Obama administration claims they didn't green-light the failed Solyndra loan program that funneled half a billion dollars to a top donor, despite warnings from auditors, have been debunked by emails showing Obama was personally briefed on the scheme, The Washington Post reports.
President Obama’s staff arranged for him to be personally briefed last summer on a loan program to help clean-energy companies, two months before the program was thrust into headlines by the collapse of its flagship, the solar company Solyndra, records show.
About the same time, then-White House Chief of Staff William Daley resolved a dispute among administration officials over another project in the program, clearing the way for a $1.4 billion loan, according to documents and sources familiar with the situation.
The documents, a series of e-mails among Energy Department staff members involved in managing the program, provide new details about the level of White House involvement in the controversial initiative. White House officials have said in the past that final decisions about which companies would receive the loan guarantees were made by career staff members at the Energy Department, not political appointees...
...That loan program, a signature piece of the Obama administration’s effort to stimulate the economy, has become a major issue in this year’s presidential campaign. Republicans have charged that the program wasted critical stimulus money meant to create jobs, spending it instead on ill-advised projects that benefited Democratic fundraisers...Obama had been warned Solyndra was about to collapse and was under investigation, but pushed for the half-billion dollar giveaway to his political cronies. Obama then skirted federal laws requiring taxpayers to be paid first in the event of a bankruptcy, allowing several of his donors and top California union bosses to collect loaned money ahead of taxpayers.
...Solyndra, a Silicon Valley start-up that manufactured solar panels, received a half-billion dollar federal loan from the program before suddenly closing last August. A short time later, the FBI raided its offices as part of a criminal investigation into whether the company misled the government about its finances.
The government is expected to recover just $24 million of the $527 million that taxpayers lent the company. Republicans have accused the administration of favoring Solyndra because its largest investors were funds linked to Oklahoma billionaire George Kaiser, an Obama donor.
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