Translate blog

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chicago Tribune Editorial: The Solyndra saga

We know the Obama administration can't get enough of renewable energy. We know it can't get enough of "shovel-ready" projects for soaking up its taxpayer-funded economic stimulus handouts. Now a colossal green stimulus failure has put Democrats on the defensive and raised the prospect of an ugly scandal.

Solyndra Inc. was a California-based maker of advanced solar panels. Its executives talked a good game, and the company attracted substantial private investment. It also caught the fancy of the Obama administration just as a pile of money came available from the $787 billion stimulus legislation of 2009.

Before you can say, "Let the sun shine in," Solyndra was basking in the limelight. The federal government backed loans of more than $500 million to the company. President Barack Obama toured its manufacturing plant. He touted its plans to hire 1,000 new workers and embraced its fuzzy math about producing enough solar panels in its expanded facility to replace the power from eight coal-fueled electricity plants. "It's here that companies like Solyndra are leading the way to a bright and prosperous future," the president declared at the time.

Fast forward to the not-so-bright and prosperous present: Solyndra is bankrupt, its factory shut down and its workforce on the street. The FBI raided its headquarters earlier this month, presumably suspecting fraud. Its top executives failed to appear Wednesday at a hearing on Capitol Hill where Republicans were itching to grill them.

A series of emails between White House officials and Office of Management and Budget watchdogs suggests that Solyndra got its federal guarantees prematurely, under pressure from the Obama administration, which wanted to stage an event featuring Vice President Joe Biden announcing the guarantees at a ground-breaking ceremony. A perfect example of shovel-ready stimulus! (Continues here)

No comments: