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Investor and Obama Donor Warned President Not to Visit Solyndra


As the mainstream media continue to obsess about a painted rock in Texas, the Solyndra story continues to grow.

“A number of us are concerned that the president is visiting Solyndra… Many of us believe the company’s cost structure will make it difficult for them to survive long term. . . . I just want to help protect the president from anything that could result in negative or unfair press.”

Those words appeared in an email from Solyndra investor and Obama fundraiser Steve Westly to Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett in May 2010. The correspondence is yet another indication that the White House had immediate warning signs that the $535 million loan guarantee of stimulus money pushed through by the Obama Department of Energy (DOE) was at great risk.

President Obama visited Solyndra despite the warnings, and the resulting video footage of the photo-op has become the perfect b-roll to accompany stories describing the failed “green jobs” initiative that the president held up as a shining example of how his administration was “Winning the Future.”

“If it’s too late to change/postpone the meeting, the president should be careful about unrealistic/optimistic forecasts that could haunt him in the next 18 months if Solyndra hits the wall, files for bankruptcy, etc.”

Hit the wall they did. Solyndra is bankrupt and over 1,000 people are unemployed. And yet President Obama had praised the fledgling company as an “engine of economic growth” and a model of his administration’s $80 billion stimulus-funded investment in clean energy technologies and companies.

As the House Energy Committee continues investigating the details behind the Solyndra hand-out, each day brings a new revelation of White House connections and foreknowledge of the impending failure.

Today’s release of memos came from Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. That suggests a loss of congressional support for the president, even as the emails themselves reveal a deep rift between warring factions of the Obama Administration.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) began voicing concerns about the company’s financial standing in early 2010, and complained that the DOE was either ignoring the problems or was unconcerned over the potential loss of $535 million in taxpayer funding:

“DOE … has one loan guarantee to monitor and they seem completely oblivious to this issue,” one OMB analyst said to another in an April 2, 2010, email.

“What’s terrifying is that after looking at some of the ones that came next, this one [Solyndra] started to look better,” another OMB e-mail exchange said of Solyndra. “Bad days are coming.”

The “bad days” appear to be here for the Obama Administration as House investigations focus on the influence of George Kaiser, an Obama donor and Solyndra investor who visited the White House multiple times in the days leading up to the loan approval for the now-bankrupt California company.

Investigations have also uncovered:

  • Solyndra violated the terms of the original loan, but still received more money from DOE
  • DOE re-structured the Solyndra loan to allow investors to get paid back before tax-payers (allegedly violating federal law)
  • A Solyndra investor said the goal of the DOE loans was to lend credibility to the firm so it could “cash out” by going public
  • Obama’s top economic advisers warned him that Solyndra and “green technology” in general was a risky investment and the White House should not tie federal stimulus money to individual companies, but to a broad market instead.


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