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Dems Block Disaster Aid To Protect Green Energy Loan Programs Like Solyndra While Solyndra Execs Take The 5th‏

September 23rd, 2011 by mopns · No Comments

As even more troubling reports surface about failed solar panel maker Solyndra, Politico reports today, “Solyndra executives repeatedly invoked the Fifth Amendment this morning as House lawmakers pressed them to answer questions about the company’s financial collapse and any hopes of repaying their $535 million federal loan guarantee. ‘While I hope to have an opportunity to assist this committee in the future, on the advice of my attorney, I must respectfully decline to answer any questions,’ Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison told Energy and Commerce oversight subpanel Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), who opened the questioning. CFO Brian Stover gave a similar response.”

Meanwhile, The New York Times writes today, “The government’s backing of Solyndra, which could cost taxpayers more than a half-billion dollars, came as the politically well-connected business began an extensive lobbying campaign that appears to have blinded government officials to the company’s financial condition and the risks of the investment, according to a review of government documents and interviews with administration officials and industry analysts. . . . Its lobbyists corresponded frequently and met at least three times with an aide to a top White House official, Valerie B. Jarrett, to push for loans, tax breaks and other government assistance. . . . Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill question whether the firm’s executives may have engaged in a cover-up of their precarious financial condition, allegations the company denies. But industry analysts and government auditors fault the Obama administration for failing to properly evaluate the business proposals or take note of troubling signs already evident in the solar energy marketplace. . . . The Energy Department’s senior staff has acknowledged in interviews the intense pressure from top Obama administration officials to rush stimulus spending out the door.”

And earlier this week, The Washington Post reported, “Former employees of Solyndra, the shuttered solar company that exhausted half a billion dollars of taxpayer money, said they saw questionable spending by management almost as soon as a federal agency approved a $535 million government-backed loan for the start-up. A new factory built with public money boasted a gleaming conference room with glass walls that, with the flip of a switch, turned a smoky gray to conceal the room’s occupants. Hastily purchased state-of-the-art equipment ended up being sold for pennies on the dollar, still in its plastic wrap, employees said. As the $344 million factory went up just down the road from the company’s leased plant in Fremont, Calif., workers watched as pallets of unsold solar panels stacked up in storage. Many wondered: Was the factory needed? ‘After we got the loan guarantee, they were just spending money left and right,’ said former Solyndra engineer Lindsey Eastburn. ‘Because we were doing well, nobody cared. Because of that infusion of money, it made people sloppy.’”

Given all these revelations about Solyndra, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would be eager to continue funding the federal loan program that gave money to the now-bankrupt company without some serious deliberation. Yet Democrats today voted down a House-passed bill to fund the government and provide critical disaster relief money for FEMA because they didn’t want money taken from this green energy loan program to pay for disaster funds.

So after a week of demanding action on disaster aid through repeated press conferences and floor speeches, Democrats today delayed that aid because they didn’t want it paid for and preferred to protect wasteful green energy loans.

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