WH Ignored Solyndra Warnings

by Andrew Stiles

ABC News reports that e-mails obtained by the House Energy and Commerce Committee reveal that the White House was intimately involved in deliberations over the taxpayer-backed $535 million loan awarded to Solyndra, the California solar-panel firm — once hailed by President Obama as “leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future” — that filed for bankruptcy last week. The company is current under investigation by the FBI. It appears that the White House decided to go ahead with the loan despite some serious reservations expressed by the Office of Management and Budget:

Newly uncovered emails show the White House closely monitored the Energy Department’s deliberations over a $535 million government loan to Solyndra, the politically-connected solar energy firm that recently went bankrupt and is now the subject of a criminal investigation.

The company’s solar panel factory was heralded as a centerpiece of the president’s green energy plan — billed as a way to jump start a promising new industry. And internal emails uncovered by investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee that were shared exclusively with ABC News show the Obama administration was keenly monitoring the progress of the loan, even as analysts were voicing serious concerns about the risk involved. “This deal is NOT ready for prime time,” one White House budget analyst wrote in a March 10, 2009 email, nine days before the administration formally announced the loan.

“If you guys think this is a bad idea, I need to unwind the W[est] W[ing] QUICKLY,” wrote Ronald A. Klain, who was chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, in another email sent March 7, 2009. The “West Wing” is the portion of the White House complex that holds the offices of the president and his top staffers. Klain declined comment to ABC News.

White House officials are set to testify tomorrow morning before the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations regarding the administration’s role in the loan process. A committee aide tells NRO it promises to be “enlightening.”

More here.