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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Solargate Scandal Grows

“The discipline of desire is the background of character.” — John Locke

Several days ago I reported on the bankruptcy of Solyndra, a manufacturer of solar panels located in Freemont, California. At the time I had suspicions that this was a bigger scandal than was being reported. I had heard a caller on the Mark Levine Show, who claimed to be an employee of Solyndra, stating that the company knew this was a bad deal from the beginning. Of course I had no evidence to back her claim although Levine said he vetted the caller, who was using an anonymous name, off the air and that she was telling the truth.

When I heard the caller I began to think that the Solyndra bankruptcy would grow into a much larger scandal involving crony corporatism in the field of green jobs. President Obama is directly associated with this scandal and as it grows the Republicans will no doubt use it against him.

The Operation Gun Walker scandal has not yet percolated in the mainstream media outside CBS News, though it is only a matter of time that it catches on, given the criminal enterprise the U.S. Government seems complicit in aiding and abetting.

The Solyndra bankruptcy, however, is a scandal taking off like a rocket and directly relevant to Stimulus II. Via Doug Ross comes word that ABC News has uncovered the makings of a very real and potentially damaging scandal for Barack Obama. Ross reports:

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 centerpieceabc_solyndra_raid_jrs_110907_wg 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.”

But no unwinding happened. Barack Obama and Joe Biden stood behind Solyndra even as the company headed toward bankruptcy. Moreso, just three weeks before George Bush left office, the Bush Administration’s Energy Department credit committee unanimously rejected a loan commitment to Solyndra.

But Barack Obama desperately wanted to tout a green jobs initiative. He needed one to make his case for the stimulus’s “green jobs” efforts. So he put his faith in a company that was falling apart. And emails within the White House make clear that despite protestations the administration knew nothing about Solyndra’s financial problems, there were warnings.

The White House just chose to ignore them and throw taxpayer money in Solyndra’s direction.

The ABC Report continues:

“The emails were uncovered by investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will hold hearings on the Solyndra loan Wednesday. The Republican-led House has been investigating the Obama administration's green energy loan program for months. That probe took on new urgency two weeks ago, when Solyndra abruptly shut its doors and laid off 1,100 employees. Last week, the FBI raided the factory 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."

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.”

The White House has argued that any effort to finance start-up businesses in a relatively new field like solar energy is bound to include risky ventures that could fail. They reject the notion being pushed by Republicans that Solyndra was chosen for political reasons. One of the largest private investors in the deal, Oklahoma billionaire George Kaiser, was also a prominent fundraiser for Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

To view the original ABC report by Doug Ross click here.

In a subsequent report ABC has reported that federal agents have raided the homes of the Solyndra executives confiscating documents and computers.

“Federal agents have expanded their examination of the now-bankrupt California solar power company Solyndra, visiting the homes of the company's CEO and two of its executives, examining computer files and documents, iWatch News and ABC News have learned.

Agents visited the homes of CEO Brian Harrison and companysolyndra_20110914_094710 founder Chris Gronet and a former executive, according to a source who agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity because of the legal sensitivity of the situation.

Gronet, reached at his home Friday morning, did not dispute that his home was visited by federal agents a day earlier.

"I'm sorry," Gronet said, "you probably understand full well that I cannot comment." The third executive could not be immediately reached.

Solyndra spokesman David Miller confirmed agents visited Harrison's home on the same day the FBI and Energy Department Inspector General seized boxes of records from the company's headquarters.”

In the latest report on the Solyndra investigation Fox News reports today:

According to the House committee, the average review time for White House budget officials screening Energy Department loan guarantees is 28 calendar days. The committee said that for Solyndra, the first such loan guarantee made by the department, the review took just nine days.

Officials expressed concern about the review process in the run-up to the Biden announcement.

One White House budget official asked that the announcement "be postponed." Another email complained about "rushed approvals," and said "we are worried" about Solyndra. However, the announcement went forward as planned

The emails show White House officials repeatedly checking with the Office of Management and Budget on the progress of its review of the loan ahead of the high-profile groundbreaking for the company's new factory.

One email from a budget official referred to "the time pressure we are under to sign-off on Solyndra."

With the loss of a traditional Democratic congressional seat in New York’s ninth district to a Republican newcomer by a margin of 54-46 people are finally beginning to see the corruption and incompetence of Barack Obama. My only fear is that as this scandal grows Attorney General Eric Holder will begin to obfuscate this investigation to protect his boss as he has done with the Fast and Furious gun running debacle. Perhaps in a few days someome in the media will dub this scandal Solargate.

1 comment:

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