Democrats are blame-shifting again
The Hill's Andrew Restuccia reports:
Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee blasted top executives at the now-bankrupt California solar manufacturer Solyndra Wednesday, suggesting they misled federal officials about the financial standing of the company.
The effort to shift blame to Solyndra, which went bankrupt in August after the Obama administration in 2009 approved a $535 million stimulus loan guarantee for the company to build a solar manufacturing facility, comes as Republicans have sought to pummel the White House on the issue.
Rep. Dianne DeGette (D-Colo.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce's oversight panel, said top Solyndra executives painted a rosy picture of the company's financial outlook during a meeting with lawmakers in July.
"We also need to ask whether Solyndra misled federal officials," Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee said.
Of course, these Democrats are trying smoke and mirrors to distract voters from the man responsible for this half a billion dollar scandal.
Do they not read the Washington Post (and other media outlets for that matter)? If they had bothered to gather any facts they would have learned that the Obama administration had been repeatedly warned by professionals both inside and outside the government that Solyndra's corporate icon should have been the skull and crossbones.
Joe Stephens and Carol Leonnig at the Washington Post have done a superb job uncovering the scandal. In an article regarding White House monitoring and pressuring of the Department of Energy to make a quick decision on the loan the reporters write:
The e-mails also raise questions about whether the administration should have foreseen financial trouble. In August 2009, e-mail exchanges between Energy Department staff members pointed out that a credit-rating agency predicted that the project would run out of cash in September 2011. Solyndra shut its doors on the final day of August.
Questions about the selection process were first raised in a July 2010 audit by the Government Accountability Office. It concluded that the Energy Department "lacked appropriate tools for assessing the progress" of the loan program and that the department treated applicants inconsistently, "favoring some applicants and disadvantaging others."
Outside experts and professionals also warned that Solyndra was doomed. The company's own auditors issued a "going concern" letter that indicated there were grave doubts regarding the viability of the company.
All of these warnings were ignored by the Obama team who continually pressured employees in the government to grant the loan guarantee to a company on its last legs -- but also a company that had as its major investor a foundation started by a major Obama bundler and frequent White House visitor (George Kaiser). He is an oil billionaire, but that did not prevent Obama from welcoming him and his wallet to the White House.
This is just shameful on the part of Democrats. Is Congresswoman Degette so foolish and naïve that she would trust Solyndra executives when they came to her office? Why didn't she ask for audited financial statements? Does she just rely on the word of people with a vested financial interest in scheming to get taxpayer money? Furthermore, their own newspaper has been reporting that the Obama team had plenty of evidence that Solyndra was going down the tubes. Yet, they try to distract us by placing the blame solely on Solyndra executives. Thus Obama's Department of Justice sends the FBI in to carry out a very visible raid on Solyndra offices in order to encourage the view that a massive fraud had taken place. Perhaps so -- but if this were true many people saw reasons to reject this loan guarantee. Everyone except officials in the White House.
In other words, they are trying to shield him from charges that he is an incompetent. But more importantly, as Michael Barone points out , this scandal strikes at the heart of Obama's personal popularity, Up until now the media has looked away at donor-linked pay for play politics. People have viewed Obama as personally removed from tainted deals. This will be much harder to do as the full Solyndra story plays out for the public.
Hence, we can expect a full-court press to absolve Obama of responsibility and pin the blame on the usual villains: executives, inadequate subsidies compared to Chinese companies, and the old reliable: George Bush.