APRIL 05, 2012
The “serious concerns” of U.S. Treasury officials involving a risky $535 million infusion for a fly by night solar panel firm were ignored as the deal was fast-tracked by the Obama Administration, according to a federal audit released this week.
Bankrolled by Obama fundraiser George Kaiser, the now-defunct northern California company (Solyndra) got more than half a billion dollars from the U.S. government to promote green energy. Instead, it abruptly folded last fall, stiffing American taxpayers and laying off more than 1,000 workers. From the start, it was a controversial deal that was suspiciously rushed through for a politically-connected entrepreneur that had raised large sums for Obama.
This week a Treasury Inspector General report sheds light on the scandalous process that, not only ignored warning signs about the startup company’s viability, but also blew off the concerns of officials at the agency responsible for doling out the cash. The “loan,” which will never be repaid, was rushed through by Obama appointees at the Department of Energy (DOE) without Treasury input.
That violated the terms of the program, which was created by the president’s disastrous stimulus. It allows the DOE to make loan guarantees to companies investing in “innovative clean technologies” but specifically requires the Secretary of the Treasury to be consulted on the terms and conditions of the loan guarantee concurrent with its review process. As of December 2011 the DOE guaranteed 28 projects totaling $16.1 billion after consulting with Treasury, the audit says.
Evidently this did not occur with the Solyndra deal because it was expedited for a political donor. In fact, the IG report cites an electronic mail written by a Treasury official after a conference call with DOE brass, presumably to discuss the pros and cons of the huge Solyndra deal. “We pressed certain issues…but the train really has left the station on this deal.”
Judicial Watch is investigating the Solyndra scandal and has sued the Obama DOE and Office of Management and Budget to obtain records involving the deal. In September JW submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking records from both agencies, but the DOE says it’s reviewing documents in preparation for public release. The Office of Management and Budget has totally blown off the request. This indicates that the administration is on cover-up mode.
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