Solyndra Obama's Enron
By Dr. Robert Owens
Remember Enron? When this huge company went belly up because of mismanagement, misrepresentation and criminal intent the Bush administration was put through years of screaming headlines, congressional investigations and dubious investigative specials on the wall-to-wall talking heads of the cable news channels. In the end there was no connection found between the Bush administration and the leaders at Enron who broke the law.
Today unlike Enron who played fast and loose with private money we have Solyndra which received $535 million in federal loans filing for bankruptcy protection leaving American tax payers on the hook for the cash. The Obama administration not only disbursed the money to their friends and campaign contributors at Solyndra they did so even after the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said in emails they felt as if they were being rushed to make a decision without adequate time to assess the financial risk to taxpayers.
Why did the White House force this decision on the first loan approved under their Stimulus Bill?
They pressured the OMB to make a call in favor of the loan before they felt comfortable so that Vice President Biden could announce the approval at the groundbreaking for the company's factory in 2009. And this was not just "some" company. Solyndra was an important component of President Obama's ideologically driven campaign to develop green jobs and what he calls renewable energy. The political motives took precedence over economic considerations and caused the loan to be approved without due diligence. When White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel asked officials at the OMB whether "there is anyway we can help speed along on OMB side" one official responded, "I would prefer that this announcement be postponed." This is the first loan guarantee and we should have full review with all hands on deck to make sure we get it right." The loan was subsequently approved and the announcement was not postponed.
Did the involvement of the Obama administration end with executive pressure to approve a massive loan without the same stringent requirements a common citizen must face today to get a home mortgage? No. According to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), chairman of that panel's oversight and investigations subcommittee, "Solyndra was the hallmark of the President's green jobs program and widely promoted by the administration as a stimulus success story, right up until its bankruptcy and FBI raid."
Is there any evidence that members of the Obama administration were personally involved with this empty shell of a company? In May 2010, President Obama made a personal visit and promoted the company. According to White House visitor logs, between March 12, 2009, and April 14, 2011, Solyndra officials and investors made no fewer than twenty trips to the West Wing for personal visits with members of the administration. Most troubling of all, a big financial backer of the company, Oklahoma billionaire investor George Kaiser, was one of the top bundlers to President Obama's campaign. Bundlers are people who gather contributions from individuals in an organization or community, and present that sum to a campaign. Kaiser made numerous visits to the White House before the company received the multimillion dollar loan from the government.
Was this favoritism? Was this a massive example of the Crony Capitalism that is poisoning our economy? An audit by the Government Accountability Office in July 2010 concluded that the Energy Department "lacked appropriate tools for assessing the progress" of the loan program and that the department treated applicants inconsistently, "favoring some applicants and disadvantaging others."
Was this expensive boondoggle unforeseen? Was it a shock out of the blue blindsiding the Obama administration without warning? Hardly, a now exposed e-mail exchange between Energy Department staff members in August 2009 stated that a credit-rating agency predicted that the green energy company would run out of cash in September 2011. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy on the final day of August. Can the administration in any way claim they were kept in the dark about the inner workings of the company? This is difficult to maintain since Energy Department officials have been sitting in as observers at Solyndra's board meetings for months prior to the crash.
Can you imagine what the reaction of the media would have been if when Enron imploded it was revealed the Bush Administration had guaranteed a half billion dollars in loans or if any of the serial investigations had found that members of the administration had sat in on the board meetings with the very people who perpetrated the fraud? Does anyone doubt that there would have been a feeding frenzy? Does anyone imagine there wouldn't have been cries of "Who knew what and when did they know it?"
In our transforming America, what is the reaction to the Obama administration's intimate relationship to the collapse of their flagship green technology company? Silence. Unless you follow the alternative media you wouldn't even know there was a problem. The masses of voters who get their news from the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media or their comedic fellow-travelers, Jay Leno, John Stewart, and company have no idea of the scheme which has flushed over 500 million dollars down the tube, into someone's pocket and probably future political contributions to the very people who signed the check.
Not only is the hypocrisy stunning the chutzpa and hubris of our cynical leaders is breathtaking. The Obama Administration, which operates in accord with Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, has embraced the Cloward/Piven Strategy to collapse the economy through over the top spending. With a world collapsing around us because of debt they continue to spend and spend and spend.
What should we do? How should American citizens react to this betrayal of the public trust? We should demand our money back and we should demand that those involved be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens' latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens.