From Forbes Magazine:
Rand Paul: I find it curious that we have this huge public outcry over this huge lapse of oversight where a billionaire gets a $500 million loan from the U.S. government and goes bankrupt. It turns out his attorney’s husband works in the Department of Energy. Your mandate is to look at the loans, and to study oversight, and we’re not going to look at Solyndra? I find that very very curious. And my question for you would be did anyone from the administration ask you either directly or in writing to not look into Solyndra?
Herbert Allison: The direct answer to your question is no.
Paul: Did you have the power to look into Solyndra if you wished to? Your mandate looks to me wide open. You’re supposed to look at oversight. Why wouldn’t you look at where the problem is?
Allison: I was asked to look at the extant loans, the loans that exist now.
Paul: It says current status of DOE’s loans, strengthen management and oversight. If you’re going to strengthen oversight, certainly you’re going to have to look at where the problems are. This seems to be so myopic as to be politically motivated. I’m very skeptical as to why you didn’t look into Solyndra when that’s the whole reason you were commissioned, was to look into Solyndra.
From the New York Times:
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been seeking with limited success to portray the financial support for a solar company, Solyndra, which eventually went bankrupt, as a politically inspired boon to an Obama campaign fund-raiser who was an investor in the business. But at a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, the committee is to release a staff report that argues that in other instances the Energy Department overrode the objections of some of its professional staff members to pick aid recipients that were supposed to have innovative projects when, in fact, the technology was nothing new.
“The Department of Energy manipulated analysis, ignored objections from career professionals and strategically modified loan evaluations in order to force project funding out the door,” the committee’s chairman, Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California, said in a statement.
Also worthwhile is this related story from McClatchy:
The Navy is losing money on new solar energy panels installed with stimulus funds at Naval Air Station Lemoore and other California bases, auditors say.
Lemoore, located in the sun-baked San Joaquin Valley in Kings County, was among 10 Navy and Marine Corps bases in California to have solar energy systems installed, even though they won’t be cost-effective, the Pentagon auditors found.
As a result, taxpayers will be out $25.1 million, while the Obama administration finds another shadow cast over its use of stimulus funds for renewable energy.