Solyndra was promoted to the Navy by RockPort Capital, one of the firm's largest investors and board members, which has a seat on a Pentagon panel that helps the government find emerging technologies.RockPort recommended Solyndra to the military, along with four other companies. In the end, the negotiations for Solyndra's inclusion in a $1 million pilot program fell apart when the Navy learned about the company's pending bankruptcy filing.
The role of RockPort Capital is a new twist in the Solyndra tale, which has focused largely on whether another Solyndra investor, the family foundation of billionaire George Kaiser, helped the firm secure a $535 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. There is no evidence linking the loan guarantee to Mr. Kaiser, who was a significant donor to President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign.
Oh, well the Navy learned that Solyndra was in financial trouble. Perhaps it's not that big a deal after all. It's not like an investor in Solyndra that sat on the Pentagon panel intentionally hid that information or anything.
The Department of Energy has said it gave Solyndra the loan guarantee after careful review by its staff.
Mr. Kopczynski said RockPort disclosed its $47.5 million investment in Solyndra to the Pentagon panel, though it didn't disclose that Solyndra was in financial trouble and said it wasn't required to under the panel's rules. Gaining the Navy as a customer could have helped Solyndra's shaky financial state, and by extension RockPort's $47.5 million investment in the Fremont, Calif., firm. The FBI is investigating whether Solyndra misled the U.S. government in obtaining its 2009 loan guarantee.
I suppose the silver lining is that the White House wasn't involved in any of this.
Emails released in connection with a congressional probe show that David Prend, RockPort's co-founder and a Solyndra board member, met with Carol Browner, a top White House official, while the company's initial loan application was pending. A person familiar with the matter said Ms. Browner met with a handful of people, including Mr. Prend, to discuss energy policy and climate change. Mr. Prend brought up Solyndra in passing, this person said. Mr. Prend didn't respond to requests for comment.Remember, this is only one of the solar companies to receive government loans under questionable circumstances and affiliations. It will get worse.