Solyndra: Illegal or merely inept?
Recent discoveries by congressional investigators into the Obama administration’s handling of Solyndra could have the President facing tough questions right before the election. Documents show that the Office of Management and Budget had warned Obama of the clear risks associated with pumping millions of dollars into a second round of Solyndra funding and restructuring. Not only was the White House warned that restructuring the initial loans was financially irresponsible, but that such action may be illegal.
Obama once praised the now shuttered Solyndra as a symbol of success for his massive stimulus plan. The plan granted Solyndra $535 million in taxpayer funds in 2009 but continued a downward spiral until they eventually filed for bankruptcy in September 2011. In an effort to head off implosion, the Department of Education fought to secure emergency funding, claiming Solyndra could turn things around by restructuring their loans. OMB staffers decried these ideas, claiming that allowing private investors to replace taxpayers as first claimant on a default is not only poor business, but legally questionable. OMB Director Jack Lew ignored the warnings and allowed the refinance to continue. Where is Lew now? In the White House, naturally. He was appointed Chief of Staff to Obama in January 2012.
Critics decry the whole Solyndra debacle as proof that Obama is inept to run the country, especially in times of economic hardship. Mitt Romney said, “It’s also a symbol of how the President thinks about free enterprise. Free enterprise to the President means taking money from the taxpayers and giving it freely to his friends.”
It seems as if “crony capitalism” is alive and well in Obama’s White House. The major benefactor in this ordeal is Obama mega-donor George Kaiser, who bundled up to $100,000 in donations for Obama in 2008. His company, Argonaut Private Equity, reaped the benefits of loan restructuring by jumping taxpayers in the repayment line. Energy secretary Steven Chu swore to Congress that politics played no role in the Solyndra decisions and that failed green experiments and taxpayers were merely caught in a “very, very bad tsunami.”
The Solyndra nightmare, if not illegal, is at least a prime example of Obama’s complete ineptitude as President. The economy is stagnant with unemployment above 8%, national debt reaching the point of no return, gas prices sky-high since Obama’s election, and homeowners across the country underwater. The administration needs to answer for their handling of Solyndra and the flurry of other failed, tax payer funded, green initiatives and Team Romney should continue pressing until they get some answers.