Tags: Editor's Pick | solyndra | obama | emails | aide

Solyndra Offered Job to Obama Aide

Thursday, 15 Sep 2011 10:56 AM

By Dan Weil

The evidence of unseemly activity between failed solar panel maker Solyndra and the Obama administration continues to mount. Recently released e-mails show that company spokesman David Miller went above and beyond in wooing a White House official after the president’s May 2010 visit to Solyndra’s headquarters, Politico reports.

In a message to White House special assistant Johanna Maska the day after Obama’s visit, Miller wrote, "If you tire of the White House life and ever decide you want to move out with your best friends in [California, where Solyndra was based] let me know. We could find you a great corporate gig very quickly."

Maska, who was promoted this April to director of White House press advance, didn't go for Miller’s idea.

The e-mails also show Miller’s efforts to manipulate media coverage of Solyndra.

For example, he sought to limit distribution of a July 2010 Greenwire story headlined: "Did solar startup's financial crunch catch the White House napping?"

"It's total crap (my subtle professional opinion), and I wanted you to be aware we are working on a response and working to intercept it so it doesn't get picked up by NY Times if we can, and have a plan to mitigate if it does," Miller wrote to Maska, Gregory Nelson of the White House's Office of Public Engagement, and Daniella Leger, director of message events.

But the story did appear on The Times website as part of the newspaper’s agreement with Greenwire.

Before Obama’s appearance, Miller also was concerned about questions from local reporters as to why hundreds of employees wouldn’t be working and wouldn’t be paid for the day when Obama visited.

Miller wrote to the White House that Solyndra was preparing a statement on the issue, saying it had been working non-stop since the factory’s September 2009 debut, including overtime. While activity would be suspended during the president's stay, it would resume right after he left. Employees didn’t cede pay for the day, but “rather the day will be made up down the road,” the statement said.

The next day, Miller wrote to Maska: "The coverage is fantastic this morning (other than the stupid no pay thing which we're making go away).”

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