Internal e-mails provided to congressional investigators reveal an Obama administration enamored with command economics and an insider with a conflict pushing the Energy Department to guarantee a $535 million loan to now-bankrupt solar-panel maker Solyndra.Missing, as always is the historical context of the loan.
Solyndra's collapse -- which left taxpayers on the half-billion-dollar hook -- shows the recklessness of government pushing "green" businesses whose unsustainable business models chase away private investment.
The e-mails show Steven J. Spinner, a 2008 Obama fundraiser, cheerleading for Solyndra as a senior member of Energy's loan guarantee oversight office, writing that the White House and vice president's office were "breathing down my neck on this" -- even though his wife's law firm represented Solyndra and he had promised to recuse himself from Solyndra loan-guarantee matters.
From Huffington Post:
One of the Republican Party's lead campaign groups tried to turn the Solyndra failure into an election issue Tuesday, accusing President Obama and Democrats of creating a "green casino" to gamble taxpayer money -- ignoring the program's creation by GOP lawmakers.And from that link we learn:
Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturer that got a $535 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, went bankrupt last month and was raided by the FBI.
It's been a major embarrassment to the Obama administration, which oversaw the last steps of the guarantee and granted it in spite of internal debate over Solyndra's prospects. And Friday emails released to congressional investigators revealed that a Department of Energy official sent dozens of messages about the guarantee even though he had officially recused himself because his wife worked for Solyndra's law firm.
Energy Department spokesman Damien LaVera said Spinner acted as a liaison for the loan program under the economic stimulus law, but that he played no role in evaluating individual loan applications.Which, of course, is somewhat different from the Trib screed that started this whole blog post.
"Because his wife agreed not to participate in or receive any financial compensation from her law firm's work on behalf of any loan program applicant, Mr. Spinner was authorized to oversee and monitor the progress of applications, ensure that the program met its deadlines and milestones, and coordinate possible public announcements," LaVera said in an email Friday.
Spinner "was not allowed to make decisions on the terms or conditions of any particular loan guarantee or decide whether a particular transaction was approved," LaVera said, adding that the arrangement was approved by the Energy Department's ethics officer.
Still, this Spinner thing looks messy at best.
In any event, back to that first Huffingtonpost post:
So Republicans have been exploiting the ugly issue, with National Republican Congressional Committee Tuesday distributing a press release that left out the fact that the Department of Energy's loan guarantee program was launched by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, created under the auspices of Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas). And the Solyndra application was started by the Bush administration, which selected Solyndra as one of the 16 most promising green energy programs in the country. [emphasis added.]The San Francisco Business Times even said so at the time:
The Fremont-based company has raised $600 million in venture capital. It also has an unusual fallback: loans guaranteed by the Department of Energy to fund its expansion.A little something my friends on Scaife's braintrust leave out.
“We’re borrowing money directly from the federal (government) at very attractive rates at a time when I think it would be impossible to raise regular financing anywhere else,” Gronet said.
When you change the frame of the story, you change the story. They're good at that at the Trib.