Tag: United States Department of Energy

Coming Home To Roost

On the old blog, I said that one of the big stories in the next few years would be the corruption connected with stimulus spending, especially the Green Bubble. There is simply no way to throw that much money at that many projects and not have it devolve into an influence-peddling clusterfuck.

But, you know, sometimes I hate being right all the time.

The Energy Department’s inspector general has launched more than 100 criminal investigations related to 2009 economic stimulus spending.

In written testimony prepared for delivery to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today, Inspector General Gregory Friedman said the investigations have involved “various schemes, including the submission of false information, claims for unallowable or unauthorized expenses, and other improper uses of Recovery Act funds.”

So far, the investigations have led to five criminal prosecutions and brought in “over $2.3 million in monetary recoveries,” Friedman said.

The problem is pretty simple. DOE got $35 billion to spend on “shovel-ready” projects. This was more than the agency’s entire previous budget. This was more money than they had projects for. Naturally, it was a huge mess. A slow ramp-up, with proper peer review and supervision, might have worked. But the desperate desire of the Democrats to spend as much as fast as possible meant the DOE was overwhelmed.

Want an example, beside Solyndra? Here ya go:

Move over, SunPower. Blow out your candles, Solar Energy Project. SoloPower your sun has set; Fisker Automotive, your race is run.

There can be only one Solyndra II, and it is Beacon Power, a Massachusetts energy storage company that went bankrupt Sunday, unsaved by a $43 million taxpayer-guaranteed loan from Steven Chu’s Department of Energy.

Beacon is not as bad as Solyndra. It’s still operating at lower payroll and may have some assets to reclaim. So far, there is evidence only of a bad business plan. But with over a hundred of these out there, we’re going to find more corruption and waste than you can shake a stick at.

The worst thing? If the budget talks are anything to go by, DOE will not be reigned in. Budget cuts will hit other agencies that did not get stimulus spending and are being reasonably prudent with their funds.

But … those agencies weren’t giving money to campaign bundlers. Hah. What were they thinking?

Solyndra update: Pearls to the swine..

The left might be desperate to see this story die, but it is like the gift that keeps on giving. We have often gone back and forth about if this was just people with no clue making stupid decisions, if this was political cronyism, or if it was both, and the more we find out, the more it looks like it is both. The latest revelation is that recently released e-mails show that the DOE was moving toward second loan that would have cost the tax payers and additional half a billion dollars for Solyndra. And this was going on at the same time that the auditors where saying Solyndra was doomed. Check this out.

Newly released e-mails show the Obama administration’s Energy Department was poised to give Solyndra a second taxpayer loan of $469 million last year, even as the company’s financial situation grew increasingly dire.

The department was still considering providing the second loan guarantee to the solar-panel manufacturer in April and May 2010, at a time when Solyndra’s auditors were already warning that the company was in danger of collapsing.

Details of the plan are revealed in e-mails released this week by Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating the original loan. On Wednesday, the probe intensified as committee Republicans requested that the White House provide all documents, dating back to President Obama’s inauguration, that would show communications between staff members and other officials regarding Solyndra’s original $535 million federal loan guarantee.

Republican leaders said that documents obtained in recent weeks show that Obama’s “closest confidantes” monitored the loan, and that his campaign donors offered advice on the company.

So the DOE knew Solyndra was going down in flames, all the auditors where screaming “toast” and waving this off, and yet, they considered throwing more good money after bad? Why? Seriously, why would they do such a thing? What was in it for them? Was this a case of trying to postpone the inevitable? Did they really think that more money was going to change things? I know these leftists constantly tell us that the answer to every problem from healthcare to schools is to let them take and spend more money, and that since it was just tax payer money they obviously wouldn’t be as concerned about it as if it was their own money on the line, but damn, WTF where they thinking? Maybe there is a clue in the following piece of information:

“Documents reveal a startlingly cozy relationship between wealthy donors and the president’s confidantes, especially in matters related to Solyndra,” Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), chairman of the committee’s investigations panel, said in a statement.

E-mails already made public in the eight-month investigation have kept the White House and the Energy Department on the defensive for weeks, showing in part that Valerie Jarrett and Lawrence H. Summers, top Obama advisers at the time, took part in discussions about Solyndra.


The class warriors serving the Obama overlord where cozy with wealthy donors? Those same wealthy people Team Obama loves to demonize and complain about when they try to incite the usual jackass, with talk about how unfair it is that the poor jackass is suffering the consequences of their bad choices while the rich live it up, into a frothing envious anger so they can pretend their flat out theft of other people’s money is a decent and good thing? Are they fraternizing with the enemy?

Those of us that understand what this nonsense – communism, socialism, class warfare, anti-fossil fuel, pro-green pie-in-the-sky bullshit energy, and in general the left’s core ideology – is about are not surprised. Understand that the left’s belief and efforts to pick the winners & losers, under whatever justified guise they parcel out, really is about overthrowing the current establishment and to replace it with themselves, and you see the kabuki dance for what it really is: they are manipulating stupid people by promising them pennies on the dollars they intend to make for themselves.

And that’s what we have here: Obama’s donor buddies, the new establishment, in bed with the people at the DOE that are responsible for handing out our tax dollars, screwing us all over. We should consider ourselves lucky that the second loan never panned out and that we only lost a half a billion dollars on this deal. We should also find out how many more of these “sweet deals” where made where once the money train runs out, the company will implode. How many more Solyndras are out there, still pretending to be viable, but for the fact that these green energy crooks gave them yet another loan at our expense to keep them afloat for another year or so? And lest you think that this was all above board and that this stuff was ever viable, here is a heavy dose of reality for you:

Solyndra applied for a second loan days after receiving the first one in September 2009. The agency had put Solyndra’s request for a second loan guarantee on a fast-tracked priority list, two sources familiar with the company’s application told The Washington Post. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the probes of the loan are ongoing.

Really? Just days after they got a half billion they asked for another half billion, and it was again fast-tracked? I can not wait for what else we find out. Maybe we will get lucky and find out how much of this tax payer cash Solyndra larded on democrats, including Obama himself. I should feel gleeful that everything I predicted is coming out and vindicating me, but all I feel is abused. These crooks are seriously ripping us off. Now Obama wants to steal another half a trillion dollars from the tax payers to line the wallets of his chosen few and democrat campaign coffers, under the guise that it is going to create jobs, and with a backloaded tax burden that will cripple the conomy and kill more jobs than this will ever create,in the usual leftist propagandists biggest wet dream, and people need to wise up and tell these fools no thank you.

Solyndra update: WH doubled down.

The AP has this piece running today dealing with how the WH knew Solyndra was a disaster waiting to happen, and that when it happened, it was coming right around the 2012 election, too. While the AP article is not clear as to exactly when the WH figured out this company was a disaster waiting to happen – likely I feel, that because pointing out that they knew even before the loan was made, would be damning – it is clear that they knew Solyndra was in deep trouble before Obama went on stage in 2010 to tout them as the example of the success of the stimuluspatronage bill. Epic fail on both counts.

From an e-mail by WH budget official trying to red flag this disaster we get the following:

An email from a White House budget official to a co-worker discussed the likely effect of a default by Solyndra Inc. on President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

“The optics of a Solyndra default will be bad,” an official from the Office of Management and Budget wrote in a Jan. 31 email to a senior OMB official. “The timing will likely coincide with the 2012 campaign season heating up.”

You think? But it gets better! Why was the e-mail sent? Well lets read on.

The email, released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee as part of its investigation into a half-billion dollar federal loan to Solyndra, said the budget official wanted White House budget director Jacob Lew to warn Energy Secretary Steven Chu about the risk posed by Solyndra, which was once the poster child for the Obama administration’s clean energy program but by early this year was teetering on collapse.

At the time of the email, the Energy Department was pushing to release an additional $67 million to Solyndra. The Fremont, Calif.-based solar panel maker received a total of $528 million in federal loans before declaring bankruptcy Aug. 31 and laying off 1,100 workers.

They where considering if they should give Solyndra another $67 million of tax payer money. Was that money part of the original allocated half a billion dollars, or was that money on top of that? If the first, then the money was given despite the terrible news, and on can not help but speculate that considering what they knew, if it was done hoping to prevent or postpone the inevitable? If it was new money, we obviously where spared that pain.

We also again get validation that people knew Solyndra was in trouble, but that the WH dismissed them:

At least three reports by federal watchdogs over the past two years warned that the Energy Department had not fully developed the controls needed to manage the multibillion-dollar loan program.

Emails obtained by The Associated Press show that a White House official dismissed reports about Solyndra’s gloomy future. An email from Greg Nelson, a White House official who had been involved in the planning of Obama’s May 2010 trip to Solyndra’s headquarters, to a Solyndra executive downplayed a July 2010 news story in a trade publication that criticized the company’s financial health.

Seems B.S.,” Nelson wrote.

A 2009 report by the Energy Department’s inspector general warned that the DOE lacked the necessary quality control for the loan guarantee program, which was created in 2005 to support clean-energy projects that could not obtain conventional bank loans due to high risks.

In July 2010, the Government Accountability Office said the Energy Department had bypassed required steps for funding awards to five of 10 applicants that received conditional loan guarantees.

Can we now stop pretending that not only did the people in the WH get told Solyndra was a dead beat company, but that they also where warned that they had no mechanism to make sure Solyndra used the money wisely and that the DOE had bypassed required steps in the process by the GAO (that’s fast tracking if you have a problem with English comprehension), but that then politics and ideology trumped common sense, here?

And lest there be any doubt that this was ideology trumping everything else, there is this tidbit:

The report did not publicly identify the companies that were not properly vetted, but congressional investigators say one of them was Solyndra. The company was the first to receive a loan guarantee after the program was expanded under the 2009 stimulus law.

Solyndra was not the only one that had their application process not thoroughly vetted. There is a pattern here. How many of these “other companies” that are not identified by the AP article had similar problems as Solyndra but still got money? How many more Solyndra-like failures are there in the near or not-so-near future? Why where these companies fastracked in the first place? Was it either desperation to produce something with all that stimulus cash being thrown around, or was it because of the political/ideological belief that green industry was the solution to all our ills? Me, I bet it was a little bit of both. And it get’s better!

The Obama administration is moving to finalize as many as 15 loan guarantees for renewable-energy companies before the stimulus program ends on Sept. 30. Republicans question whether that could lead to more loans to companies that fail like Solyndra.

Time will tell. One thing is for sure: this is damaging to Obama, the progressives and the green movement in general, and most of all to the tax payer which foots the bill for these ideologues and their crusades against evil fossil feul in the progressive government controlled battle to pick who wins and who loses. And while I suspect no laws where broken, it is obvious that this will haunt Obama and the left in 2012.