, Tesla, which builds Gaea-friendly cars for the elite one-percent. And on which Tesla loses money.

All these loans, totaling about $1.5 billion taxpayer dollars, were doled out to companies with connections to big donors to the Democrats and Obama. (See also.)

But this one has to be the cake-topper — $730 million to a Russian billionaire:

Another controversial U.S. Department of Energy “green” loan is coming under scrutiny.

Last July the Obama administration issued a $730 million low interest “green” loan to Russia’s second largest steel company, whose chief executive is a Russian tycoon personally worth $18 billion and who has close ties to Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

An influential House oversight chairman is now questioning why taxpayer funds from the Department of Energy are being used to assist the highly capitalized foreign-based steel company.

The DOE renewable energy loan was awarded this summer to Severstal North America to produce high strength steel at its Dearborn, Michigan facility. Steel is not in short supply in the United States and current U.S. steel plants are operating under capacity.

The DOE loan is part of a controversial $40 billion renewable energy loan program organized under its Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program  called ATVM.  The program is supposed to help financially starved companies in the green auto manufacturing field by providing taxpayer-supported low interest loans.

As PJM’s Richard Pollock points out, the billionaire, Alexei Mordashov, is the 29th richest man in the world. Mordashov’s company, Severstal, recently made $1.2 billion from the sale of several steel mills in Ohio and other states. He could finance Dearborn plant out of his own pocket and still have enough left over to buy his own miniature giraffe. (2)

And then there’s the question of why Severstal, a fully-capitalized company that’s neither in the auto or “Green industries,” qualifies for loans meant to help “green auto manufacturing.”

Why, if I were a cynic, I might suspect some sort of a payoff here.

Nah. I must just be a RAAAAACIST!! and a hater. Or something.

Footnote:
(1) Read: “They get the gold mine, the taxpayer gets the shaft.”
(2) I love that commercial.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


At least the Solyndra loan was wasted *in* America — Updated

October 20, 2011

Over $500 million taxpayer dollars to subsidize a “Green” car  — made in Finland:

With the approval of the Obama administration, an electric car company that received a $529 million federal government loan guarantee is assembling its first line of cars in Finland, saying it could not find a facility in the United States capable of doing the work.

Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department’s $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the job of assembling the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car has been outsourced to Finland.

“There was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle,” the car company’s founder and namesake told ABC News. “They don’t exist here.”

Henrik Fisker said the U.S. money so far has been spent on engineering and design work that stayed in the U.S., not on the 500 manufacturing jobs that went to a rural Finnish firm, Valmet Automotive.

Money is fungible. You can bet the taxpayer-funded loan dollars spent here freed up resources to be spent in Finland.

And, gee, want to guess how this company had such an easy time getting the taxpayer-funded loan?

Connections help:

One of Fisker’s biggest financial supporters, records show, is the California venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The firm financially supports numerous green-tech firms, records show.

Kleiner Perkins partner John Doerr, a California billionaire who made a fortune investing in Google, hosted President Obama at a February dinner for high-tech executives at his secluded estate south of San Francisco. Doerr and Kleiner Perkins executives have contributed more than $1 million to federal political causes and campaigns over the last two decades, primarily supporting Democrats. Doerr serves on Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Doerr has not replied to interview requests since March.

Former Vice President Al Gore is another Kleiner Perkins senior partner. Gore could not be reached for comment.

“Their major venture investor is Kleiner Perkins, who has Al Gore as a partner and is certainly politically connected in general,” said industry observer Sexton. “Whether that played a role or not is up to the DOE to explain.”

So, in return for some donations, Fisker receives several hundred times that in taxpayer-funded loan for a car that no one has even seen yet. Sweet deal, that. I’m sure the project was approved solely on the merits.

And I’m the King of Spain.

Read the whole thing. There’s another “green” car firm involved. Add in their loan, and were talking nearly a billion. Maybe theirs is at least “made in America.” And I wonder what all of Obama’s union buddies think of this?

“Chicago on the Potomac” doesn’t cover half of it.

via Sarah Palin

UPDATED: Sweet! Fisker’s gas-electric hybrid gets a whopping 20 miles per gallon in gasoline mode — less than the Chevy Volt! And for this we forked out more the $500 million. Way to go, President “We Got Every Decision Right!


Gunwalker: three more murders linked to Obama admin. scandal

September 15, 2011

CBS reporter Cheryl Attkisson has done the best work among MSM journalists on the growing scandal surrounding Operation Fast & Furious, having been on it since it broke early this year. Now she’s filed a report about three more murders tied to guns the US government knowingly let fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels:

Weapons linked to ATF’s controversial “Fast and Furious” operation have been tied to at least eight violent crimes in Mexico including three murders, four kidnappings and an attempted homicide.

According to a letter from U.S. Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the disclosed incidents may be only a partial list of violent crimes linked to Fast and Furious weapons because “ATF has not conducted a comprehensive independent investigation.”

When added to the guns found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in the U.S., the newly-revealed murders in Mexico bring the total number of deaths linked to Fast and Furious to four.

According to the Justice Department letter:

One AK-47 type assault rifle purchased by a Fast and Furious suspect was recovered Nov. 14, 2009 in Atoyac de Alvarez, Mexico after the Mexican military rescued a kidnap victim.

On July 1, 2010, two AK-47 type assault rifles purchased by Fast and Furious suspects were recovered in Sonora, Mexico after a shootout between cartels. Two murders were reported in the incident using the weapons.

On July 26, 2010, a giant .50 caliber Barrett rifle purchased by a Fast and Furious suspect was recovered in Durango, Mexico after apparently having been fired. No further details of the incident were given.

Click through for the rest.

So, which scandal do you think will bring about the first cabinet-level resignations and/or a special prosecutor? Gunwalker, in which people have died, or Solyndra, into which the White House sank one-half billion of our dollars into a company it knew was failing? I think it’s almost a dead heat.

So many scandals, so little time.

via Moe Lane

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Solyndra: next stop for the FBI — the Department of Energy?

September 9, 2011

Not only did the DoE work to get the now-bankrupt solar-power manufacturer sweetheart loans (guaranteed with your money), but Energy representatives sat in on the company’s board meetings during the time it’s business was swirling the drain:

When Harrison came to Washington in July, he said, the company was hoping to land more financing to stay afloat. “When we were there, the circumstances of the company, business was good, we had record shipments. We had momentum in the marketplace,” Miller said.

The Energy Department was keeping a close eye on Solyndra during those crucial months – sitting in on board meetings as an observer as part of the loan restructuring, iWatch News and ABC reported Thursday. That raises key questions: Did DOE miss obvious warning signs of the company’s troubles in the final months before its collapse?

So, um… What happened during the board meetings when the bad news was being discussed? Did someone tap the DoE rep on the shoulder and say “Look! It’s Elvis!” ?

Okay, so the needle on the “stink of corruption” dial has gone from “something smells” to “fish rotting in the sun” Either there was gross incompetence here, or backscratching worthy of Tammany Hall (1).

As usual, Allahpundit gets to the heart of the matter:

And yet, and yet, not only did the White House have access to industry reports, they actually had a seat in Solyndra’s board room while the meltdown was in progress. Question one: How is it that, with the buzzards circling, Solyndra was still allowed to refinance its federal loan earlier this year to extend the term of repayment? And question two: If the White House knew firsthand that the company was in trouble, why’d they let the CEO waltz into Congress two months ago and reassure House members that everything was A-OK with the business?

Good questions. It’s time for some answers.

RELATED: Earlier on Solyndra.

Footnote:
(1) You know it’s bad when even Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) smells a rat.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Oh my. FBI raids bankrupt Obama-favorite Solyndra

September 8, 2011

That’s the California solar-power manufacturer that somehow managed to secure a $535 million, federally-guaranteed (1) loan through the Department of Energy at a sweetheart interest rate, even though their financial condition and business plan never warranted it. But, and I’m sure it’s a coincidence, the major shareholder is a top Obama donor and donations bundler.

And now they’re bankrupt, the investor gets reimbursed with taxpayer money, and the FBI is kicking-in the door:

Just days after the company filed for bankruptcy protection, federal agents swarmed around the Solyndra facilities in Fremont to execute a search warrant.

FBI agents were joined by officials from the Department of Energy’s Office of the Inspector General in the early morning operation.

Officials would say little about the search, which seemed to center on the Solyndra buildings on Page Avenue off Interstate 880.

“Everything is under seal,” said Julianne Sohn, a spokeswoman for the FBI.

Agents began executing their search about 7:30 a.m., Sohn said. More agents arrived in SUVs at 8:40 a.m.

The action by federal agents comes a week after the solar manufacturer abruptly closed, laying off about 1,000 workers, and two days after the company filed for bankruptcy protection.

Solyndra spokesman Dave Miller said the search came as a surprise, but he emphasized the company is “fully cooperating” with federal officials. He said he did not know the purpose of the search, but he speculated it could have something to do with the $535 million in loan guarantees the Department of Energy awarded to Solyndra.

Gee, ya think??

Read the report from ABC yesterday on the loan guarantees and unusually low interest rates for background, but here’s an excerpt that I’m sure you’ll find entertaining:

Solyndra’s most prolific financial backer is George Kaiser, an Oklahoma oil billionaire who was a bundler of campaign donations for Obama’s 2008 race. Kaiser’s Argonaut Ventures and its affiliates have been the single largest shareholder of Solyndra, according to SEC filings and other records. The company holds 39 percent of Solyndra’s parent company, bankruptcy records filed Tuesday show.

Under terms of the bankruptcy filing, investors including Argonaut — which led a $75 million round of financing for Solyndra earlier this year — will stand in line before the federal government and other creditors.

You know, I do believe I hear the House Energy Committee warming up in the wings.

Kaiser, not surprisingly, was a frequent White House visitor.

Without a doubt, this deal stinks to the heavens. Not only is it a perfect  illustration of why “green jobs” –or any uneconomic, government-subsidized industry– is a doomed-from-the-start waste of public money, but it also reeks of political favoritism, backroom deals, and downright corruption.

What was it Sarah Palin said the other day? Oh, yeah

They use [public money] to bail out their friends on Wall Street and their corporate cronies, and to reward campaign contributors, and to buy votes via earmarks. There is so much waste. And there is a name for this: It’s called corporate crony capitalism. This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk. No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts, of waste and influence peddling and corporate welfare. This is the crony capitalism that destroyed Europe’s economies. It’s the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest – to the little guys. It’s a slap in the face to our small business owners – the true entrepreneurs, the job creators accounting for 70% of the jobs in America, it’s you who own these small businesses, you’re the economic engine, but you don’t grease the wheels of government power.

And I’ll bet you my last dollar that Solyndra is a $535,000,000 example of just what she was denouncing.

Between this and Gunwalker, Obama is going to have an… “interesting” 2012.

via Zombie

RELATED: Also check out Power Line and Hot Air.

UPDATE: At Power Line, historian Steven Hayward raises an interesting possibility — What if the raid is an attempt by Holder to cover-up what happened at Solyndra and block any congressional inquiry by hiding behind the privilege of a claim of an “ongoing investigation?”

Footnote:
(1) As in, guaranteed with our money.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)