A new report from the Department of Energy’s Inspector General has acknowledged that White House officials placed “tremendous pressure” on DOE employees to process loan guarantee applications. This pressure played a crucial role in the calamitous approval of the 2009 Solyndra loan that cost taxpayers more than $500 million.
Solyndra, a solar-panel manufacture, was approved for a $535 million loan from the DOE under the Obama administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In 2011, just 2 years after receiving the loan, Solyndra laid-off its 1,100 employees and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The political desire for a success-case in Obama’s new program, resulted in negligent loan practices, which tanked the company, cost thousands of jobs and millions of taxpayer dollars.
The new report has found that although Solyndra is blameworthy for providing misleading evidence to DOE officials, political pressure from the Administration and Department leadership, unnecessarily expedited the approval process, resulting in oversight directly related to the loan’s failure. This report corroborates a 2012 oversight report from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The E&C committee’s report found that intense political pressure placed on employees at the DOE and Office of Management and Budget (OMB), resulted in clear neglect of procedural elements that would have exposed Solyndra’s duplicitous financials.
In 2009 President Barack Obama signed the Americans Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a massive expansion of the 2005 Energy Policy Act. The new initiative sought to inject billions of taxpayer dollars specifically into renewable energy resources. Solyndra was intended to be a poster-child for the merits of the new program.
In many ways, a poster-child is exactly what Solyndra has become. However, instead of one representing the glory and success of the President’s plan, it signifies the unflattering underbelly of “clean energy” politics, and is drawing attention to the likelihood of these policies creating a “solar bubble” within the economy.
A recent Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, has outlined the disturbing relationship between government subsidies for Big Solar, and the investment interests that are taking advantage of this lucrative opportunity. The uncouth relationship is distorting the energy economy in the U.S., and placing large solar companies on track to becoming “too big to fail”.
The neglect and waste of the Solyndra failure, has clearly not diminished Obama’s willingness to undermine the American economy by picking winners and losers in the private sector. The government created “solar bubble” is speeding to a bursting point. When it bursts, the Administration’s complicit involvement, will make another government bail-out simply too much for the public to swallow.