White House Warned in 2009 That Solyndra Was Poor Investment

For about a week, I have been hesitant to post on the Solyndra scandal. There seemed to be a bit of too much of a pile on due to this being a green tech company. However, it is now serious and new evidence suggests that the White House was not just cavalier with such stimulus funds but willfully blind that this company (run by a major Democratic donor who visited the White House repeatedly before the public support by the President) was likely to fail. At best it was a remarkably moronic move by the President and his staff.

Evidence disclosed by the House shows that the bankrupt solar company was well-known to be poorly structured and unlikely to survive. Indeed, one government review predicted that the company would run out of cash in September 2011. The company failed on Sept. 6th.

That was long before the company was made the President’s poster child for federal support in September 2009. After receiving $527 million in federal funds over two years, the company filed for bankruptcy.

While the Bush administration set the loan guarantee program in motion, it was the Obama Administration that ignored various warnings and selected the company for a massive media campaign by both Obama and Biden — the latter praising the “permanent jobs” created by the loan.

A DOE staff on August 20, 2009, obtained noted “The issue of working capital remains unresolved… the issue is cash balances, not cost. [Solyndra] seems to agree that the model runs out of cash in Sept. 2011 even in the base case without any stress.”

One email disclosed today warned:

“The optics of a Solyndra default will be bad,” the Office of Management and Budget staff member wrote Jan. 31 in an e-mail to a co-worker. “If Solyndra defaults down the road, the optics will be arguably worse later than they would be today. . . . In addition, the timing will likely coincide with the 2012 campaign season heating up.”

Another e-mail warned that “this deal is NOT ready for prime time.”

That did not stop the Obama White House from going primetime with both the President and Vice President. It is the type of calculation that made Las Vegas what it is today. Faced with warnings of a losing hand, the Obama Administration doubled down.

It is not the sheer waste of hundreds of millions in federal funds but the sheer stupidity of this move that has shocked many folks. The fact that a campaign donor was pushing these loans and repeatedly meeting with top staffers does not help the optics — particularly during a month when the White House has been accused by a general of pressuring him to support the business project of another major donor.

The fact is that the Republicans are justified in pursuing this controversy — an opportunity, if not a gift, given to the GOP by this White House.

Source: Yahoo

58 thoughts on “White House Warned in 2009 That Solyndra Was Poor Investment”

  1. According to Rasmussen Reports, 69% of Americans say it is at least somewhat likely that some climate scientists have falsified research data to support their own theories and beliefs, including 40% who say it is “very likely” scientists have done so. Only 22% of poll respondents do not think it is likely that some scientists have falsified research data, with 10% undecided.

    A powerful reason for growing public awareness of flaws in global warming claims, according to Rasmussen Reports, is recent news coverage of a peer-reviewed study documenting how NASA satellite data show more heat is escaping into space than United Nations computer models have predicted.

    “The debate over global warming has intensified in recent weeks after a new NASA study was interpreted by skeptics to reveal that global warming is not man-made,” Rasmussen Reports observed.

    Even most Democrats no longer trust increasingly activist climate scientists to tell the truth about scientific data.

    “Republicans and adults not affiliated with either major political party feel stronger than Democrats that some scientists have falsified data to support their global warming theories, but 51% of Democrats also agree,” observed Rasmussen Reports.

    On a related issue, Rasmussen reported 57% of Americans say there is significant disagreement within the scientific community about global warming, up five percentage points from late 2009. Only 25% of Americans believe scientists agree on global warming. Another 18% are undecided.


  2. Green energy is bankrupt

    Blame Al Gore

    The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters shows that just 24% of voters consider Gore an expert on global warming. Fifty-nine percent (59%) do not think Gore is an expert on the subject, an increase in skepticism of 12 points since March 2007. Another 18% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

    While a plurality of Democrats (43%) considers Gore an expert on global warming, most Republicans (80%) and voters not affiliated with either major political party (65%) disagree.

    Gore may disagree, but most voters believe solar activity has an impact on global cooling and warming. A narrow plurality gives human activity the edge over sun activity, though, when it comes to which one has a bigger impact on the problem.

    Gore is viewed at least somewhat favorably by 40% of voters, with 14% holding a Very Favorable opinion of him. Fifty-three percent (53%) regard him at least somewhat unfavorably, including 38% with a Very Unfavorable view.

  3. The White House noted to ABC News that the Bush administration was the first to consider Solyndra’s application and that some executives at the company have a history of donating to Republicans.

    The results of the Congressional probe shared Tuesday with ABC News show that less than two weeks before President Bush left office, on January 9, 2009, the Energy Department’s credit committee had voted against offering a loan commitment to Solyndra.

    Even after Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, analysts in the Energy Department and in the Office of Management and Budget were repeatedly questioning the wisdom of the loan. In one exchange, an Energy official wrote of “a major outstanding issue” — namely, that Solyndra’s numbers showed it would run out of cash in September 2011.

    There was also concern about the high-risk nature of the project. Internally, the Office of Management and Budget wrote that “the risk rating for the project sponsor [Solyndra] … seems high.” Outside analysts had warned for months that the company might not be a sound investment.

    Peter Lynch, a New York-based solar energy analyst, told ABC News it took only a cursory glance through Solyndra’s prospectus to see there was a problem with their numbers.

    “It’s very difficult to perceive a company with a model that says, well, I can build something for six dollars and sell it for three dollars,” Lynch said. “Those numbers don’t generally work. You don’t want to lose three dollars for every unit you make.”

    Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/emails-obama-white-house-monitored-huge-loan-connected/story?id=14508865#ixzz1Y9dSQq3T

  4. It’s not that money has been wasted but that it has been wasted in the wrong industry. This is a political talking point to preserve the advantage current energy producers have. The government wastes a lot of money on energy producers but it’s an entrenched and heavily lobbied energy industry. They don’t want some upstart, alternate energy to get a toe-hold. Their subsidies, also a waste of taxpayer money, is just fine though- their bought politicians just settled that question didn’t they?

    “As Oil Industry Fights a Tax, It Reaps Subsidies”

    “The flow of revenues to oil companies is like the gusher at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico: heavy and constant,” said Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, who has worked alongside the Obama administration on a bill that would cut $20 billion in oil industry tax breaks over the next decade. “There is no reason for these corporations to shortchange the American taxpayer.”

    Oil industry officials say that the tax breaks, which average about $4 billion a year according to various government reports, are a bargain for taxpayers. By helping producers weather market fluctuations and invest in technology, tax incentives are supporting an industry that the officials say provides 9.2 million jobs.”


    Value (or waste) is in the eye of the beholder. I call cost-plus and non-competitive contracts waste but our Congress and Administration are fine with it; they see value and defense is virtually off the table:

    “GAO Finds Major Defense Dept. Cost-Overruns”

    “A new report from the Government Accountability Office released Tuesday could provide ammunition for critics in both camps, although its message may have a hard time being heard now that the U.S. is embroiled in a third military engagement in the Middle East. The GAO’s annual assessment of defense acquisition programs found the Pentagon was experiencing rapid cost-overruns in a host of major weapons systems, adding $135 billion to its long-term acquisition budget of $1.68 trillion, the report said”


  5. Sorry can’t resist,in the here and now also:

    Massive U.S. Embassy In Iraq Will Expand Further As Soldiers Leave

    “In a telling sign of how dangerous and chaotic Iraq remains more than eight years after President George W. Bush launched the war against Saddam Hussein, U.S. diplomats, military advisers and other officials are planning to fall back to the gargantuan embassy in Baghdad — a heavily fortified, self-contained compound the size of Vatican City.

    The embassy compound is by far the largest the world has ever seen, at one and a half square miles, big enough for 94 football fields. It cost three quarters of a billion dollars to build (coming in about $150 million over budget). Inside its high walls, guard towers and machine-gun emplacements lie not just the embassy itself, but more than 20 other buildings, including residential quarters, a gym and swimming pool, commercial facilities, a power station and a water-treatment plant.”


  6. “For what its worth,I caught drips and drabs on this part of the story the other night.So here it is.”

    Just adding a lttle info that may or may not have been known,and besides aren’t there two sides to “every” story?

    I once read that it pays to be informed, and what better place to bring this info since I learn something every day from this “blawg”

  7. eniobob,

    Interesting link. Looks like the career civil servants, and not the political people, approved the loan.

  8. If a crime was committed, jail the bastards, no matter how high. In that same vein, what about the Iraq war profiteering and the Billions that are unaccounted for? Isn’t that a big deal?
    If torture is a crime, why isn’t Rep. Waxman calling for the investigation of Cheney/Bush etal? I think the Justice Department can handle all of these crimes and the Amish crook without a problem.

  9. Mayor Bloomberg predicts riots in the streets if economy doesn’t create more jobs

    Mayor Bloomberg warned Friday there would be riots in the streets if Washington doesn’t get serious about generating jobs.

    “We have a lot of kids graduating college, can’t find jobs,” Bloomberg said on his weekly WOR radio show.

    “That’s what happened in Cairo. That’s what happened in Madrid. You don’t want those kinds of riots here.”

    In Cairo, angry Egyptians took out their frustrations by toppling presidential strongman Hosni Mubarak – and more recently attacking the Israeli embassy.

    As for Madrid, the most recent street protests were sparked by widespread unhappiness that the Spanish government was spending millions on the visit of Pope Benedict instead of dealing with widespread unemployment.

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/09/16/2011-09-16_mayor_bloomberg_predicts_riots_in_the_streets_if_economy_doesnt_create_more_jobs.html#ixzz1Y8kecdMb

  10. eniobob,

    And here I was thinking that it was Obama initialed….I did not know that it was an ideal of Bush…..the question is why did Obama continue with this if they had some mathematical certainty that it would run out of money in September 11? I am still pondering that….

  11. The Obama administration is in a race against the clock to close by month’s end more than a dozen renewable-energy loan guarantees totaling $9 billion. Of that, just over $3 billion would come from the federal government’s coffers.

    It now has to do that amid an escalating political battle over a federally backed solar company spiraling into bankruptcy and facing an FBI probe. President Obama once praised the company, California-based Solyndra, as “the true engine of economic growth.”

    At a House hearing Wednesday, there was bipartisan concern about risking more taxpayers’ dollars on renewable energy projects that ultimately fail. While Republicans’ rhetoric was more heated, Democrats agree it is a critical issue.

    “Taxpayers have over $500 million at risk as a result of Solyndra’s bankruptcy,” House Energy and Commerce ranking member Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said on Wednesday. “We need to understand what happened and how we can avoid future losses.”


  12. For what its worth,I caught drips and drabs on this part of the story the other night.So here it is.

    Exclusive Timeline: Bush Administration Advanced Solyndra Loan Guarantee for Two Years, Media Blow the Story
    By Stephen Lacey and Climate Guest Blogger on Sep 13, 2011 at 11:10 am

    “It’s often claimed that the Solyndra loan guarantee was “rushed through” by the Obama Administration for political reasons. In fact, the Solyndra loan guarantee was a multi-year process that the Bush Administration launched in 2007.”


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