The Solyndra scandal exploded yesterday with the Washington Post story on the White House emails produced to the congressional committee investigating the affair. Deep into the story the Post reports: “In August 2009, e-mail exchanges between Energy Department staff members pointed out that a credit-rating agency predicted that the project would run out of cash in September 2011. Solyndra shut its doors on the final day of August.”
The White House emails reveal the pressure brought to bear on the authorities responsible for the $535 million loan guarantee and the red flags raised over it. Outside the White House, who thought it was a good idea? In one of the updates to her terrific column on the green jobs boondoggle — this one occasioned by the congressional hearing yesterday — Michelle Malkin notes Department of Energy loan chief Jonathan Silver’s identification of the White House officials he met with: “I can’t recall.” Solargate, indeed.
Vice President Biden and Secretary of Energy Steven “Are You With Me Doctor?” Chu announced the Solyndra loan guarantee on September 4, 2009 (video above). President Obama arrived on the scene to celebrate the loan guarantee the following May. Bloomberg News recalls:
Two months before Obama’s visit, accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP warned that Solyndra, the recipient of $535 million in federal loan guarantees, had financial troubles deep enough to “raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.”
The Obama administration stood by Solyndra through the auditor’s warning, the abandonment of a planned initial public offering and a last-ditch refinancing where taxpayers took a back seat to new investors. That unwavering commitment has come under increasing scrutiny since the company’s travails culminated in its filing for bankruptcy protection on Sept. 6 and a raid on its headquarters by the Federal Bureau of Investigation….
Today’s New York Times brings us this tribute to the affair:
While taxpayers could lose the $528 million the company borrowed from the Treasury, Jeffrey D. Zients, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, said that the system for evaluating such loans was sound. He said it was inevitable that some cutting-edge firms would fail but that over all, the investments would prove worthwhile. He did allow, “The lesson learned here is that marketplaces can change even more rapidly than one would have anticipated.”
It’s almost funny.
The NBC report below does a good job of culling the White House email to focus on the red flags raised regarding the loan guarantee. Again, who thought this was a good idea?