"I just want to help protect the president from anything that could result in negative or unfair press. If it's too late to change/postpone the meeting, the president should be careful about unrealistic/optimistic forecasts that could haunt him in the next 18 months if Solyndra hits the wall, files for bankruptcy."
You'd think President Obama would want to stay close to the supporter who wrote that wise but, alas, discarded warning. And you'd be right. Steve Westly, the California venture capitalist and sometime politician who wrote the above advice [pdf] to senior presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett on May 24, 2010, will be speaking shortly at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
And he's not the only player in the sad story of Solyndra LLC, a failed Fremont, California-based maker of tubular solar panels, who has been making the rounds at the DNC. Yesterday, Solyndra champion Steve "How [expletive] hard is this?" Spinner escaped through a guarded side door rather than face any questions about his involvement with the Department of Energy's half-billion-dollar loan guarantee to Solyndra.
Spinner, a major Obama fundraiser and adviser to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, was called on by then White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel in 2009 to put together a defense of Solyndra. His wife was a partner in Solyndra's law firm. In an August 28, 2009 email, Spinner urged a Department of Energy staffer to expedite an approval for the company from an Office of Management and Budget official. "What is he waiting for?" Spinner wrote. "Will we have it by the end of the day?"
In 2011, after high-level Obama officials had rearranged the terms of Solyndra's loan, the company went out of business, taking all of the taxpayers' investment with it. "It did turn out to be a bad decision," Michael Grunwald concedes in The New New Deal, his defense of the ARRA stimulus (and specifically of its green energy subsidies package), which I reviewed earlier today.
After his Energy Department gig, Spinner ended up briefly at the Center for American Progress, but he moved on soon after Solyndra became a news thing instead of a subsidized clean energy thing. He still seems to be earning for the Democrats, however, and this week he has attended events for the National Finance Committee, a dream team of the Obama campaign's top donors. His badge that identifies Spinner as a "Finance Guest." (Those badges are gold.)