Obama Mischief Night Memo: Make Solyndra Layoffs After Election

President Obama’s Energy Department pressured Solyndra brass to avoid laying off workers at the doomed solar panel maker until after the 2010 election, according to documents released late last week. 

From the Washington Post’s Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens:  

In an Oct. 30, 2010, e-mail, advisers to Solyndra’s primary investor, Argonaut Equity, explain that the Energy Department had strongly urged the company to put off the layoff announcement until Nov. 3. The midterm elections were held Nov. 2, and led to Republicans taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“DOE continues to be cooperative and have indicated that they will fund the November draw on our loan (app. $40 million) but have not committed to December yet,” a Solyndra investor adviser wrote Oct. 30. “They did push very hard for us to hold our announcement of the consolidation to employees and vendors to Nov. 3rd – oddly they didn’t give a reason for that date.”

If Energy Secretary Steven Chu is your idea of a guy who makes every second sizzle, this should definitely amp up the excitement when the troubled Nobel laureate testifies – after months of silence, stonewalling and delay – to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce the day after tomorrow. 

The mainstream media have done yeoman work on Solyndra, with Leonnig and Stephens standing out for their excellent reporting. This is just one of many vital pieces of the Solyndra puzzle the two reporters have discovered. 

And no, I do not know what "yeoman work" actually means. 

Unfortunately, I have a print column on Solyndra coming up, and the Oogie Boogie unraveling of the White House’s bag of excuses is giving me serious leadtime blues.

Just in the past few days we learned that: 

  • A highly respected Obama fundraiser/environmental advisor strongly recommended firing Chu in February, and his recommendation got serious discussion among the president’s staffers. 
  • White House environmental adviser Heather Zichal warned about Solyndra’s decrepit finances (though more out of consider-the-optics concerns than fiduciary concerns) in August 2009, and the decision to ignore that advice and highlight the company was taken by Rahm Emanuel, then chief of staff, now Mayor of Chicago. Emanuel continues to claim total memory loss regarding his role in the Solyndra affair. 
  • Missy Owens, Vice President Joe Biden’s niece and Chu’s deputy Chief of Staff, was in on many prominent Solyndra memos, including one predicting the loan guarantee that later cost taxpayers at least $528 million would be regarded as “the foundation of our 21st century economy.”
  • During the late stages of Solyndra’s failure, Chu and Energy Department officials ignored warnings  that might have limited taxpayer losses, gave additional assistance to the Fremont, California company and tried to quiet internal criticism. 
  • The mystery of who bought up Solyndra's assets has deepened.
  • The roster of green corporate welfare recipients has grown. 
  • The supply of “green collar” jobs has not
  • The Obama Administration has hardened its claim that there's nothing to see here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • JoJo Zeke||

  • Rahm||

    Hope? Change? I'm focused on shit-cago now.

  • ||

    What are the odds Emmanuel ends up in the bar hotel sometime between now and 2016? If Obama loses he will be a big fat target for some ambitious US Attorney. And it is not like anyone can stand tiny Dancer anyway. He seems to be a prime candidate for the sacrificial lamb to prove Democrats did something about this.

  • Abdul||

    How bad would that be? He's notoriously a tough guy in the showers.

  • Gray Ghost||

    He knows too many people, and where all of their bones are buried, John. Emanuel has been a pol for a long time. It's true that very connected people get sent up sometimes, like Dan Rostenkowski, but it happens very rarely. Usually, like Jim Wright, they just lose their jobs. Which, for a Congresscritter, is probably worse.

    Now Holder, OTOH...to borrow from English Bob, 'Why not send an Attorney General to jail?'

  • ||

    When Chicago and Illinois go bankrupt, he may be holding the bag. And what was it three governors in a row in Illinois went to prison? I am sure they knew where some bodies were buried too.

    I think someone from this administration is going to prison. But you are right, Holder is more likely.

  • ||

    If Emmanuel goes away, I'm guessing he would have to "disappear". That's the one weakness of knowing where all the bodies are buried. If you do go down, you go all the way.

    Holder, OTOH, seems like just the sort of doofus who would end up taking the fall, and going to prison.

  • Wayne||

    Kudos for the McCabe and Mrs Miller reference! Great movie, beautful cinematography!

  • ||

    And I thought it was Ensign Rand? And definitely Ensign Rand for the win!!

  • ||

    Tim has the right of it. Yeoman Rand, the poor man's Teri Garr.

  • ||

    You say that like it is a bad thing. Teri Garr was madly cute in her Star Trek appearance.

  • ||

    It's just that in the contest between similar looking actresses: Garr beats Rand.

    In a funny Wikipedia aside: Rand was written off the show because the actress was an alcoholic and they kept having to film around her. Of course, she disputes this.

  • ||

    According to Garr's Wikipedia her appearence on Star Trek was supposed to turn into a spin off show with her and Gary Seven saving the world. The show never sold.

    And yeah Garr does beat Rand, although is Wiki is accurate, Rand might have been a better time.

  • ||

    The fact that Teri Garr looked better than Grace Lee Whitney probably had a lot to do with the fact that she's seventeen years younger.

    You can get away with having a good looker pushing forty playing a young hottie until she side by side on screen with a twenty year old.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Considering what usually happend to crew members in red who can blame her for drinking.

  • ||

    She's dead Jim.

  • ||

    Shatner said that too. Supposedly she's gotten herself cleaned up, but who the hell knows.

    All I know is that Teri Garr is (was) much cuter than Rand.

  • Jeff P||

    Didn't Charlie give her a good swat in the ass?

  • ||

    In a funny Wikipedia aside: Rand was written off the show because the actress was an alcoholic and they kept having to film around her. Of course, she disputes this.

    Damn. I thought I knew most of the Start Trek arcania, but this is a new one on me.

    And, oh yeah, 1960's Teri Garr trumps just about anything.

  • ||

    Hell Garr did some underwear commercials back in the 90s when she was pushing 50 and she still looked great. In her 20s she was just the perfect perky girl next girl.

  • ||

    I wish it had been girl next girl.

  • ||

    I remember the Garr episode. She was hot. The episode sucked. I hated all episodes where the crew returns to earth. Regardless of the era. And then of course they had to do that in the movie also. The horror.

  • Suki||

    She was an air head!

  • ||

    I think she crashed pretty bad. I recall reading that she turned tricks at some point while at the bottom. Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

  • ||

    I'm talking about Yeoman Rand, of course, not Teri Garr.

  • AlmightyJB||

    She had nice Knockers too.

    Roll, roll, roll in ze hay

  • Mainer||

    Elevate me.

  • Wayne||

    I have a mad crush on Teri since the first time I saw her in a "Mrs Olson Folger's Coffee commercial".

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    She eventually made ensign. Apparently she was too beautiful for the promotion board to ignore. Too much woman.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    She eventually made ensign.

    Lucky ensign. ;)

  • ||

    I would normally be thinking "you're fucked, Obama" but certain sections of the media are going to go FULL IGNORE on this as best they can in an attempt to have it just blow over, and you know the administration is going to do everything under the sun to just wriggle out of it long enough for it to fade from prominence.

    What's really retarded is that the GOP seemed to go after Clinton harder for a blowjob than they are after Obama for losing almost a billion dollars.

  • ||

    The GOP is going after him pretty hard over this and Fast and Furious. It is just that the media is even more craven now than it was then. The media at least covered the Clinton scnadals. Now they just don't say anything and hope it dies.

  • ||

    Even the coverage given the Clinton scandals had mostly to do with the fact that it was SEX! in the OVAL OFFICE!, than any accidental outbreak of journalistic ethics.

  • WTF||

    The media at least covered the Clinton scnadals

    At first glance I read that as "Clinton gonadals"

  • chris||

    There is truth to this. The press pretty much ignored the non sex scandals involving Clinton, and were blacklisting anyone of their own who brought up the bazaar and suspicious facts surrounding Vince Foster's death.

  • chris||

    BTW, there is an ICP joke up there.

  • WTF||

    What's really retarded is that the GOP seemed to go after Clinton harder for a blowjob than they are after Obama for losing almost a billion dollars.

    The first rule of Graft Club: You don't make too big a stink about Graft Club.

  • OWS ||

    Hey, hey, what about us? You damn plutocrats that own the media better focus on us instead of our preferred political party's corruption!

  • ||

    C'mon, guys. Babe Ruth didn't throw a home run every time he took the field.

  • ||

    Rand was written off the show because the actress was an alcoholic and they kept having to film around her.

    I seem to recall a tale about Shatner never bothering to learn his lines, so there were sheets of paper out of camera shot with prompts on them all over the place.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH.

  • ||

    Shatner, like Frank Sinatra, doesn't need to learn lines. He is beyond that.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The Shat is a consummate professional. Sure, he may leave the odd wife at the bottom of a pool, but the man comes to work prepared.

  • ||

    Look, man, that was an accident. Shatner even cried afterward.

  • ||

    Real tears?

  • ||

    Just like Spock's in "Plato's Stepchildren".

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Love. You're better off without it, and I'm better off without mine. This pool... I give, she takes. She won't permit me my life; I've got to live hers.

  • ||

    That's one sad Spock.

  • ||

    If only Sulu had been allowed to kiss Kirk. Then it would really have been ancient Greece revisited. Or is that Second Mile and Jerry Sandusky?

  • ||

    Takei's gay. Sulu is not.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    I first knew he was gay in that episode in which Sulu is in tights with no shirt on, running down the hall all shiny and sweaty, chasing people with his fencing foil. Even way back when, I saw that and thought, "sheesh, that looks kinda gay."

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

  • ||

    I was actually surprised by the announcement. I'm now surprised by my surprise.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Videos Cameras are not just for cops:

    http://www2.nbc4i.com/news/201.....ar-829807/

  • ||

    OT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....r_embedded

    Apeshit amazing win of modding

  • ||

    What was it, something like 80% of the companies that got greenbux from Obama are owned or run by big Obama contributors?

  • MNG||

    I don't understand why you guys go berserk over this stuff.

    Why is it so bad that the administration made loans to companies that couldn't secure them from the private market? It seems to me that this is exactly what government should be doing.

  • Johnny Clamboat||

    Spoof?

  • JoJo Zeke||

    The fact that it's legitimately impossible to tell is, in and of itself, funny and damning in equal measure.

  • tarran||

    Gotta be a spoof. Needs more rationale

  • ||

    Why is it so bad that the administration made loans to companies that couldn't secure them from the private market?

    You know, one of the problems with the whole greenbux thing, is that the money was going to firms who were perfectly capable of raising money at the capital markets. The greenbux just let them shave a few points off their cost of capital.

  • ||

    What was it, something like 80% of the companies that got greenbux from Obama are owned or run by big Obama contributors?

    Teapot Dome!

    LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALA

  • Alexander Thesoso||

    $528 Billion?
    Our officials are getting number fatigue. Or at least some proofreaders.

  • ||

    And, besides, Obama is SO UNIVERSALLY BELOVED it would be totally impossible to "not" end up with a preponderance of supporters in any sample of people and firms affected by gov't policy initiatives.

    duh

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    But while White House aides earlier told Fox News there are no plans to produce more documents on the bankrupt solar panel firm until Republicans agree to narrow the scope of their request, House Republicans issued a statement saying they expect some response from the White House by the end of the day.

    That response? The bird.

  • Rich||

    White House spokesman Eric Schultz noted Thursday that the administration has produced more than 85,000 pages of documents to date

    To wit, 45 copies of ObamaCare.

  • Anon||

    Not a shock from Obama, but this may be the best opportunity in a long time to end at least some cronyism. Tell your friends to google Teapot Dome! Impeach Obama!

  • Colin||

    Harding was the model of clean government in comparison to these people.

  • Britt||

    Teapot Dome is nothing in comparison.

    For those who don't know, Teapot Dome was a scandal where oil companies bribed the Secretary of the Interior to give them the contract to exploit oil reserves on public land. The oil companies paid for the lease. So the corruption, while obviously illegal and morally repugnant, ended up putting money in the Treasury.

    This shit the bastards are pulling now is shoveling more money then I will make in my lifetime to people who have political connections. It is wholesale transfer of wealth from the narod to the nomenklatura.

    I'm more convinced then ever that I will see large scale civil violence in my lifetime.

  • ¢||

    And, besides, Obama is SO UNIVERSALLY BELOVED it would be totally impossible to "not" end up with a preponderance of supporters in any sample of people and firms affected by gov't policy initiatives.

    ...Actually, yeah.

    Obama is universally beloved among the "policy"-dependent sector(s), and you'd be hard-pressed to find any* oligarchical characters who haven't given him an ass-ton of money. Johnnie Cochran could totally get him off with your defense.

    *Except...you know. But I'm surprised the Kochtopus doesn't cough up. Whatever its rhetoric, the 'Pus isn't resistant to any other "crony capitalism" types. Check their candidate-donation history. It's fucking revolting. They're fully paid up with all the fascist shits—except Obama. $0 für O. I don't get it.

  • Britt||

    Duh. Racism.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    I don't see how there's no case for extortion here based on the email about the layoff announcement.

    This company was instructed to act in a way that provided political benefit for the Obama administration at a time when they had a loan disbursement pending with the Department of Energy.

  • ||

    I don't think delaying bad political news would qualify as personal gain. Extortion would have to be in return for money or a job or something.

  • adam||

    "in return for money or a job or something."

    You mean like elective office?

  • chris||

    YAOT: http://www.cbsnews.com/8601-20.....entWrapper

    From the comments section of CBS's coverage of the Tuesday Night Park Cleaning:

    by skyk1 November 15, 2011 2:45 PM EST
    askagain, what is WRONG with you people... NOT everyone wants to start their own business.. To some of us it's STUPID and Boring. We what the Country OUR Parents, the Greatest Generation, handed us back. The deal WAS clear and ALL of you dishonest JERKS know it. WE the PEOPLE didn't just buy into Supply Side Economics, it was SOLD to us. GO back and read the Newspaper Articles from the time and UNDERSTAND that WE the PEOPLE were made Promises and we were given WARNINGS. Those that you and your kind have attacked like rabid dogs? THEY, THOSE AMERICANS, were RIGHT and YOU and the rest of the Supply Siders LIED to all of us. THAT is REALITY!!

    Whenever I see what these people think in print, or say on a camera, I get a strong urge to build up a barricade around my property. The sheer lunacy is like nothing I have ever seen in my life.

  • ||

    If you start a business you are a dishonest jerk. Where is my job?!! Words fail. Liberals never fail to amaze me with their stupidity.

  • ||

    I'll bet he still tells Reagan jokes.

  • Ice Cream Bunny||

    what is WRONG with you people... NOT everyone wants to start their own business.. To some of us it's STUPID and Boring.

    "Drum Circles Are Unhealthy For Brains, And Other Living Things."

  • JoJo Zeke||

    NOT everyone wants to start their own business.. To some of us it's STUPID and Boring.

    Matt Damon...?

  • NoVAHockey||

    you haven't already barricaded your property?

  • chris||

    'fraid not. I'm naked to the streets right now, and feeling it.

  • kinnath||

    In an Oct. 30, 2010, e-mail, advisers to Solyndra’s primary investor, Argonaut Equity, explain that the Energy Department had strongly urged the company to put off the layoff announcement until Nov. 3.

    Apparently these dudes did not get the training memo -- do not put anything in email that you're not prepared to read on the front page of the newspaper.

  • ||

    Newspapers? Nobody reads them. Everybody goes to the sites that confirm their political views. Spun the right way, this story makes the left proud of their Bobama.

  • cynical||

    Who says they didn't? I like their feigned ignorance as to the significance of Nov 3.

  • BigT||

    Chu is now more than an incompetent, unqualified hack. He is a crook! Do Nobel laureates get ass raped in jail? Hope so.

  • ||

    What's painful is the amateurishness of it.

    November 3? Why not tattoo "after election day" on your forehead?

    Is there no one there competent enough to garble this in ambiguities that nonetheless leave the real message perfectly clear?

    "While DOE has decided to approve the November release, the December release is under advisement pending a show of business stability regarding relations with vendors and employees, and updated numbers on sales."

  • ||

    Yeoman Janice. 83% sure.

  • jeez||

    Typo alert.

    528 million, not billion.

  • ||

    serious leadtime blues.

    Former suck.com webslinger and creator of Hit & Run; Tim Cavanaugh bitching about the speed of the internet.

    The irony is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

  • Double D||

    Tim, you better find out what "yeoman work" is! Look it up under "best" in the dictionary

    -Chief Yeoman

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement