White House staff knew enough about Solyndra’s troubles in January 2011 to dismiss talk of inviting the company’s executives into President Barack Obama’s special State of the Union box, internal emails released Friday show.
The idea of seating Solyndra officials with Michelle Obama in the Capitol during the president’s nationally televised speech came up around the same time that DOE was preparing a controversial change to the company’s $535 million federal loan guarantee, which wound up increasing the risk to taxpayers.
Via the Google archives, a long-lost news article from SF Business Journal:
The Department of Energy has released a $535 million loan guarantee to Fremont-based Solyndra Inc. maker of cylindrical solar panels, to expand its manufacturing plant.
The guarantee comes from a four-year-old federal program that had never issued any money. Cleantech companies including Tesla Motors , Solyndra and OptiSolar were relying on the money to expand manufacturing operations.
Solyndra CEO acknowledged Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu and President Barack Obama as “instrumental” in getting the loan guarantee to the company.
While the loan Guarantee program was created in 2005 it wasn’t funded until 2007. The DOE narrowed the applicant list to 16 companies in 2008 but never released any money to applicants.
Chu vowed to release money for the program quickly after taking the Department of Energy position, as a way to keep cleantech companies like Solyndra alive amid the credit crisis.
An update from Ed Morrissey over at Hotair:
That’s not the only nugget in this new trove of material in the latest Friday night document dump from Obama’s scandals, either. A month prior to that e-mail exchange, Obama’s climate czar Carol Browner and her deputy exchanged e-mails that showed both despairing over Solyndra’s financial condition:
Dec. 8, 2010, for example, White House energy and climate adviser Carol Browner and her top deputy agonized over Solyndra’s pending collapse.
“You hear solyndra is in a severe liquidity crises and we areent likely given next doe loan? Banner week,” Heather Zichal wrote. Browner’s reply was quick: “Yep. Ugh”
So the question raised is this: If the White House comms group and its climate czar both knew that Solyndra was an embarrassment, and so much so that the comms group nixed having Solyndra execs attend the 2011 SOTU in person, then why did Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu agree to restructure the loan less than a month later on such unfavorable terms?
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