Depending on which side of the political aisle they originate, opinions vary on whether the Solyndra controversy is a scandal that can be fully attributed to Barack Obama.
Most on the right claim President Obama pushed his green agenda with a blatant disregard for the California solar company's lack of financial health. Many on the left argue that President George W. Bush and his Republican-controlled Congress began the green energy loan subsidies program, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, that ultimately provided the funding to Solyndra.
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Here are eight facts about the Barack Obama Solyndra scandal:
1. In 2009, the California-based green energy solar panel manufacturer Solyndra received a $535 million loan. The stimulus-funded loan, which was originally applied for in 2006 under the Bush Administration, was guaranteed by the Department of Energy.
2. While visiting Solyndra in May of 2010, President Barack Obama claimed Solyndra was “leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future.”
3. In August of 2011, The Washington Post
reported that Solyndra shut down, "leaving 1,100 people out of work and taxpayers obligated for $535 million in federal loans." According to Solyndra Chief Executive Brian Harrison, "Regulatory and policy uncertainties made it impossible to raise capital to quickly rescue the operation."
4. The Solyndra controversy was elevated to a scandal when it was revealed that Office of Management and Budget officials felt pressured to approve the loan, despite an awareness of Solyndra's financial instability. ABC News reported
, "The deal later came under scrutiny from independent government watch dogs and members of Congress, which said the administration had bypassed key taxpayer protections in a rush to approve the funds — claims the administration has denied."
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5. Reporter Chris Good from The Atlantic
wrote, "If White House officials handled taxpayer dollars irresponsibly for the sake of promoting Obama's signature piece of legislation at the time, it would constitute a potential ethical lapse that resonates with criticisms against the stimulus and ballooning deficits."
6. Questions about potential political motivations behind the special treatment of the Solyndra loan further fueled the green energy scandal. The Week reported
, "The family foundation of billionaire George Kaiser, an Obama fundraiser, is one of Solyndra's big investors. The GOP says that Team Obama interfered to speed up the loan approval, cutting short due diligence so that Vice President Joe Biden could announce the loan at the Sept. 4, 2009, groundbreaking of a new Solyndra factory being financed by that government cash."
7. Newly appointed White House Ebola response coordinator Ron Klain was previously Joe Biden's chief of staff. According to The Washington Post
, Klain "dismissed auditor’s concerns about Solyndra’s solvency, reasoning that all innovative companies come with risk."
8. Thomas Pyle of U.S. News
wrote an article on the issuance of new loan guarantees to additional green companies despite the Solyndra scandal. "Now here we are, $535 billion in wasted taxpayer dollars later, and it seems that the administration is intent on going full speed ahead. In fact, the president recently said in an interview that the Solyndra deal was 'a good bet.' Talk about a disconnect."
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