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The Obama administration defended a loan of over $500 million to a Silicon Valley-based solar panel company that recently went bankrupt despite warnings

The Obama administration defended a loan of over $500 million to a Silicon Valley-based solar panel company that recently went bankrupt despite warnings, saying that the economy was to blame and that alternative energy investments must carry on regardless. 

According to MSNBC, the government loaned solar panel company Solyndra $535 million in 2009. The move was set to stimulate economic growth through environmentally friendly jobs. But Solyndra recently declared bankruptcy, laying off 1,100 workers. 

Last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided Solyndra's headquarters to investigate whether the government was given the wrong idea when it handed over the hefty loan. Emails from government employees were found, and are raising questions about the Obama administration's actions back when Solyndra was given the loan. 

According to The Washington Post, the emails contained warnings from government employees about the viability of Solyndra. Only days before the final approval, an email predicted that the project would run out of money in September 2011 -- which is exactly what happened. 

Another email from government staffers questioned the model the government was using, but said "given the time pressure we are under to sign off on Solyndra, we don't have time to change the model."

Reports state that the White House pushed the loan ahead despite warnings in order to meet political deadlines. That way, Vice President Joe Biden could announce the final approval at the groundbreaking for the new plant two years ago. 

The U.S. Department of Energy's loan office and the White House budget office is defending their decisions, saying that the Solyndra loan was well in place during the final years of President George W. Bush's administration. 

“In fact, by the time the Obama administration took office in late January 2009, the loan programs staff had already established a goal of, and timeline for, issuing the company a conditional loan guarantee commitment in March 2009,” said Jonathan Silver, executive director of energy loan programs.

Much of the Wednesday hearing consisted of "assigning political blame," where Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL) who is the chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations, criticized the Democratic minority for voting against the subpoena documents in regards to the deal. 

“It should not take a financial restructuring, bankruptcy and an F.B.I. raid for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to put politics aside and join us in our efforts,” said Stearns.

Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) responded by saying that solar energy is not an issue of Democratic or Republican, but rather the security of American energy innovation in the future. 

Democrats didn't defend Solyndra, but did defend the government's ability to push the solar industry in order to compete with China, which is encouraging solar energy on a large scale. 

Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) added that the U.S. Department of Energy is expected to award billions of dollars more in loan guarantees by the end of this month alone, and questioned its ability to choose those who will receive the loans. 

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sounds bad...
By Ytsejamer1 on 9/14/2011 3:42:39 PM , Rating: 1
$500m is a good chunk of change to be careless with. While this of course reflects poorly on the WH and administration officials, let's keep in mind we're still giving $4-$8b (BILLION) per year in subsidies to oil companies, roughly $70b in tax breaks to corporations and wealthy individuals who pay a lower tax rate than most of the population (or if you're GE, you pay nothing!), etc.

Not to make this overly political...but my point is that we waste a ton more where it shouldn't be. I'd rather throw money at upstart companies who are trying to get the renewable energy industry going. But bad companies are always bad bets and this certainly doesn't help anyone's view of the current administration...mine included.

RE: sounds bad...
By MrBlastman on 9/14/2011 4:40:43 PM , Rating: 2
The dimwittedness of this all goes beyond the Obama or even the Bush administration. It goes all the way to the heart of our political system and the parties within it. The flagrant way they throw money at a "problem" or a "cause" without ever thinking it through is putrescent.

They do this all through political motivations and not intellectual or logical though. The shortsightedness of it all is amazing, yet, we the voting public allow it to continue every time we cast our almighty, blood-earned vote.

The thing that bugs me the most is how we toss money at things such as Solar Power because as some politicians argue, it is the "future" towards our energy freedom, yet completely fail to understand the technology. Some things bother me to the extreme, such as reliance on lead-acid battery technology for energy storage when there are far better mechanical storage solutions (which are much less wasteful too) or even trying to make space-based power a reality.

No, we do none of these and instead reward companies for following the status-quo, or doing just slightly "better," when in reality, companies like this one figure out they can get the free money and try to bilk us for as much and as long as they can.

RE: sounds bad...
By Reclaimer77 on 9/14/11, Rating: 0
RE: sounds bad...
By autoboy on 9/14/2011 5:20:21 PM , Rating: 3
The subsidies you speak of are simply way of saying tax incentives, and the tax breaks the oil companies get are the same tax breaks that all companies who manufacture equipment get. Are you saying that we should treat oil companies differently than all other companies who manufacture heavy equipment? Like they are special because you think they are evil so they are the only companies in the US that DON'T get to write off heavy equipment? Not only is that morally wrong, but it's also probably unconstitutional so no matter how much you cry about it, you can't treat one group of people differently than another. Thanks for regurgitating talking points without understanding them one bit.

Agree we need to get rid of all the corporate welfare, but the left seems to be even less interested in it than the right. The reason these companies get tax breaks, is because our tax code is a political tool for politicians. Right now I've only heard Republicans and Libertarians attempt to change the tax code to a system that won't allow politicians to use it for political favors. Right now there is a BLACK Republican (yeah repubs are all racist right?) running for President who is proposing an uncorruptable 9-9-9 plan for taxes. 9% corporate, 9% income, and 9% federal sales tax. Keep this tax code, make it so there are no exemptions, and nobody can use it for political posturing.

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