Fifty thousand dollars is a lot of money for one man to contribute to a candidate’s campaign fund. But it is money well spent if it helps you get half of a billion dollars in stimulus money to develop a company you are promoting.
Solyndra was the poster child for Barack Obama’s Green Energy Stimulus program. In May of last year the President splashed across the news with great fanfare and with great pride as he told the nation this was his move to save the planet and create brand new jobs. Now, less than 16 months later, the company is bankrupt and 1,100 workers were suddenly thrown out of work with no advance notice. Furthermore, It looks like the taxpayers will be out $535,000,000.
In a visit to Solyndra in May 2010, President Obama called it “a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism.” He all but redefined the traditional statement of Americanness to encompass motherhood, apple pie, and the conversion of sunlight into electricity through cylindrical thin-film solar cells, the specialty of Solyndra.
Obama and Biden were literally invested in Solyndra’s success. The company got a half-billion-dollar federal loan guarantee, the first in a highly vaunted Department of Energy green-jobs program, as part of the stimulus. This was supposed to be the new economic model: government and its favored industries cooperating to lead the country into a green, politically approved recovery.
What can you expect from a business plan to make little solar panels at a cost of $6.29 per energy unit, get a government subsidy to cover half the cost, and then offer the product for sale at $3.24 in a market where the competition is selling it for $1.75? It gets worse. Solyndra is backed by one of Obama’s key fundraisers, George Kaiser of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Rich Lowry says this is Obama’s Enron, Power Line blog likens it to the Keating Savings and Loan political scandal.
From the Washington Post via American Thinker
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), chairman of the oversight and investigations subcommittee, wrote to the White House, “We have learned from our investigation that White House officials monitored Solyndra’s application, and communicated with DOE and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) officials. Documents received by the Committee also show that DOE and OMB officials were aware of the White House’s interest in the Solyndra loan guarantee.”
Solyndra’s shuttering has also raised concerns about the status of tens of billions the Obama administration has invested in other renewable-energy companies.
There is one difference between Keating or Enron and Solyndra; the press is not likely to run hard with the Solyndra affair.