Solyndra Probe Focuses on White House - NBC Bay Area

Solyndra Probe Focuses on White House



    Solyndra Probe Focuses on White House
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    President Obama's administration all but guaranteed any debts or losses Solyndra may incur.

    First, there was a presidential visit to the Solyndra headquarters in May 2010. Then a $528 million federal loan to Solyndra. Then Solyndra announced its bankruptcy a year later.

    And on Aug. 31 of this year, the FBI and Department of Energy served search warrants at Solyndra headquarters -- with more at some executives' homes.

    All of this has a Congressional subcommittee quite interested in why taxpayers are on the hook for the now-bankrupt solar panel manufacturer.

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    GOP leaders of the subcommittee describe the loan as a "half-billion bust" that raises red flags about the administration's efforts to generate more jobs in the renewable energy sector.

    "It is not the role of government to pick winners and losers in the market," said Republican Reps. Fred Upton (Mich.) and Cliff Stearns (Fla.) said in a joint statement. Upton is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, while Stearns steers the committee's investigations and oversight panel.

    The subcommittee has been investigating Solyndra for nearly six months. They've questioned whether the Energy Department and the White House conducted a proper review of Solyndra's application for a loan guarantee, according to the Associated Press.

    This morning, the Department of Energy sent reporters copies of old news articles about how now-bankrupt Solyndra didn't just fool them, but the entire news media.

    Some They've also asserted that politics may have played a role in approving the loan guarantee by pointing out that investors in Solyndra had helped raise money for President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign.

    The panel plans to hear from officials with the Energy Department and the White House Office of Management and Budget, which played the central roles in approving the loan guarantee.

    The guarantee essentially works as an insurance policy that covers a company's debt obligation in the event of default, according to AP. In many cases, the loans come from private banks, but in Solyndra's case, the financing came from the federal government itself.

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    -- The Associated Press contributed to this report.