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It was a quick collapse for a company that over the past two years had been hailed by President Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and others.

But behind the scenes, the company was burning through a $535 loan guarantee package it won in 2009 from the Department of Energy. In November 2010, the company announced layoffs of about 180 employees.

The worsening finances prompted concern among White House officials about how Solyndra’s collapse would look politically.

“Given the PR and policy attention has received since 2009, the optics of a Solyndra default will be bad whenever it occurs,” a Jan. 31, 2011 email between staffers at the Office of Management and Budget reads, a copy of which was released this month by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

“In addition, the timing will likely coincide with the 2012 campaign season heating up, whereas a default today could be put in the context of … good government because the Administration would be limiting further taxpayer exposure …”

By February, the company announced it had raised $75 million in new financing through a restructuring, but the agreement allowed those investors to be first in line before taxpayers in case of a potential default.

Solyndra’s top two executives appeared before a House committee last week, but neither answered questions and instead invoked their rights under the Fifth Amendment.