Tags: post | solyndra | obama | biden

Post: Politics, Not Science, Fueled Solyndra Scandal

Sunday, 25 Dec 2011 07:37 PM

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The Obama’s administrations zest for so-called “green” technology programs were infused with politics that caused policymakers to make reckless mistakes that wasted hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds and destroyed lives, the Washington Post reported Sunday in a story about the Solyndra scandal.

Solyndra LLC is the failed solar-panel maker that got $535 million in government loan guarantees before filing for bankruptcy earlier this year.

“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 officials at the White House,” the Post reported.

“The records, some previously unreported, show that when warned that financial disaster might lie ahead, the administration remained steadfast in its support for Solyndra.

The documents obtained by the Post 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.

“What’s so troubling is that politics seems to be the dominant factor,” said Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group. “They’re not talking about what the taxpayers are losing; they’re not talking about the failure of the technology, whether we bet on the wrong horse. What they are talking about is, ‘How are we going to manage this politically?’ ”

The administration 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.

“Documents show that senior officials pushed career bureaucrats to rush their decision on the loan, so Vice President Biden could announce it during a trip to California,” the Post reports. “The records do not establish that anyone pressured the Energy Department to approve the Solyndra loan to benefit political contributors, but they suggest that there was an unwavering focus on promoting Solyndra and clean energy in the face of distressing financial news. Officials with the company and the administration have said nothing untoward occurred, and that the loan was granted on its merits.”

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