Skip to comments.Obama's Solyndra-Gate Won't Go Away
Posted on 09/06/2011 4:55:11 AM PDT by Kaslin
In a preview of whats likely to become a common occurrence in the Obama energy strategy, a California manufacturer of solar systems that was financed by a half-a-billion loan through the Obama administration announced that it would seek bankruptcy protection last week.
Last month publicly-traded Evergreen Solar filed for bankruptcy protection as the solar market continues to shake out on declining government handouts and fierce competition.
More trouble is expected in the solar industry in the weeks to come. Some of it will come from Congress.
"Last February, the House Energy and Commerce Committee launched an investigation. Now that Solyndra has bit the dust, the DOE loan guarantee program will be Republicans crosshairs," says the blog on SmartPlanet.com. "This joint statement issued Wednesday from committee chairman Fred Upton and the panels oversight subcommittee chairman Cliff Stearns is a good indicator of how intense this investigation is about to become."
We smelled a rat from the onset. As the highly celebrated first stimulus loan guarantee awarded by the DOE, the $535 million loan for Solyndra was suspect from day one.
It is clear that Solyndra was a dubious investment, but the DOE doubled down in March of this year and restructured the loan, possibly further increasing taxpayers liability. That is a question we want answered. In this time of record debt such disregard for taxpayer dollars cannot be tolerated.
It doesn't help the administration that the decision to make the loans in the first place has crony capitalism written all over it.
Big time Obama donors and bundlers have a financial interest in Solyndra.
In May, the left-wing leaning Center for Public Integrity blasted Obama for putting the welfare of donors above that of taxpayers by killing important safeguards in the process of making the loans.
"The Energy Department in March 2009 announced its intention to award Solyndra Inc.a $535 million loan guarantee before receiving final copies of outside reviews typically used to vet such deals," wrote CPI. "An independent federal auditor who has reviewed the energy loan program said moving so quickly without completing thorough reviews exposed the program to perceptions of political influence and put taxpayers at greater risk.
Theres a consequence if you dont follow a rigorous process thats transparent, said Franklin Rusco, an analyst with the Government Accountability Office . It makes the agency more susceptible to outside pressures, potentially.
"Fueling that perception was the fact that George Kaiser, one of Solyndras top investors, raised about $50,000 for Obamas presidential campaign," writes the Hertiage Foundation.
"The company benefited from another loan guarantee, this one for $10.3 million, as part of the Export-Import Banks Renewable Express program, which was created to encourage exports in the renewable energy industry. The Export-Import Banks president and chairman, Fred Hochberg, was also a major Obama donor, bundling an estimated $100,000 for his campaign."
The bankruptcy by Solyndra puts at risk $535 million in government loan guarantees granted in 2010 by the administration. Ironically, the company cited regulatory and policy uncertainties in recent months as one of the prime reasons the company could not achieve full-scale operations.
1,100 employees lost their jobs immediately by the move, although the administration previously claimed that the company saved or created 3,000 jobs with the loan.
Regulatory and policy uncertainties from this administration? Nah.
In 2010, Solyndra spent $550,000 on lobbying the federal government. In 2011, so far they have spent only $220,000 on lobbying. The administration is likely hopeful that this will teach others not to cut their lobbying budget.
Solyndra employees contributed over $10,000 to various Democrat candidates and committees in 2010 including Harry Reid, Gabrielle Gifford, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Diane Feinstein and Barbra Boxer.
The bankruptcy announcement by the struggling solar company comes amidst a glut of solar panels on the market, combined with tough financing conditions for an industry that cant compete with old-fashioned fossil-fuel created electricity.
Solyndra could not achieve full-scale operations rapidly enough to compete in the near term with the resources of larger foreign manufacturers," "This competitive challenge was exacerbated by a global oversupply of solar panels ," and a severe compression of prices that in part resulted from uncertainty in governmental incentive programs in Europe and the decline in credit markets that finance solar systems.
In May, Italy announced that they would be cutting back subsidies to solar companies by about 35 percent with another 23 percent to be chopped off in 2012. With other European subsidies in doubt, private financing is becoming tougher for an industry that cant scale up to commercial size without significant spending by governments.
In fact, Solyndra was forced in March to scrap plans for a $300 million initial public offering as the financial markets deteriorated and competition from China made the economics a tougher sale for the company.
Instead, the company was forced to take money from inside investors, according to the website Seeking Alpha.
[Solyndra] had to take $175 million more from their existing investors, wrote the site in June, likely at onerous cramdown terms. Earlier investors and stock-holding employees end up with shrinking equity shares of the company.
All told, Seeking Alpha reports that the company received a billion dollars in venture capital plus the $535 million federal loan guarantee. While not all of the money included in the guarantee has been doled out apparently, its unclear how much money the government is on the hook for.
Even in June, the companys viability was being questioned by Seeking Alphas green correspondent Green Tech Media, a business to business site [that covers] daily news and market analysis on green technology: What are the repayment terms for the DOE loan? asked Green Tech. How does the U.S. expect to get this money back from a company that is losing cash with every shipment?
Those are good questions that probably should have been asked by the Department of Energy before guaranteeing a half-a-billion in project financing.
Are the Obama folks the only ones now who believe their own rhetoric? I mean if youve lost Green Tech Media, havent you lost the war?
Last week we criticized the Department of Energy for guaranteeing a $133 million loan to Abegnoa, a Spanish biomass company. The loan will help build a biomass plant with technology that has yet to prove commercially viable despite decades of research and test plant construction.
If the biomass plant made any sense at all economically the company would be able to get a loan on the strength of its balance sheet, I wrote in Palin Thumps Harvard, rather than having to rely on guarantees from the Department of Energy. Because in the end, this plant wont make money, wont make the rent and certainly wont make enough green fuel to power Kyle Ortons Prius for a week.
So far the Department of Energy has guaranteed $38.7 billion in green loans under Obama, loans that are little more than empty calories salted generously by government cash.
They claim that the program created or saved 68, 578 jobs.
Expect the fallout to continue with proposal expected by Obama that will propose fruther stimulus spending on supposed job-creation.
Timeline of Energy and Commerce Committee Investigation
February 17, 2011 - Committee Leaders submit a letter to Energy Secretary Chu seeking documents and information about the $535 million loan guarantee that the DOE Loan Guarantee Program awarded Solyndra, Inc. DOE complies with the request.
March 14, 2011 - Committee Leaders submit a letter to OMB requesting key documents and information concerning the review of the Solyndra loan guarantee. A two week deadline is set.
March 17, 2011 Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations holds a hearing on DOE Recovery Act Spending.
March 28, 2011 OMB fails to meet the Committee deadline.
June 7, 2011 After weeks of back and forth, an in camera review takes place with Committee staff and OMB staff. OMB selected eight emails between OMB and DOE to make available to Committee staff, and refused to produce the rest of the emails or the agreed-upon internal OMB emails and documents.
June 23, 2011 - Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns responded in a letterto OMB after it refused to share requested documents by the Committee regarding the Solyndra loan guarantee investigation.
June 24, 2011 - The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing regarding OMBs Role in the DOE Loan Guarantee Process. Sole witness Jeffrey Zients, Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget was a no show.
July 11, 2011 - Committee staff conduct a second in camera review. Committee staff asked OMB about the production of the other categories of documents sought by this Committee, specifically, OMBs internal communications and documents relating to Solyndra, and its communications with the White House. As the OMB had done for months, OMB staff refused to provide and answer about whether they would produce these materials, and instead maintained that the OMB-DOE communications sufficiently show whether or not OMB had has done its job with regard to Solyndra.
July 12, 2011 - Energy and Commerce Committee leaders announced the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations were to hold a business meeting on Thursday, July 14, 2011 to consider a motion authorizing the issuance of a subpoena for certain records of the Office and Management and Budget relating to the Department of Energys issuance of a loan guarantee to Solyndra, Inc. on September 2, 2009.
July 13, 2011 - Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns wrote a letter to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to provide a final opportunity to avoid the issuance of a subpoena. OMB refused.
July 14, 2011 - The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a business meeting to consider the issuance of the subpoena. The Subcommittee voted to issue the subpoena 14 to 8.
July 15, 2011 The subpoena is issued to OMB, setting a July 22, 2011, deadline.
July 22, 2011 OMB fails to meet the subpoenas dealing. Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns informs OMB that they have failed to comply with the subpoena issued on July 15, 2011 regarding the Solyndra loan guarantee. Chairman Stearns requested that OMB produce the documents no later than 9:00 a.m. Monday, July 25, 2011.
July 25, 2011 OMB fails to produce the documents by 9:00am deadline.
August 2011 OMB agrees to produce all documents necessary to the Committee's investigation, with appropriate safeguards relating to proprietary information. Production continues.
-——Now that Solyndra has bit the dust-——
What they did was File Chapter 11 for reorganization. Is that really biting the dust or is there enough left to get more financing to revive the dream? The plant is there. All that is needed, besides sales, is more money. The dream is not dead
oh my, what a flustercluck.
George Kaiser net worth 9.8 Billion.
Why couldn't this man invest his OWN money?
This is so phony——you can bet a huge chunk of those tax dollars are stashed offshore-——for the Obamas.
Some of it will trickle back as “campaign donations.”
Obama took over the census when he got in-—so he has all the CV needed to pass muster with the FEC for phony donations.
$500 Million for $50,000. That old Obama's quite the amplifier, ain't he?
Because he sleeps on an air mattress?
My guess is, all he's got lying around is credit and wind, so that's what he uses. And anyway, the wealth of a billionaire is large enough to have a significant gravity field for other people's money. OPM is always best. :)
Novelist Dean Koontz estimates some $70 BILLION has been looted from th3e US Treasury by the Obama flash mobs.
Wall Street creeps like ex-COS Rahm Emanuel know the ropes-—probably used the Madoff Ponzi MO-—using a labyrinth of offshore phony organizations and businesses disguises.
All tax free.
What amazes me is that after the ethanol disaster that resulted from the Bush/Pelosi 2007 energy bill that ‘green alternatives’ would be even considered as a government policy again. But you hear few in DC talking about what a disaster that energy bill and specifically ethanol was because it was bipartision. .
That bill was :
Light Bulbs (ban on manufacturing, can we buy them from China next year?)
Daylight savings time start moved earlier (so we use less lights in evening supposedly )
That’s flustercuck — or fustercluck. But not flustercluck.
I mean, if you’re going to use these technical terms, GET IT RIGHT /s
“Why couldn’t this man invest his OWN money?”
If the gov’t is stupid enough to fund a project like this, he can rake off $50 to a $100 million in “fees”, and go home.
That’s why he’s rich. He uses other peoples’ money.
Mark for later.
It’s just one of several companies with huge subsidies to go out of business.
If there are no government subsidized Solyndra solar cells how am I going to charge my government subsidized Chevy Volt?
BTW--this little tidbit always makes me laugh out loud---and is a clue to the wholesale looting and pillaging.
Grinning mayoral candidate Rahm actually went before the mics to announce he had raised $10.5 million campaign bucks in just three months. ROTFLOL.
Heck, Rahm...... everyone knows it only takes a nanosecond to transfer funds from offshore accounts.
REFERENCE Keep in mind---Obama took over the census when he got in----and Rahm controlled the US Treasury. The census comes in handy---when candidates have to supply names and CV of donors to election agencies. People donated to Rahm...... and don't even know it. ROTFL.
Well, let's knock some zeros off that theory. If you are worth 8,000,000,000 -- can you "go home" with 50,000,000 or 100,000,000?
If you are worth 800,000 can you go home with 5000 or 10,000?
I guess you could but Mama won't be very happy.