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Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

‘When Government Plays a Part, It can Bring the Private Sector Along.’



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The House Energy and Commerce Committee released some White House and other e-mails relating to Solyndra. Unsurprisingly, there were many, many warnings that this was a quite risky method of using taxpayer dollars, and it appears those warnings were ignored:

White House Aide Aditya Kumar in an e-mail to deputy White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer and other White House staffers:

  “Dan: Some background.  This is a Recovery Act Grant. Details: Will be first DoE Loan Guarantee since 1980s (since the geothermal grants in the 80s, I believe).  Total amount will be $535M (with a $107M govt subsidy).  This is a solar panel manufacturing company in Fremont, CA.

Story is two things: JOBS: Solyndra estimates this will create thousands of jobs (over 3,000K was on estimate I saw but not sure how dated that was);

When Government Plays a Part, It can Bring the Private Sector Along: Solyndra has secured over large amounts in private capital which is a story in itself.”

Of course, all of the Solyndra jobs are gone, and perhaps this is a good example of government playing a part it shouldn’t.

Venture capitalist Steve Mitchell in an e-mail to George Kaiser, an Obama donor and Solyndra investor:

“Solyndra selected [Goldman Sachs] as the “banker on the left” for its S1 filing which will occur tmrw. Morgan Stanley is co-leading the IPO. The politics and pressure around this selection was nothing short of ridiculous at some level.”

E-mail from Solyndra investor Brad Jones to  top Obama economic adviser  Larry Summers:

“One of our solar companies with revenues of less than $100 million (and not yet profitable) received a government loan of $580 million; while that is good for us, I can’t imagine it’s a good way for the government to use taxpayer money (I’d prefer my opinion about that specific company to be between us). Every administration seems to feel it knows better than the private markets how to allocate capital, and I’ve just never seen that be true.”

UPDATE: Wait, there’s more!

Aditya Kumar to Jacob Levine of the Office of Energy and Climate Change:

“feels like Rahm wants this too (barring any concerns) — POTUS involvement was Rahm’s idea.”

A May 8, 2010 memo from an unidentified figure in Solyndra to George Kaiser Family Foundation Executive Director Ken Levit (George Kaiser was one of Solyndra’s largest investors):

The past five months have witnessed a tremendous competitive headwind for the company coupled with some severe management mistakes. Cutting to the chase – we will not be going public during 2010 and our longer term business plan looks to be somewhat in jeopardy….”

I think there is still a plan here to getting a solid return out of Solyndra for ourselves (and our friends and family shares alongside us) but we have pushed out any significant positive event until 2011 and perhaps 2012.

Three weeks after this memo reveals there will be no public offering, that the long-term business plan is in jeopardy, and there is a plan to get a “solid return for ourselves”… Obama spoke at Solyndra:

 

It was during this event that President Obama declared, “companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future.”


Tags: Barack Obama , Larry Summers , Solyndra


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