The Solyndra Collapse

Right now, a hearing about the government loan to now-bankrupt Solyndra is going on.

Update 8:50 p.m. CST: Obviously not anymore. It was only three hours… Here’s the whole video posted by the committee to YouTube. You tech savvy government you.

E-mails released by the subcommittee yesterday show that a White House aide pushed the Department of Energy to make a decision on the $535 million loan in time for Vice President Biden to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for a Solyndra plant. Obama planned to make Solyndra, which manufactures solar panels, a flagship company for government investment in green energy.

Three problems:

  1. The company is now bankrupt, costing taxpayers money, so clearly it was not a sound investment.
  2. The main investor in Solyndra, George Kaiser, donated a lot of money to Obama’s 2008 campaign. Kaiser’s group is first in line to getpaid back in the bankruptcy proceedings.
  3. Despite receiving “B+” from appraisers and “fair” ratings from credit rating agencies, Solyndra got a lower interest rate on the loan than is usual.

So this is potentially very bad for Obama’s reputation. No matter if the White House didn’t pressure the DoE to make the loan quickly and on favorable terms – it happened. And it appears to be a case of crony capitalism, an elected official using their power to do favors for campaign supporters.

The Solyndra bankruptcy will provide as much fodder for Obama’s opponents as the Operation Fast and Furious scandal. That’s the crazy ATF program which intentionally allowed guns to get into Mexico in order to track them to the bosses of drug cartels. There was a number of holes in the plan, but the issue really came to a head when some of the guns were found at the scene of the killing of a border patrol agent. Attorney General Eric Holder has denied any knowledge of the operation, leading Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to call him so “inept that he may be dangerous.”

Issa’s a really interesting character and holds a lot of power as the chair of the committee. A group has filed an ethics charge against him – more on that later.

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