Government Waste

Don't Believe the Presidents' Men In Solyndra Investigations

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President Obama investigating Solyndra.

“Ya know, I’m focusing on a major announcement today for the City Of Chicago,” former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told a Chicago radio station Sunday when asked about his role in the Solyndra scandal. “I don’t actually remember that or know about it. So, what I’m dealing with is what I’m dealing with here today.”

Emanuel’s dodge is improbable given his former position. It also strengthens the case that the Obama Administration cannot be trusted in its investigation of Solyndra’s half-billion-dollar loan and subsequent bankruptcy â€" which are now being probed by three different executive-branch agencies. 

In image management terms, the administration's handling of Solyndra has been disastrous. Obama press secretary Jay Carney claimed last week that the president has not been briefed on the scandal, which is either an absurd lie or a terrifying truth. The Energy Department failed to put forward a complete and coherent narrative during last week’s House Commerce and Energy Committee hearing, or for that matter to field officials who were actually involved in the original loan. (Both Department of Energy loan executive Jonathan Silver and deputy Office of Management and Budget director Jeffrey Zients took their respective jobs after the Solyndra loan was decided in March 2009.)

Emanuel’s statement is more flailing, and it is almost certainly false. In fact, one of Emanuel’s assistants in August 2009 sent an email to Office of Management and Budget trying to “speed along” the deal that awarded a $535 million taxpayer-guaranteed loan at a sub-market interest rate to Solyndra, a company with a dubious product, a poor market position and finances that had been widely criticized even at the time. The first duty of a chief of staff is to handle staff; how can Rahmbo, now the mayor of Chicago, claim he didn’t know about this activity? 

Obama is delighted by the excellent "optics" in this Solyndra inquiry.

Though the common view of P.R. flacks is that they lie for a living, effective crisis management requires that you make your factually accurate version of the story public, in a form that is thoroughly vetted and documented so you won’t have to walk any of it back. The Obama team is clearly not doing this, and since the scandal broke â€" almost entirely as a result of the investigation by House Republicans â€" the Department of Justice, the Department of Energy and as of last week the Department of the Treasury have all made very public moves to look into Solyndra.

Justice and Treasury at least have a lengthy pedigree. But the plain fact is that these are all executive branch departments answerable to the president, and the issue at the heart of Solyndra is the executive branch’s apparent dereliction in its stewardship of public funds approved by Congress. 

Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison and CFO W.G. “Bill” Stover are scheduled to testify to the House Wednesday, and the Democrats appear to be backing into a strategy of vilifying the company (previous efforts to blame perfidious China and wish the story into a cornfield having failed). It’s tempting to revile these executives, whose lobbying efforts were unseemly even by Washington standards and who might have milked the taxpayers for an additional $469 million had the investigation by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Michigan) not shed light on the company’s dire finances. 

But it is highly suspicious that an administration whose highest officials claim not to have discussed and not to remember Solyndra has so quickly decided to start a wide criminal probe against the company. 

Obama has yet to be briefed on the Solyndra episode.

It’s also unnecessary. All the important news about the Solyndra episode has originated with the House investigation. Congressional oversight power is working well in this case, and the open nature of a legislative investigation creates a better forum for discussing the folly of corporate subsidies more generally and the campaign for “green jobs” that is turning out to be as empty as Van Jones’ soul. That Solyndra came to light at all is another example of the virtues of divided government and another reason to suspect any efforts to help by an administration that has its hands full spinning the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ “Fast and Furious” scandal. 

The fact that bad news makes the news networks does not automatically create a law enforcement interest. And the Obama Administration has squandered any presumption of good faith in its handling of this matter. For both of these reasons, the executive branch should butt out and focus its energies on providing accurate responses to the House inquiry. 

NEXT: Why Obama Should Withdraw

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  1. Congressional oversight power is working well in this case, and the open nature of a legislative investigation creates a better forum for discussing the folly of corporate subsidies more generally and the campaign for “green jobs” that is turning out to be as empty as Van Jones’ soul.

    It’s a bit of a run-on sentence, but I got a good chuckle out of its conclusion.

  2. how can Rahmbo, now the mayor of Chicago, claim he didn’t know about this activity?

    Because Rahm is playing Chicago politics and thinks The Big O will save him.

    He’s probably right too, at least insofar as he won’t be held even minimally responsible for anything he probably did that was improper.

    1. He’s fucked if he thinks Obama will save him out of loyalty.

      Obama has repeatedly thrown former associates under the bus for the sake of expediency.

      1. I think Rahm has enough on Obama to be somewhat safe. You can’t throw your consigliere under the bus publicly.

  3. Speaking of Van Jones –

    I wonder if Mr. Jones would argue that Solyndra wasn’t “really broke” because they could have stayed in business for another 6 months if Rep. Upton had just allowed them to steal another $500 mill.

    Isn’t that the progressive standard of “broke”? That you aren’t broke if anyone anywhere has any money you can steal?

    1. This.

      Team BLUE shills will blame it on those obstructionist Republicans who wouldn’t approve any more funding so that Solyndra could operate at a loss until they could become a viable company.

    2. I think he would. Solyndra didn’t fail. We just didn’t give it enough subsidies to survive. I am frankly surprised someone hasn’t made that argument.

      1. Being that I’m not seeing this argument anywhere makes me think the financials were just that much more appalling.

        1. Sounds about right.

        2. or the money spent was on golf trips, jets, or other corporate goodies…

  4. principle duty

    principal duty

  5. Alt-text: President Obama investigates Solyndra.

    The corruption is literally right under his nose!

  6. I don’t actually remember that or know about it. So, what I’m dealing with is what I’m dealing with here today.

    Yeah fucking right.

  7. That robot voted Democrat.

    1. I LOLed.

  8. Don’t Believe the Presidents’ Men In Solyndra Investigations

    s/b

    Don’t Believe the Reason Staffers in Posting Morning Links.

    Or, Alarm Clocks – how do they fucking work? Or Hangovers, how late can I sleep in?

    1. I guess the morning links have been canceled like WKRP.

      1. Eventually, there will be Afternoon links. But right now I can’t even get SugarLinks?.

        1. Fall TV Preveiw

          Conjoined Sins
          In this family drama, a brother and sister are conjoined at the genitals and must deal with problems that come with having a roommate, living life in the 2010’s, and being locked in a constant state of intercourse with your sibling. I shouldn’t have really said “problems”, though, because both of them are into it and it gets pretty heavy. They should have called this Uncomfortable Audience. I mean, I get that the show is trying to push boundaries and taboos and tear down bassoons and all that, but it was hard to watch. I would have completely hated it if not for the scene where the sister tries to do surgery on herself because she suddenly thinks they’re actually conjoined at the eye.

          So yeah, SPOILER ALERT, the twist at the end is that the sister has gone insane. Sure, that’s less of a twist and more just a thing that happens, but also the brother stretches his penis all the way around her and then lubricates his underarm with oil, so SPOILER TWIST ALERT, the brother’s a robot. End of episode, fade to black, no end title cards. My goosebumps had boners, it was nuts.

          1. Is the blond chick in Fishbowl a man, or does she just have some terrible deformity?

          2. OK, that was pretty good.

          3. I was hoping for Human Centipede – the Musical!

            But it’s hard to sing when the mouth is otherwise engaged.

          4. Cracked and their robot fetish.

        2. Since we don’t have morning links anymore (the bastards), this is a must read. Apparently Jon Stewart has lost Esquire.

          http://www.esquire.com/print-t…..1?page=all

          1. I just finished this. It is a total hit piece on Stewart and makes him look like a real cock sucking bastard.

          2. This might be one of the worst articles I have read in a great while.

            Although I did find it hilarious that he accuses Stewart of now being smug. Stewart apparently wasn’t before, but now he is.

            1. I think it is a great article. It is written by a liberal from a liberal perspective. And it makes the great point that Stewart isn’t doing liberals any favors by sucking all of the oxygen out of the room and then not really standing for anything.

              1. Meh.

                The guy who says the emperor has no clothes is performing a service, even if that guy is not himself a tailor.

                1. He doesn’t really do that. That is the problem. The point of the article is that Stewart really stands for nothing. He claims to be more than a comedian but then never assumes the accompanying responsibility of doing something besides taking shots at people.

                  1. “[Stewart] claims to be more than a comedian but then never assumes the accompanying responsibility of doing something besides taking shots at people.”

                    That’s been the (completely accurate) rap against Stewart in “conservative” circles for years now — it’s become known as the “clown nose on, clown nose off” syndrome, and whenever it’s used it’s invariably referencing Stewart.

          3. My hat is off to you. I could only make it about a third of the way through.

            1. I only made it half way. I don’t like Stewart all that much, but that piece was a slog.

          4. The most telling (and accurate) line from that article:

            “The point of Stewart’s comedy, even before it became political, was that it was the comedy of a smart-ass from Jersey who knows he can be a dick”

            OF COURSE he “can be a dick” — his entire ouvre is to be a dick.

          5. It was an interesting read. I wouldn’t say he’s “lost” Esquire exactly, though.

        3. And here we are with Exile in Loserville. Days of Rage pictures that are too pathetic for words.

          http://pajamasmedia.com/zombie…..ion-flops/

            1. Did they make a conscious effort to make sure every woman at the slut walk was unattractive? Surely one or two cute girls showed up and were turned away.

              1. The Planned Parenthood chick with the shaved head was pretty cute.

                1. Sure she is, if young boys are your thing. NTTAWWT. There is one blond in a pink dress who is pretty cute. So there was one cute girl who did show up and was not turned away.

              2. And how are you not sporting a boner over this one?

                1. I must have gone queer or something I guess.

                2. She’s just asking for it in that hat.

            2. Wait a second – rape is caused by racism?

              I find that confusing.

              Although all women are safe from rape by me, women of color are extra-special-safe, because I don’t want to hit that.

              1. Your refusal to rape women of color is, of course, racist.

                1. THEN LET NO MAN CALL ME RACIST!!! I FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITY RAPE!!

    2. Could have ended the headline with “Men.”

  9. “But the plain fact is that these are all executive branch departments answerable to the president”

    Sort of. A lot of this is being run by the IGs. While IGs are technical executive branch officials, many of them look to Congress for their political backing. They work as eyes and ears for Congress within the executive branch.

    1. Would those be same sort of IGs that Obama has fired for being inconvenient?

    2. Between this and Fast and Furious, they may as well just appoint a full-time Special Prosecutor.

  10. Looks like the robot is holding up prison bars.

  11. Interestingly, with the ex-employees now trying to wrangle $14 million more in taxpayer-funded employment assistance, the argument that Chinese subsidies killed Solyndra is starting to fall apart as well.

    What stuns me about the Obama admin’s bungling of this scandal is that he has to see how much it’s destroying his brand in advance of next year’s election. A guy who got into office by promising an end to business as usual in DC can’t be inspiring his 2008 supporters, with “business as usual” so clearly on display here.

    1. You’re forgetting that his supporters are blind.

      1. THis…just last week one of my Facebook friends posted some shit about “I’ve got your back in 2012”. Fuck me.

      2. Some are, some aren’t. I think that his support in 2008 drew from a large group of people tired of Republican presidents and willing to give him a chance, and a small group of people who believed he’d descended from heaven to save the world from its sins. He won’t lose the second group, but I’m not so sure about the first group.

      3. Wish I could remember who wrote it, but as Nixon was circling the drain, he still had something like a 30% approval rating.
        The comment was ‘25% of the voters will continue to support their choice if the guy commits buggery at high noon’.
        I tend to agree.

    2. Strictly speaking, as I understand the TAA, “Our company made a shitty overpriced product and the Chinese made a better cheaper one,” qualifies the laid off employees for Trade Adjustment Assistance.

      The person in that link appears to think that subsidies from the Chinese government have to be involved, and that’s not the case. Plain old losing in the international marketplace makes your TAA petition approvable, as long as the winning competitor is overseas.

      1. I really hope you’re wrong. Otherwise, TAA is going to be the biggest welfare program in the country in a few years.

  12. Don’t worry, folks, Obama’s planning $1.5T in tax increases to make up for the shortfall in this venture.

    It’s all good.

    1. The mind boggles that he would propose one of the biggest tax increases (maybe THE biggest, who knows?) on the brink of a double-dip recession.

      Next year’s election is shaping up nicely as a confrontation between the tax producers and the tax consumers, no? As there are more tax consumers that producers these days, I think it will come down to how many of those tax consumers aspire to economic success someday.

      1. All of them do. But they see economic success as voting themselves a larger share of your wallet.

      2. It will also depend on how many of the tax consumers realize they are tax consumers. In my experience, many have no idea.

        1. They tend to congregate in Republican-voting states.

  13. I still really want to know where all the money went. We’re not talking about a couple million dollars that might go to pay some scientists’ salaries, or for a new computer system. But half a BILLION? Where could all that money have gone in such a short time? And to find out they wanted another loan of almost the same amount?

    1. The raw materials they used were much more expensive than the finished product.

      1. A value negative factory. That is right out of the Soviet Union

        1. But they couldn’t even finish their 5 year plan.

          1. Only because the Central Committee cut off the money spigot.

      2. But they were going to make up for that with sales volume!

  14. NO links YET? (Shakes head)

    1. Riggs is working on some sausage links.

  15. Also, I see you reasonoids made the WSJ laugh, but they’ll still hate us.

      1. “No Results”
        Right.

    1. “OK, who thought bringing this much rope was a good idea?”

  16. Solyndra is the tip of the iceberg. This is not a White House scandal, it is a DOE scandal. Steven Chu and his whole staff should be fired. The controversy here is that DOE lied about doing due diligence and passed Solyndra through while intentionally delaying others that competed with DOE’s officers business interests. The DOE could have safely diversified its bets with 40 small america business applicants but they blew the money on a few inside special interest applicants who paid lobby money while freezing out those small American businesses and jobs. Subpeona’s will show that Lachlan Seward & Steve Spinner of the DOE, ordered staff and consultant’s to change their review criteria and findings in order to manipulate winners and losers.

    Look into the ones that didn’t get in because they didn’t bribe the right people.

    The site: http://corruptiondoe.weebly.com has the real truth about Solyndra and beyond…

    It shows that: – Only campaign contributors received funding from the DOE ATVM and Loan programs and competitors to those interests were frozen out. – Key White House staff were informed of the misdeeds but they covered them up. – A criminally illegal protection investor money racket was being run by individuals in, and around, the DOE funding programs, Detroit and Goldman Sachs. – Detroit ordered all competing efforts killed off or permanently delayed. – Tesla is involved in the same influence-buying scam and financials fudging here Everybody knows about the site, above. Hundreds of thousands of people have seen it. Nobody can ignore the facts here. This was all pay-to-play.

    (OK to copy-and-paste and forward this)

  17. Solyndra is the tip of the iceberg. This is not a White House scandal, it is a DOE scandal. Steven Chu and his whole staff should be fired. The controversy here is that DOE lied about doing due diligence and passed Solyndra through while intentionally delaying others that competed with DOE’s officers business interests. The DOE could have safely diversified its bets with 40 small america business applicants but they blew the money on a few inside special interest applicants who paid lobby money while freezing out those small American businesses and jobs. Subpeona’s will show that Lachlan Seward & Steve Spinner of the DOE, ordered staff and consultant’s to change their review criteria and findings in order to manipulate winners and losers.

    Look into the ones that didn’t get in because they didn’t bribe the right people.

    The site: corruptiondoe.weebly.com has the real truth about Solyndra and beyond…

    It shows that: – Only campaign contributors received funding from the DOE ATVM and Loan programs and competitors to those interests were frozen out. – Key White House staff were informed of the misdeeds but they covered them up. – A criminally illegal protection investor money racket was being run by individuals in, and around, the DOE funding programs, Detroit and Goldman Sachs. – Detroit ordered all competing efforts killed off or permanently delayed. – Tesla is involved in the same influence-buying scam and financials fudging here Everybody knows about the site, above. Hundreds of thousands of people have seen it. Nobody can ignore the facts here. This was all pay-to-play.

    (OK to copy-and-paste and forward this)

  18. I would have completely hated it if not for the scene where the sister tries to do surgery on herself because she suddenly thinks they’re actually conjoined at the eye.

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