Now we know who is going under the (Obama campaign) bus to take responsibility for squandering over half a billion dollars on Solyndra, and the choice is an excellent one, if I do say so myself. Carol D. Leonnig and and Joe Stephens of the Washington Post write:
Energy Secretary Steven Chu acknowledged Thursday making the final decision to allow a struggling solar company to continue receiving taxpayer money after it had technically defaulted on a $535 million federal loan guaranteed by his agency.
Chu spokesman Damien LaVera said in a statement that the secretary approved the restructuring agreement for Solyndra because it gave the company "the best possible chance to succeed in a very competitive marketplace and put the company in a better position to repay the loan." (snip)
"Ultimately, the choice was between imminent liquidation or giving the company and its workers a fighting chance to succeed," LaVera said in the statement, first reported by Politico.
Of course, giving Solyndra a fighting chance came at a steep price for taxpayers, and bought little extra time for those "green jobs" to continue to generate paychecks. A private venture capitalist would not have been so cavalier with investors' money, but the great thing about government work is the low likelihood of any accountability.
Chu makes an excellent fall guy because he is a Nobel-certified brilliant scientist, a member of a minority group, and because he was the front man in the operation to shovel tax dollars into friendly hands. His fingerprints are prominent on the corpse:
In announcing the Solyndra deal in March 2009, Chu boasted of the "speed at which the department can operate," according to an agency news release.
"Secretary Chu initially set a target to have the first conditional commitments out by May . . . but today's announcement significantly outpaces that aggressive timeline," the release said.
Chu is also unlikely to have much involvement in the political fundraising aspect of the deal, and if and when his planned appearance before the House Energy and Commerce oversight and investigations subcommittee takes place, will appear to be sympathetic -- a hard working Asian brainiac whose enthusiasm for the theoretically possible overwhelmed his limited fund of practical knowledge.
Committee members should grill him under oath over all communications he had with White House officials over the affair, and the texts of all emails and other communications should be subpoenaed. If the administration claims executive privilege, that should speak volumes.