Solyndra insiders get a second bite out of the taxpayers
The Obama administration has already granted new investors to the faltering (and now bankrupt) Solyndra priority in bankruptcy relative to the taxpayers' claim. Now, two investors have stepped up to the plate and offered loans carrying an interest rate of 15% (ouch) for 180 days.
The Wall Street Journal's Peg Brickley has identified who those investors are, and the terms they are seeking for their new loans: Argonaut Ventures I and Madrone Partners. The terms for the loan: 15% for 6 months (ouch). That seems rather high given that they are likely to be repaid, according to calculations by Bloomberg News. They are especially likely to be repaid since Obama and his team are more than willing to subordinate taxpayer interests to those of Argonaut and Madrone.
This just begs the question: who are the people behind Argonaut and Madrone?
Argonaut I is Obama's crony George Kaiser's investment firm. Kaiser was already the largest single investor in Solyndra via his foundation. So now he gets a second bite of the apple -- after having Obama's team extend over half a billion dollars of loan guarantees to Solyndra under highly suspicious circumstances (violating government rules regarding loan guarantees, White House monitoring of the Department of Energy's work on extending the guarantee, frequent White House visits by Kaiser, a big bundler for Obama and the Democratic Party). So the government not only granted these guarantees but will apparently give Kaiser a chance to recoup some of his money by granting him priority over taxpayers.
Now what is interesting is that Madrone Partners is the investment vehicle for members of the Walton family. Madrone apparently is closely tied to S. Robson Walton.
The Waltons lean to being Republicans. S. Robson Walton himself seems to have given almost exclusively to Republicans over the years but made a notable exception in 2008 to none other than Barack Obama. Here is Walton's record of giving.
Furthermore, it turns out that Madrone and officials of Madrone have been donors to Obama and his Inaugural.
For instance, Greg Penner (an executive of Madrone and a former executive of Walmart, but not a family member) gave to Max Baucus, one of the most powerful Democratic Senators and the Chairman of the committee responsible for drafting taxes and working on the budget. The vast majority of the other giving by Penner has been to Republicans.
Politics make strange bedfellows, and none stranger than when crony capitalism rears its ugly head. The Waltons are known to be astute investors, and while Solyndra is one of their losers, their investment in Barack Obama seems to be paying off.