Despite Criminal Investigation, White House Keeping Solyndra Documents in the Dark

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We’ve known for months that Solyndra is under investigation by the FBI, but recent reports indicate that the company is currently under a grand jury investigation—raising questions about the possibility of criminal wrongdoing by the company’s executives:

“GRAND JURY INVESTIGATING SOLYNDRA”: (Darren Samuelson, “Grand Jury Investigating Solyndra,” Politico, 12/14/2011)

INVESTIGATION HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR AT LEAST TWO MONTHS: (Darren Samuelson, “Grand Jury Investigating Solyndra,” Politico, 12/14/2011)

FBI RAIDED SOLYNDRA IN SEPTEMBER: “FBI agents executed search warrants Thursday at the headquarters of California solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which received more than $500 million in federal loans before filing for bankruptcy last week.” (Kevin Freking, “FBI Solyndra Raid: Misuse of Federal Loans?”, Associated Press, 9/9/2011)

FLASHBACK: OBAMA SAID SOLYNDRA “WENT THROUGH THE REGULAR REVIEW PROCESS, AND PEOPLE FELT LIKE THIS WAS A GOOD BET”: (Devin Dwyer, “For Sale: Banner that Greeted Obama at Solyndra,” ABC News, 11/2/2011)

EVEN RETIRING LIBERAL REP. BARNEY FRANK (D-MA) ADMITS SOLYNDRA “WAS A MISTAKE”: (“Rep. Barney Frank: ‘Solyndra Was a Mistake,’” Real Clear Politics, 12/19/2011)

Despite these growing concerns, the Obama administration continues to stonewall requests for transparency, refusing to release key documents detailing the involvement of high-level White House officials in securing the Solyndra loan:

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION STILL WITHHOLDING SOLYNDRA DOCUMENTS: “Despite a subpoena, the White House is still withholding records related to the failed $535 million federal loan to Solyndra, Republican investigators from the House Energy and Commerce Committee said Thursday.” (C.J. Ciaramella, “White House Withholding Solyndra Records, House Energy Committee Says,” The Daily Caller, 12/1/2011)

WHITE HOUSE ADMITS “THERE ARE LIKELY MORE SOLYDRA DOCUMENTS” COVERED BY THE SUBPOENA THAT ARE NOT BEING RELEASED: “The White House acknowledged that there are likely more Solyndra documents, but said they are mostly news clippings that aren’t relevant to the GOP investigation.

“ ‘While it is certainly true that there are internal White House [Office of the Vice President] documents covered by the subpoena that have not been produced, that is because the subpoenas issued by the Committee are extraordinarily broad and sweep in categories of documents that are not tied to the Committee’s legitimate oversight interests,’ Ruemmler said in the letter to full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), the chairman of the committee’s investigative panel.” (Andrew Restuccia, “White House: We Did Not ‘Cherry-Pick’ Solyndra Documents,” The Hill, 12/8/2011)

Democrats have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in placing taxpayer-funded bets on Solyndra despite warnings against doing so, yet document dumps have slowly revealed political manipulation, special treatment and Obama donors lobbying the administration to help Solyndra. What is left that Democrats are so desperately still trying to hide?:

OBAMA’S “GREEN” PROGRAM “INFUSED WITH POLITICS AT EVERY LEVEL”: “Meant to create jobs and cut reliance on foreign oil, Obama’s green-technology program was infused with politics at every level, The Washington Post found in an analysis of thousands of memos, company records and internal ­e-mails. Political considerations were raised repeatedly by company investors, Energy Department bureaucrats and White House officials.

“The records, some previously unreported, show that when warned that financial disaster might lie ahead, the administration remained steadfast in its support for Solyndra.” (Joe Stephens and Carol D. Leonnig, “Solyndra: Politics Infused Obama Energy Programs,” The Washington Post, 12/25/2011)

OFFICIALS DISCUSSED “POLITICAL FALLOUT” WHILE “SOLYNDRA TOTTERED”; “RARELY, IF EVER” WERE WORKERS CONSIDERED: “They show that as Solyndra tottered, officials discussed the political fallout from its troubles, the ‘optics’ in Washington and the impact that the company’s failure could have on the president’s prospects for a second term. Rarely, if ever, was there discussion of the impact that Solyndra’s collapse would have on laid-off workers or on the development of clean-energy technology.” (Joe Stephens and Carol D. Leonnig, “Solyndra: Politics Infused Obama Energy Programs,” The Washington Post, 12/25/2011)

OBAMA ADMIN HAD SOLYNDRA DELAY LAYOFF ANNOUNCEMENTS UNTIL AFTER 2010 MIDTERM ELECTIONS:

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION URGED SOLYNDRA TO DELAY LAYOFF ANNOUNCEMENTS UNTIL AFTER 2010 MIDTERM ELECTIONS: “The Obama administration urged officers of the struggling solar company Solyndra to postpone announcing planned layoffs until after the November 2010 midterm elections, newly released e-mails show.

“Solyndra, the now-shuttered California company, had been a poster child of President Obama’s initiative to invest in clean energies and received the administration’s first energy loan of $535 million. But a year ago, in October 2010, the solar panel manufacturer was quickly running out of money and had warned the Department of Energy it would need emergency cash to avoid having to shut down.” (Carol Leonnig, “Solyndra: Department of Energy ‘Pushed Hard’ for Company Not to Announce Layoffs Until after 2010 Mid-Term Elections,” The Washington Post, 11/15/2011)

DOE PRESSURE CAME AS SOLYNDRA WAS STILL DEPENDENT ON DOE FUNDING FOR THE SUBSEQUENT MONTH: “ ‘DOE continues to be cooperative and have indicated that they will fund the November draw on our loan (app. $40 million) but have not committed to December yet,’ a Solyndra investor adviser wrote Oct. 30. ‘They did push very hard for us to hold our announcement of the consolidation to employees and vendors to Nov. 3rd – oddly they didn‘t give a reason for that date.’ ” (Carol Leonnig, “Solyndra: Department of Energy ‘Pushed Hard’ for Company Not to Announce Layoffs Until after 2010 Mid-Term Elections,” The Washington Post, 11/15/2011)

SOLYNDRA BUMPED ITS LAYOFF ANNOUNCEMENT TO NOV. 3, DAY AFTER ELECTION: “On Nov. 3, 2010, Solyndra announced it would lay off 40 workers and 150 contractors and shut down its Fab 1 factory.” (Carol Leonnig, “Solyndra: Department of Energy ‘Pushed Hard’ for Company Not to Announce Layoffs Until after 2010 Mid-Term Elections,” The Washington Post, 11/15/2011)

SOLYNDRA INVESTOR: OBAMA’S “DOE REALLY THINKS POLITICALLY BEFORE IT THINKS ECONOMICALLY”: (Amy Harder, “QUICK TAKE: “E-mails Suggest DOE Put Politics Above Economics with Solyndra,” National Journal, 11/16/2011)

SPECIAL TREATMENT:

OBAMA’S DOE “ALL BUT” TOLD SOLYNDRA THAT THEY WOULD BE FIRST IN LINE FOR A SECOND STIMULUS LOAN: (E-mail from Steve Mitchell to George Kaiser, U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, 3/5/2010, p. 3)

TOP OBAMA BUNDLER GEORGE KAISER “WEIGHED ASKING WHITE HOUSE TO SAVE SOLYNDRA” AS IT WAS FAILING: “A key investor in the failed solar power company Solyndra, who was also a political donor to Barack Obama, strategized with his top executives about whether and how they should use their contacts inside the White House to help their failing business venture, according to emails surfaced by Congressional investigators Wednesday.” (Matthew Mosk, “Emails: Obama Donor Weighed Asking White House to Save Solyndra,” ABC News, 11/9/2011)

SOLYNDRA REVIEW TOOK ONLY 9 DAYS; AVERAGE WAS 28 DAYS: (Ryan Tracy, "House Probes Solyndra Loan," The Wall Street Journal, 9/14/2011)

SOLYNDRA RECEIVED SPECIAL TAX EXEMPTIONS FROM OBAMA’S IRS: “In November of 2009, in the midst of Solyndra’s downward financial spiral, the Internal Revenue Service issued a ruling that granted special tax favors to the firm and its customers.” (Lou Dolinar, “Solyndra and the IRS,” National Review, 10/19/2011)

OBAMA’S DEPT. OF ENERGY “WAS ACTIVELY PUSHING” SECOND LOAN GUARANTEE WORTH $469 MILLION: (Carol Leonnig, “Solyndra E-mails: Dept. of Energy was Poised to Approve $469 Million for Firm,” The Washington Post, 10/5/2011)

ENERGY DEPT. OFFICIALS MADE A LEGAL CASE FOR RESTRUCTURING SOLYNDRA LOAN WITH THE EXPECTATION THAT THE COMPANY COULD COLLAPSE: “A memo issued earlier this year makes the case that the Energy Department was within its legal rights to restructure the $535 million Solyndra loan guarantee in February as the California solar company faced financial collapse. … The memo is dated Feb. 15, 2011.” (Andrew Restuccia, “Memo Argues Energy Legally Restructured $535M Solyndra Loan,” The Hill, 10/14/2011)

EVEN THOUGH TREASURY DEPT. OFFICIALS SAID THEY BELIEVED “SUBORDINATION” OF TAXPAYERS IN RESTRUCTURING MOVE WAS ILLEGAL: “One of the witnesses — Gary Burner, the chief financial officer for Treasury’s Federal Financing Bank — raised questions about the Energy Department’s plan to restructure the loan. Internal emails show that Burner told officials with DOE’s loan programs office in February that they might need approval from the Justice Department before approving the restructuring of the Solyndra loan guarantee. A separate Treasury official, Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets Mary J. Miller, wrote to a White House Office of Management and Budget official in August of this year stating that Treasury believed the ‘subordination’ of the taxpayer interest in the restructuring agreement was illegal.” (Andrew Restuccia, “Memo Argues Energy Legally Restructured $535M Solyndra Loan,” The Hill, 10/14/2011)

CONNECTIONS TO TOP OBAMA BUNDLERS:

SOLYNDRA OFFICIALS WHO GAVE TO OBAMA HAD EASY WHITE HOUSE ACCESS: “The administration, which excluded lobbyists from policymaking positions, gave easy access to venture capitalists with stakes in some of the companies backed by the administration, the records show. Many of those investors had given to Obama’s 2008 campaign. Some took jobs in the administration and helped manage the clean-energy program.” (Joe Stephens and Carol D. Leonnig, “Solyndra: Politics Infused Obama Energy Programs,” The Washington Post, 12/25/2011)

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, FOLKS: KAISER WAS SOLYNDRA’S BIGGEST INVESTOR AND PLOTTED TO GET WHITE HOUSE HELP TO GET SECOND STIMULUS LOAN AND GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS: “Solyndra’s biggest investor was a fund linked to the family foundation of George Kaiser, a Tulsa billionaire and bundler for Obama’s presidential campaign.

“Kaiser was involved in e-mail correspondence with his business colleagues about an upcoming White House meeting to get the administration’s help in selling its panels, and in seeking a second energy department loan, which if awarded would have been in addition to a $535 million loan the company received in 2009.” (Joe Stephens, “Solyndra E-mails Show Obama Fundraiser Discussed Lobbying White House,” The Washington Post, 11/9/2011)

E-MAILS CONTRADICT WHITE HOUSE DENIALS THAT KAISER’S 17 WHITE HOUSE MEETINGS EVER MENTIONED SOLYNDRA: “The document contradicts White House statements that Kaiser ‘never discussed Solyndra during any of his seventeen visits to the White House,’ Representatives Fred Upton of Michigan and Cliff Stearns of Florida, who are leading a congressional investigation into Solyndra’s collapse, said in a letter today to White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler.” (Jim Snyder, “Kaiser Spoke to White House About Solyndra,” Bloomberg, 11/9/2011)

AP: DOE OFFICIAL AND “OBAMA FUNDRAISER PUSHED SOLYNDRA LOAN” DESPITE PLEDGE TO RECUSE HIMSELF; HIS WIFE WAS SOLYNDRA LOBBYIST: “Newly released emails show that Steve Spinner, a former Obama fundraiser who helped monitor a clean energy loan guarantee program, was more actively involved in a loan for Solyndra LLC than administration officials have acknowledged. … In the emails, Spinner repeatedly pushes Energy Department and White House budget officials to ensure that the loan was finalized before Biden's planned trip. The loan closing was announced at the groundbreaking ceremony on Sept. 4, 2009.

“ ‘How -- hard is this? What is he waiting for?’ Spinner wrote in an Aug, 28, 2009 email to a DOE official. ‘I have the OVP (Office of the Vice President) and WH (the White House) breathing down my neck on this. They are getting itchy to get involved.’” (Matthew Daly, “Obama Fundraiser Pushed Solyndra Loan,” Associated Press, 10/7/2011)

“SOLYNDRA’S LAWYERS MAJOR OBAMA, DEMOCRATIC DONORS”: (Matthew Boyle, “Solyndra’s Lawyers Major Obama, Democratic Donors,” The Daily Caller, 9/30/2011)

 

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