- Strong quake hits Japan, triggering tsunami
- Sniper heaven: Pentagon’s self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Violent gang taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Medicaid enrollment continues to soar under Obamacare, administration says
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: ‘We cannot afford to wait on Congress’ for immigration
- White House urges GOP to act ‘urgently’ on $3.7 billion request for illegal immigrants
- Politicians, criminals using ‘right-to-be-forgotten’ law EU courts forced upon Google
- Combat fatigue: elite special forces troops are ‘fraying,’ Gen. Joseph Votel warns
- German foreign minister to meet Kerry to discuss spying claims
- Florida police spokesman tells citizens: ‘Get yourself some firearms’
Chu: No politics involved on Solyndra deal
Question of the Day
“Immediate bankruptcy meant a 100 percent certainty of default, with an unfinished plant as collateral,” he said. “Restructuring improved the chance of recovering taxpayer money by giving the company a fighting chance at success, with a completed plant as collateral.”
Republicans say the so-called subordination deal was a clear violation of the law. Energy Department law states that government loans “shall be subject to the condition that the obligation is not subordinate to other financing.”
By allowing private investors to recoup their $75 million before taxpayers, the Energy Department violated that law, Republicans charged repeatedly during the hearing. But Mr. Chu said department officials and outside lawyers deemed it proper.
“Our general counsel advised me it was legal,” Mr. Chu said, calling the restructuring a “difficult choice for us to make.”
In what he called a “straight-up Texas question,” Rep. Joe Barton, Texas Republican, asked whether Mr. Chu would agree to restructure the loan if he knew then what he knows now.
Mr. Chu said it would be a “last-ditch” move.
Mr. Barton said the “elephant in the room” in the hearing on the Solyndra collapse was the involvement of Mr. Kaiser, the Oklahoma businessman who raised money for Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign and who controls Argonaut Private Equity, the major investor in Solyndra.
Argonaut and Madrone Capital, which has ties to the Walton family of Wal-Mart, provided the $75 million to try to keep Solyndra operating earlier this year after the Energy Department agreed to the restructuring deal.
Mr. Chu said he did not discuss Solyndra’s loan with Mr. Kaiser. He said the restructuring idea came from the Energy Department’s loan office and he later approved it. The department’s loans chief at the time, Jonathan Silver, resigned after Solyndra’s bankruptcy.
Republicans also pointed out that the Treasury Department told the Energy Department to get a legal opinion from the Justice Department on the restructuring. However, that never happened, and Republicans repeatedly questioned Mr. Chu on why.
Mr. Chu said the Energy Department obtained outside legal opinion instead. He said the department would need to reach out to Justice only if there were changes in the terms of the loan, such as the amount to be repaid or the interest rate.
Asked at a different point in the hearing whether anybody should apologize for the Solyndra collapse, Mr. Chu didn’t offer an apology. But he did say the department would not have backed loans to the company if officials knew then what they know now.
“Certainly, knowing what I know now, we’d say no,” he said.
Still, he disputed charges that the Energy Department badly mishandled the Solyndra loan.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Jim McElhatton is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Patent official threatened to sue IG over damning report
- EXCLUSIVE: Head of trademark office accused of nepotism
- Coburn calls hiring of embattled background check firm 'troubling'
- Purchases of Obama books wane, except at State Department
- Iraq logistics contract goes on years after withdrawal
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Senate majority leader practices politics of personal destruction
- Pentagon's self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: 'We cannot afford to wait on Congress' for immigration
- Armed militia sets up Texas command center to 'fight for national sovereignty'
- Obama seeks brisk passage of border children funding bill
- Va. Democrat reportedly seeks nude shots of Kendall Jones
- Bloomberg: Pro-gun towns must lack roads
- Florida police spokesman tells citizens: 'Get yourself some firearms'
- Hamas orders civilians to die in Israeli airstrikes
- PRUDEN: 'Dirty Harry' Reids increasing eccentricity
- LeBron James returning to Cleveland Cavaliers
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs