Planet Gore

Report: Solyndra Loan Guarantee ‘Cut Corners’

We’ve been writing about the shadiness of government-funded solar company Solyndra for years now. Congress needs to investigate. ABC News:

The Obama administration bypassed procedural steps meant to protect taxpayers as it hurried to approve an energy loan guarantee to a politically-connected California solar power startup, ABC News and the Center for Public Integrity’s iWatch News have learned.

The Energy Department in March 2009 announced its intention to award Solyndra Inc. a $535 million loan guarantee before receiving final copies of outside reviews typically used to vet such deals. An independent federal auditor who has reviewed the energy loan program said moving so quickly without completing thorough reviews risked exposing the program to claims of political influence and put taxpayers at greater risk.

“There’s a consequence if you don’t follow a rigorous process that’s transparent,” said Franklin Rusco, an analyst with the Government Accountability Office. “It makes the agency more susceptible to outside pressures, potentially.”

The Solyndra loan guarantee, advertised by the administration as part of its signature effort to create jobs while weaning the U.S. from traditional energy sources, already has drawn scrutiny on Capitol Hill. Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have requested documents from the Energy Department as part of an investigation into how the company qualified for government support and then, a year later, closed a plant, laid off workers, and eventually had to renegotiate the terms of the loan guarantee. The shortcuts at the dawn of the deal identified by government auditors have stoked more questions.

The rest here.

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