The Corner

Today’s Questions for the President

The Solyndra matter unfolded as follows*:

  • 2006–2008: Solyndra seeks government funding under provisions of the Energy Act.

  • 2008: Solyndra investors and officials  make substantial contributions to your presidential campaign.

  • Early January 2009: Solyndra’s attempt to get government funding fails to win approval.

  • January 20, 2009: You take office.

  • January 26, 2009: The Department of Energy (DOE) resurrects Solyndra’s application for government funding.

  • March 2009: While Solyndra’s application is under consideration, Solyndra officials make four visits to the White House.

  • Early August 2009: DOE staff express grave concerns about Solyndra’s viability, predicting it will run out of cash by Sept. 2011.

  • August 27, 2009: Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staffers complain of apparent pressure by the White House to approve Solyndra’s application.

  • August 31, 2009: OMB officials suggest a visit to Solyndra by Vice President Biden to announce that approval of the loan guarantee will be postponed so that the application can be processed properly.

  • September 4, 2009: Vice President Biden announces award of $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra.

  • September 9, 2009: Loan guarantee finalized.

  • May 26, 2010: You give a glowing speech about Solyndra despite the fact that the company’s hemorrhaging money.

  • February 2011: Your administration restructures terms of the loan guarantee to give Solyndra investors repayment priority over taxpayers, contrary to law.

  • August 31, 2011: Solyndra files Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition.

  • September 1, 2011: Solyndra terminates employees and closes facilities.

Throughout much of the above period, numerous concerns about Solyndra’s financial viability are raised by DOE, OMB, and others

A few very general questions:

Why was Solyndra’s loan application resuscitated six days after you took office? Did anyone in the White House have a role in resuscitating it?

What were the meetings between Solyndra officials and White House personnel about? Who, specifically, attended those meetings?

Did anyone in the White House pressure OMB to approve Solyndra’s application? How is it that the application was approved only days after several OMB/DOE emails expressed serious concerns about approving the loan? What objective financial or economic justification did you or your staffers give OMB to approve Solyndra’s application?

When did you first know that Solyndra’s financial condition was precarious? If you didn’t know before the company’s collapse, why not? If you did know, why did you persist in touting the company’s alleged success?

Have you vetted the billions of dollars of additional “green jobs” loan guarantees that you expect to finalize before September 30 any more diligently than the Solyndra guarantee?

After Solyndra, the $814 billion stimulus that produced no measurable results, the phantom Obamacare savings that now appear to be enormous cost increases, cash-for-clunkers, no federal budget for more than two years, $4 trillion added to the national debt, and a $1.7 trillion deficit, why should the American public believe anything you have to say about finances or the economy? 

* From reporting by Andy McCarthy and Andrew Stiles.

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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