Let the fun begin.
The collapse of the politically-connected solar energy firm Solyndra has unleashed a barrage of fresh questions from House and Senate investigators, who want to know why the Obama Administration agreed to invest $535 million in the now-bankrupt company, and what can be done to recover those funds.How did it happen? Well, one of the guys running this failed outfit was one of Obama's top campaign contributors. That's how. Not so hard to figure this out now, is it?
The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s investigative panel announced it will hold hearings next Wednesday on the government’s Solyndra loan.
Separately, the Center for Public Integrity's iWatch News and ABC News have learned that Senate investigators have begun seeking answers from the administration about the Energy Department loan. That development is significant, as the Senate is Democrat-controlled, and its interest signals that questions about the deal now extend to both parties in Congress. Earlier this year, the Republican-controlled House committee voted, along party lines, to subpoena the White House Office of Budget and Management for records on the financing.
"How did this company, without maybe the best economic plan, all of a sudden get to the head of the line?" said committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton, R.-Michigan. "We want to know who made this decision ... and we're not going to stop until we get those answers.”
One of those private investors was George B. Kaiser, an Oklahoma oil billionaire who was a bundler of campaign donations for Obama's 2008 race. Kaiser's Argonaut Ventures and its affiliates have been the single largest shareholder of Solyndra, according to SEC filings and other records. The company holds 39 percent of Solyndra's parent company, bankruptcy records filed Tuesday show.This is just the tip of the iceberg. Once we have a real Attorney General in place come 2013 there should be a long line of investigations into where all the stimulus money went. Amazingly, after two years of failure and pocket-lining, Obama has the audacity to come along tonight and ask for hundreds of billions more in spending. Does he really think this is going to get us anywhere?
Under terms of the bankruptcy filing, investors including Argonaut -- which led a $75 million round of financing for Solyndra earlier this year -- will stand in line before the federal government and other creditors to recoup its losses. Energy officials confirmed this arrangement, saying that after private investors including Kaiser recover $75 million, the U.S. government would have a chance to seek $150 million of its investment.
Kaiser has declined interview requests for months from iWatch News and ABC News. His Tulsa-based George Kaiser Family Foundation, which in 2009 cited a $342 million investment value in Solyndra, issued a statement after Solyndra's collapse saying the solar firm faced "serious challenges in the marketplace, especially the drastic decline in solar panel prices during the past two years caused in part by subsidies provided by the government of China to Chinese solar panel manufacturers."
Update: Uh oh, how'd this get by Eric Holder?
Just days after the company filed for bankruptcy protection, federal agents swarmed around the Solyndra facilities in Fremont to execute a search warrant.Curiously omitted from the story is the name Obama. That's odd considering the many trips made to the West Wing by Kaiser.
FBI agents were joined by officials from the Department of Energy's Office of the Inspector General in the early morning operation.
Officials would say little about the search, which seemed to center on the Solyndra buildings on Page Avenue off Interstate 880.
"Everything is under seal," said Julianne Sohn, a spokeswoman for the FBI.
Agents began executing their search about 7:30 a.m., Sohn said. More agents arrived in SUVs at 8:40 a.m.
The action by federal agents comes a week after the solar manufacturer abruptly closed, laying off about 1,000 workers, and two days after the company filed for bankruptcy protection.
Solyndra spokesman Dave Miller said the search came as a surprise, but he emphasized the company is "fully cooperating" with federal officials. He said he did not know the purpose of the search, but he speculated it could have something to do with the $535 million in loan guarantees the Department of Energy awarded to Solyndra.