Today, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a surprise appearance at Solyndra headquarters to talk about President Obama’s record of crony corporatism. The Obama Administration loaned over $500 million to Solyndra via an accelerated process; later, of course, Solyndra went bankrupt and had to fire 1,100 employees. Some of Solyndra’s biggest stakeholders were major Obama donors – George Kaiser, an Oklahoma billionaire, raised between $50,000 and $100,000 in 2008; Steve Westly, an Obama bundler, was linked with Solyndra; so was Steve Spinner, another Obama fundraiser, who pushed the Administration to greenlight the loan, even while his wife’s law firm was legally representing the company.
The Obama Administration has a long record of picking winners and losers – in large measure, losers – in the market via its stimulus packages. As Newsweek reported back in November 2011, “$16.4 Billion Of The $20.5 Billion In Loans Granted As Of Sept. 15 Went To Companies Either Run By Or Primarily Owned By Obama Financial Backers.” Obama bundlers have worked in his Department of Energy. Contracts were steered to close associates.
As a successful venture capitalist, Romney is well positioned to make the case that government has a poor record of specific company investments. As he stands in front of the Solyndra headquarters, that case becomes even stronger.