President Obama’s Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, finally responded to a reporter’s question about Solyndra today, but not without the America’s Morning News reporter getting grabbed by one of the members of the secretary’s entourage.
As the Solyndra scandal continues to boil over, the energy secretary has been frequently cited as the main player who was trying to “fast-track” the $535 million loan for the now-failed solar panel manufacturer. E-mails show serious tension between the DOE and the Office of Management and Budget at the time of the loan and in subsequent months as fears began to rise over the financial viability of the firm.
Considering he’s been at the center of the storm that is Solyndra, it’s likely he has had time to consider his responses to a reporter’s inquiry on the subject. That’s what makes his “20/20 hindsight” statement so curious. It’s an obvious dodge.
The latest memos released just yesterday by House Democrats on the Energy Committee show that warnings were given to the White House and the DOE at the time of the loans and in the following months. This is not a question of “20/20 hindsight.” The responsible parties in Sec. Chu’s department knew at the time that Solyndra was in risk of collapsing and yet continued to put American tax dollars at risk.
It has also been revealed that Sec. Chu, himself attended a meeting with President Obama and the president’s chief financial advisers, Lawrence Summers and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. At that meeting, Summers and Geithner warned that Chu’s department was not rigorous enough in vetting loan recipients and they ran the risk of funneling federal money to companies that shouldn’t receive it, or didn’t need it.
According to the LA Times:
Energy Secretary Steven Chu, also at the meeting, had a different view. Under pressure from Congress to speed up the loans, he wanted less scrutiny from the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB.
Secretary Chu, Mr. Summers and Sec. Geithner did not have “wonderful 20/20 hindsight,” they warned you and President Obama of the dangers in risking tax-payer money on unproven technology and poorly vetted companies back in October, 2010. What do you say to them? And to the American tax payers?