Solyndra Stonewall Gets Autumn Off to Silent Start

Solyndra executives Brian Harrison and W.G. “Bill” Stover made their much-anticipated Fifth Amendment pleas before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce this morning. 

C-SPAN has a recording of the whole appearance up, and I have to say that for a show whose outcome you knew all along, it’s still kind of a disappointment. 

Some reactions:

1. I hope Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colorado) is taking something for that cold.

2. Why partisanship is good for America: Tiny Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California) is in full Republicans-did-it-too mode, but his recitation of GOP congresspersons who begged for green pork in their districts (starting around the 22-minute mark) is pretty great. 

3. Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R-Texas) has the day's best grandstanding around the 33 minute mark: "I only wish we could have invested a little more money in crime-scene tape and taken it down there and encircled their building." 

4. Where is Nobel laureate Steven Chu while all this is going on? As I noted earlier this week, the two Department of Energy officials who testified last week had no connection to the approval of the Solyndra loan. Sending them to the House was an insult. The Secretary of Energy needs to get in there and take his clean-energy lumps. 

5. For that matter, where is Valerie Jarrett, the Prof. Moriarty of the Obama Administration? 

6. Waxman’s claim that committee members are “badgering the witnesses” by asking Harrison and Stover to answer questions is, well, pretty rich.

7. Enjoyable as this spectacle is, it makes me a little sad. I’ve worked for a bunch of startups over the years, and the excitement and optimism when you’re putting a company together doesn’t really exist anywhere else in grownup life. True to the statistical norm, all my startups (so far) have ended in tears, and there’s usually some supply of second guessing and hard feelings involved as well. (There’s already some of that among former Solyndrites.) But to see a company end in this level of shame and public humiliation is moving, even though the shame and humiliation are well deserved. 

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  • GSL||

    Yeah, no surprise to see them pleading the fizzif. The interesting news today: apparently Solyndra's CFO was at the heart of the biggest price-fixing scandal in American history. Due diligence FTW!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    These guys would be stupid *not* to take the Fifth. I suspect that both parties have planted targets on their backs. The Reps want their scalps, while, unless I miss their guess, the Dems are preparing a narrative about Corporate Malefactors Betraying the Trust which the Messiah Placed in Them.

  • ||

    If you know you're going to be the scapegoat for a political witch hunt (regardless of whether you've committed any crimes), I can't think of a reason why you wouldn't plead the Fifth. It does present a negative connotation, true, but it's likely safer than submitting to political theater.

    The administration isn't likely to get off the hook on this very easily. Already, who wants to trust them with more "stimulus" spending?

  • GSL||

    Yeah, I still think it hurts Obama to have this affair drag out, and the optics of refusing to testify are bad. Even in the best case, the administration looks terribly naive and incompetent in giving the company money, and being irresponsible with tax dollars never plays well.

  • ||

    Unless, you know, you're an Obama supporter. Then it doesn't matter, because taxes = tithes, and what the fuck's the matter with you that you don't want the church to spend your their money?

  • Zeb||

    If only taxes were tithes (i.e. 10%).

  • sevo||

    "The administration isn't likely to get off the hook on this very easily."

    Using the 5th may help the company officers, but it sure didn't help Obama.

  • Realist||

    They will probably never touch Obama.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I’ve worked for a bunch of startups over the years, and the excitement and optimism when you’re putting a company together doesn’t really exist anywhere else in grownup life.

    Apparently the glee elevates to the status of "drunken" when they back a dumptruck of taxpayer money up to your door.

  • ||

    Opposite the one startup I have worked for, which was started on a single desktop PC server running Linux because we couldn't afford the licensing for Windows (and didn't want that anyway).

    We got kicked out of our first office by the landlord for reasons I still do not entirely understand; the tenant at the end of the hall was a law office that apparently shot porn on the weekends.

    Cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap. Never, never, never forget those words. They will save your ass a thousand times over, especially when competing with well- and over-capitalized competitors.

  • ||

    the tenant at the end of the hall was a law office that apparently shot porn on the weekends.

    So that was you at the other end of the . . .

    Umm, never mind.

  • BakedPenguin||

    If you're uh... still doing side work, I know a woman who'd work out well for you.

    Just make sure to bring a razor.

  • ||

    She's unclear on the "safe word" concept, huh?

  • BakedPenguin||

    It's from a reminiscence in an earlier thread. A lovely, if slightly hairy, woman.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Does your Russian girlfriend know you're trying to farm her out?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Oh, we broke up a while ago. You do that with current gf's, they get a tad vexed.

  • GSL||

    Which was a big part of Solyndra's demise: most start-ups will think twice about building massive manufacturing facilities on prime real estate in a high-tax, high-cost county.

  • ||

    That's because most startups don't have half a billion dollars of free money to blow on vanity projects.

  • ||

    Waxman's ability to be an even greater shithead every time he opens his mouth is truly amazing. The abject odiousness of his features is only superseded by the vileness of his character.

  • Tman||

    I can't say that the vileness of his character supersedes his features. That is one creature on which God was clearly having an off day.

    They can't all be Brad Pitt I suppose, but when Waxman was born the doctor slapped his mother.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Waxman’s claim that committee members are “badgering the witnesses” by asking Harrison and Stover to answer questions is, well, pretty rich.

    Too bad we won't ever see the headline "Solyndra CEO Badgered to Death!

    Also, do we have the wrong species for Waxman? Maybe he's not a mole after all.

  • ||

    Did any democrat apologize to the Solyndra execs? Please tell me they did!

  • BakedPenguin||

    If they did, I didn't hear it. I think they're going to be smart enough to wait for an acquittal (or pardon) before doing something like that.

  • ||

    It will be interesting to see the next moves. Its not hard to see the House granting immunity to these guys to get their testimony. At which point, the Solyndra folks will have to paint the adminstration in as bad a light as possible to make their immunity look justified.

    Fingers crossed!

  • TRTB||

    IANAL, is that really how it works? Is there really any pressure or incentive to make your immunity look justified? What is the incentive?

  • ||

    Its a tricky game. Typically, the witness has to "proffer" their evidence, in a purely hypothetical way.

    If it looks good enough to justify immunity, so be it.

    Of course, once the immunity is granted, there's no way to take it back.

  • Mike M.||

    For that matter, where is Valerie Jarrett, the Prof. Moriarty of the Obama Administration?

    Excellent question. Exactly who the hell is this woman anyway, and just how much sway over Obama and power within this administration does she have?

    I suspect that most Americans have probably never even heard of her. If we had a real mainstream media left to speak of in this country, they would be giving us the answers to these critical questions.

  • Gimlet||

    I’ve worked for a bunch of startups over the years, and the excitement and optimism when you’re putting a company together doesn’t really exist anywhere else in grownup life.

    I disagree. I too have been involved with several start-ups and I would say planning and executing a large wedding, reception, honeymoon and home melding is comparable in the adult world.

  • Gimlet||

    Please add quotes to the first paragraph.

  • ||

    No one here understands. My president is trying to save the Planet. The Planet, Da Planet, Da Plane, Da Plane. Look boss, da plane!

  • Gimlet||

    Tis is from a CANADIAN newspaper:

    Investigate Valerie Jarrett Over Deepening Role in Solyndra Scandal

    Despite the Obama administration’s desperate attempts to blame George W. Bush for the Solyndra loan scandal, House Republicans have initiated a series of high-profile investigations into whether the loan guarantee was a political payback. Company VIPs have already said they will invoke the Fifth Amendment when called to testify before Congress tomorrow.

    One of the people Republicans must compel to testify about her role in the scandal is Barack Obama’s closest adviser, Valerie Jarrett.

    Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison will take the Fifth when he (briefly) testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday. Committee chairman Fred Upton of Michigan has asked, “Who exactly are Solyndra’s executives trying to protect and what are they trying to hide?”

    Harrison hopes to hide the role one of his chief shareholders played in currying, or buying, favor with Jarrett and the administration.

    In 2009, the same year Solyndra received its $535 million federal loan guarantee, the George Kaiser Family Foundation made a $10,000 donation to the Urban Health Initiative at the University of Chicago Medical Center. The foundation controls 35.7 percent of Solyndra.

    Just months before Kaiser’s foundation poured tax-exempt cash into its coffers, Valerie Jarrett served as the medical center’s chairwoman. The initiative was created by none other than future First Larcenist Michelle Obama. In an earlier act of cronyism, Michelle “recommended” the center hire David Axelrod’s firm to provide PR in 2006. Indeed, the project employed a bevy of Obama’s Chicago cronies. In a 2008 story, The Washington Post reported:

    One of Barack’s best friends, Eric Whitaker, is executive vice president at the center and is now in charge of the Urban Health Initiative. Hospital board member Kelly R. Welsh is executive vice president at Northern Trust Co., which extended the couple a $1.3 million home mortgage shortly after Barack Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate. Dan Shomon, Barack Obama’s former campaign manager, is a university lobbyist. Jarrett, Whitaker, Welsh and Shomon all declined to be interviewed or did not respond to requests.

    George Kaiser visited the White House 16 times, holding at least one friendly chat with Jarrett. Kaiser insists the loan never came up.

    http://floydreports.com/invest.....a-scandal/

  • Ice Nine||

    from a CANADIAN newspaper:
    One of the people Republicans must compel to testify about her role in the scandal is Barack Obama’s closest adviser, Valerie Jarrett.

    The Canadians are understandably not all that familiar with the concept of executive privilege.

  • ||

    It would be mildly amusing to see the GOP pressure the administration for her testimony, though. The screaming hypocrisy that both parties would display in the ensuing argument--basically swapping the arguments that were made during the Bush years--would be a marvelous example of how the parties are really no different.

  • ||

    True to the statistical norm, all my startups (so far) have ended in tears, and there’s usually some supply of second guessing and hard feelings involved as well.

    But your bathroom is wallpapered with pretty (though worthless) stock certificates, right?

  • ||

    most start-ups will think twice about building massive manufacturing facilities on prime real estate in a high-tax, high-cost county.

    Dare to dream big, Comrade!

  • Barack "EcoPresident" 0-bomba||

    You can't pin that rap on me!

  • ||

    Elon Musk's Solar City just blew out of the DOE Loan program because they cooked the books and bought influence just like Tesla. Steve Spinner, Matt Rogers and Lachlan Seward at DOE manipulated the process to ignore Tesla's fake financials because Tesla bought their loan from the White House, the investigations will prove this and Tesla will be history.

  • ||

    Looks like that FBI raid was a big success.

  • Nike Dunk High Women||

    thanks

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