He was not only one of Solyndra’s defenders, his wife worked for the California law firm that represented the solar-panel company and helped it file for the federal government loan her husband was promoting, according to the Post investigation.
While growing internal concerns were being raised about Solyndra’s shaky finances as early as the summer of 2009, Mr. Spinner emailed a top aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that Solyndra was a financially solvent company that fully deserved the administration’s support. “I haven’t heard anything negative on my side,” he assured Mr. Emanuel’s aide in an email about the warnings.
As the loan deal stalled over internal criticism of the firm’s looming insolvency, Mr. Spinner grew more impatient. “How [expletive] hard is this?’ he wrote to a career Energy staffer on Aug. 28, 2009, about by an Office of Management and Budget official’s delay of the loan. “What is he waiting for?”
Complaints from the Office of Management and Budget and from Treasury officials about Solyndra’s finances, as well as its favorable loan terms, still persisted.
“In an administration that said it would curtail lobbyists’ influence, the documents show ardent lobbying by political appointees inside the agencies and significant White House access given to venture capitalists with a major stake in the $40 billion stimulus investment program for clean energy,” the Post reported.
The demise of Solyndra and the loss of 1,100 jobs was one of the administration’s many investment failures.
Similar firms have included Ener 1, which was awarded an $118 million “stimulus” deal from Mr. Obama only to go bankrupt on Jan. 26, 2011; the North Las Vegas-based solar power firm Amonix, which laid off 700 workers and shut down in May after receiving $6 million in federal tax credits and a $15.6 million federal grant; and Abound Solar, which reaped a $400 million federal loan guarantee to build photovoltaic panels before halting production and laying off 180 employees in February and has since declared bankruptcy.
Although Mr. Obama declared that the energy grants and loans were all “based solely on their merits,” Hoover Institution scholar Peter Schweizer reported in his book “Throw Them All Out” that 71 percent went to “individuals who were [fundraising] bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party.”
Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.