The Ghost of Solyndra: Still Haunting Taxpayers
Will President Barack Hussein "kill list" Obama never learn? Or does he know precisely what he is doing and now want to throw more tax dollars to his contributors?
Obama will expedite seven "clean energy" projects as a part of his "We Can't Wait" program. The seven projects are all on public lands in Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, and California.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, speaking on August 7, 2012, in a White House press release about the seven projects, said:
As part of President Obama's all-of-the-above strategy to expand domestic energy production and strengthen the economy, we are working to advance smart development of renewable energy on our public lands. These seven proposed solar and wind projects have great potential to grow our nation's energy independence, drive job creation, and power economies across the west.
Salazar, in the White House announcement continued:
The renewable energy projects announced today build on the Obama Administration's record of success in permitting an unprecedented number of utility-scale renewable energy projects. Thanks to a coordinated and focused review process, in the past three years, the Department of the Interior has approved more utility-scale renewable energy projects on public lands than in the past two decades combined - a total of 31 new projects. When constructed by the companies, these projects are expected to generate enough renewable energy to power 2.3 million American homes.
The seven projects are expected to produce about 5,000 megawatts of "clean energy." Further information about them can be found here.
Obama signed, on March 22, 2012, Executive Order 13604 (Improving Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects), which charges the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) "with overseeing a government-wide effort to make the permitting and review process for infrastructure projects more efficient and effective, saving time while driving better outcomes for the environment and local communities." (See section 2[a] of the executive order.)
The White House also says that additional expedited infrastructure projects will soon be announced, such as "seven nationally and regionally significant infrastructure projects to help modernize and expand five major American ports - Jacksonville, Miami, Savannah, New York / New Jersey, and Charleston." Oh, goodie...we can hardly wait for further announcements.
Now we learn that taxpayers will get back $24 million, 4.5 percent, of the $527 million that Solyndra drew from, as Solyndra CEO Chris Gronet called it, the "Bank of Washington." Solyndra released its bankruptcy plan this week (Solyndra LLC, 11-12799, US Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware).
Solyndra had a $535-million federal loan guarantee line of credit. I guess we taxpayers should be thankful that Solyndra didn't spend all the money it could have.
To further add insult to injury, ABC, NBC, and CBS have ignored the Solyndra bankruptcy-taxpayer funds recovery situation. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus broached the subject when talking to ABCs This Week host George Stephanopoulos. Priebus said, "The entire philosophy of ... Barack Obama can be summarized in one word and that's 'Solyndra.' That's Barack Obama's philosophy."
We taxpayers, according to Delaware bankruptcy court, could receive 17 percent of a $143-million loan Solyndra received, or we could get zero percent. We will get back, depending on liquidation revenues, zero percent (or more) of another $385-million loan. But liquidation efforts of Solyndra are not going very well. As Ken Jarboe wrote at The Intangible Economy, "... no buyers stepped up to bid on taking over Solyndra as a turnkey, stand alone operation. So the next step looks like liquidation of the remaining assets." Jarboe continued, "Since everything will now be sold off piecemeal, we might actually see what someone is willing to pay for those patents."
Further, on the liquidation front, CBS San Francisco reported, "At Solyndra's sprawling complex in Fremont, workers in white jumpsuits were unwrapping brand new glass tubes used in solar panels last week. They are the latest, most cutting-edge solar technology, and they are being thrown into dumpsters."
But have no fear -- investors who were placed ahead of us taxpayers will recoup at least 50 percent of their investment. Argonaut Ventures, the investing part of the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF), was, in violation of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) policy in case of bankruptcy, placed ahead of us. Argonaut invested $271 million in Solyndra. GKFF invested $50 million in Solyndra.
In the "placing us taxpayers behind creditors" department, OMB's own rules (circular A-129 , Section II, sub-section 3, c.) for loan guarantees states that "[t]he Government's claims should not be subordinated to the claims of other creditors[.]" So how did we get placed behind private creditors? A Washington Examiner article says:
According to Steve Mitchell, Argonaut's primary contact with Solyndra and the lead negotiator for the investors in the restructuring negotiations, 'To me it was clear that the DOE folks were somewhat caught off guard that we weren't going to bail out the company.' After the investors indicated their intent to prepare for a bankruptcy, DOE made the offer to subordinate the taxpayers' interest.
So it was the DOE that disregarded OMB's policy and placed us taxpayers behind investors in order to get more money from investors to restructure (bail out) Solyndra. Obama administration officials said that debt subordination "was necessary to attract private capital to support the company."
In the same Washington Examiner article, the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee said (emphasis mine):
While it is true that the loan may not be subordinate to other financing in order for the Secretary to guarantee its repayment, this condition does not cease to exist the moment the Secretary does so - the loan is subject to the condition that it is not subordinate to other financing at any time throughout its existence. When DOE agreed to subordinate its obligation to third-party financing, it did so in violation of the law."
So now we wait, and wait, and wait...for the DOJ and/or the Obama administration to enforce existing laws. But we taxpayers will have to wait a long time, because AG Eric Holder, truly Obama's lap-dog, is busy with other matters.
As a "just so you know," George Kaiser is a major bundler and fundraiser for President Obama. He was often a guest in the White House and, though the White House denied it (e-mails dispute that assertion), discussed Solyndra with officials there.
And GKFF, though through its name is referred to as a foundation, is not a nonprofit corporation. It is in fact a hybrid that permits wealthy "contributors" to sequester their assets tax-free. GKFF is then free to make money on its "assets."
Dr. Beatty earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University. He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making. He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired. Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He blogs at: rwno.limewebs.com.