Corporate Scandals

Solyndra Leads to More Time With Steven Spinner's Family


There's Steven Spinner spending time with his family now.

Is a think tank affiliation a big enough deal to count as another scalp in the ever-expanding Solyndra debacle?

Steven J. Spinner, who leaned on federal officials to approve the disastrous half-billion-dollar taxpayer-guaranteed loan to Solyndra in 2009, has been a figure of some intrigue. As I wrote in yesterday's Solyndra notebook-dump: 

Who is Steven J. Spinner and why were both president and vice-president "breathing down" his neck? Read more about the big Obama fundraiser's pushy campaign to get the Solyndra loan approved. 

Well whoever Steve Spinner is, he's no longer a fellow — hail, well met or otherwise — at the the Center for American Progress. Politico reports on Spinner's uncharacterized discharge from C.A.P.: 

Spinner has come under heightened scrutiny over his role at the Energy Department working on a range of logistical issues surrounding its $535 million loan guarantee.

Emails released by DOE this month show Spinner angered career officials with messages urging them to speed up their work in response to pressure from the White House.

Spinner's work drew added scrutiny because of his ties to the Obama 2008 campaign — he raised $500,000 — and conflict of interest concerns linked to his wife Allison Spinner's law firm, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. He's been active in Obama's 2012 campaign as well, raising $500,000 in the third quarter of 2011.

C.A.P. is where Spinner went after leaving his job as a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The Washington Post's Joe Stephens and Carol D. Leonnig shed some light on how responsibly Spinner managed his duty to the public at DOE: 

Spinner came from Silicon Valley to serve as a senior adviser on the loan program, and his wife was a lawyer with Wilson Sonsini, the law firm representing Solyndra in its application. Despite an ethics agreement under which he said he would recuse himself from Solyndra's loan application, correspondence shows that Spinner defended the company, worked to get the president or vice president to visit its factory, and pushed for a final decision on approving the company's loan.

"How [expletive] hard is this?" Spinner wrote to a career staffer on Aug. 28, 2009, asking for answers about final approval from an OMB official. "What is he waiting for? Will we have it by the end of the day?"


Spinner e-mailed an aide to then-Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that Solyndra was solid, and he suggested it deserved government support.

"I haven't heard anything negative on my side," he responded in the e-mail exchange, proposing that he set up a talk with whomever was raising red flags. "I .?.?. have no idea what they're referring [to]."

It's dismaying enough to learn that Wilson Sonsini, that mass murderer of dotcoms, outlived the Clinton Administration, but Spinner's shenanigans show a special Silicon Valley type of slovenliness. It was just a matter of time before that kind of slack found a natural home in D.C., but as a 20th century dotcommer I have to say: At least when we failed we did it with private money. I hope that C.A.P. is praising Spinner simply to be gracious. The organization was right to part ways with him. 

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  1. Here I am losing money on Solyndra, and it doesn’t even show up on my Scott & Stringfellow statement!

    At least I got to take Transocean Sedco Forex off my taxes!

    1. Your handle always reminds me of the great Simpsons gag in which Homer is running through the forest and sees a huge billboard saying “DIE”… which causes him to scream. Then the wind blows a tree out of the way, and he sees it actually says “DIET”… which causes him to scream much louder.

    2. OT: Gilad Shalit prefers to live in Israel than in Gaza. Also proves that one Israeli is worth more than 1000 Palestinians.

  2. that mass murderer of dotcoms,

    Ah, a Cavanaugh tell. I didn’t look at the byline, but as soon as I reached this phrase I thought “this must be a Tim Cavanaugh piece” looked up and yep, sure was. 🙂

    1. Didn’t follow the link or even look to see that it was a link to Suck, just the phrase alone was enough.

  3. “Spinner’s shenanigans show a special Silicon Valley type of slovenliness. It was just a matter of time before that kind of slack found a natural home in D.C.”
    I will bet you get to recycle this phrase, re: Tesla.

  4. Solyndra Leads to More Time With Steven Spinner’s Family

    Fucking epic win.

    1. ^^^ THIS ^^^

  5. Spinner’s work drew added scrutiny because of his ties to the Obama 2008 campaign ? he raised $500,000 ? and conflict of interest concerns linked to his wife Allison Spinner’s law firm, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. He’s been active in Obama’s 2012 campaign as well, raising $500,000 in the third quarter of 2011.

    Cavanaugh was right… the subsidized are different than you and me…

  6. Corruption and cronyism is running rampant in our government and this is yet another example.

    Consider also what just happened in a federal court in Texas. A Dallas business owner was involved in a civil dispute and paid millions of dollars to lawyers, and when he objected to additional fees after settling the case, they had a “friendly” judge seize all of his possessions, without any notice or hearing, and essentially ordered him under “house arrest” as an involuntary servant to the lawyers. The business owner has been under this “servant” order for 10 months and is prohibited from owning any possessions, prohibited from working, etc..

    …and some quotes from the judge:

    THE COURT: “I’m telling you don’t scr-w with me. You are a fool, a fool, a fool, a fool to scr-w with a federal judge, and if you don’t understand that, I can make you understand it. I have the force of the Navy, Army, Marines and Navy behind me.”

    THE COURT: “You realize that order is an order of the Court. So any failure to comply with that order is contempt, punishable by lots of dollars, punishable by possible jail, death” has an explanation of this case.

  7. From Tim’s linked Suck article:

    It’s a perfect farcical moment, a shallow person attempting to reveal his inner depths; and as the employees fall silent, we get a glimpse of their expressions ? a blend of empathetic embarrassment and barely concealed laughter.

    The ever-present chasm between management and the employees. Will it ever be bridged?

    1. BTW, anybody else notice that is dead?

  8. The horse is dead. You can stop beating
    it now

    1. No, it isn’t dead. You’re looking at one leg of the horse; the rest is yet to be located.

      1. If said horse is in Verona, Italy then it is probably dinner already.

  9. Say, man, y’all got a number or an email for something for Mr. Spinner, I got this idea for powering teleprompters using the Earth’s rotational velocity…and with just $1.7 billion, I believe I could finally get me a proper Ferrari collection save the world.

  10. Making Vee sign:

    “I am not a crook.”

  11. Are you trying to make a point by showing a picture of him in Jewish garb?

    1. Or that really is his facebook image…


  12. So what happens next with this giant tax payer financed disaster is that TOP. MEN. will examine the failures of government regulation to prevent campaign kickback corruption and their answer will be…. more government regulation is needed to stop these fat cat bad guys.

    Anything else gonna happen? Do you think anyone gets, maybe, arrested for signing the contract that is subordinating tax payers in a bankruptcy?


    Someone has to go to jail for Fast and Furious though, right? There are dead people in that one. Surely someone will get held accountable, right?

    Why do I have the feeling that we haven’t even seen the worst yet with this administration?

    I need a drink. I mean, another one.

    1. And you know this wasn’t a failure by any means, right? It was just an “investment” that didn’t work out.
      Happens all the time! Really happens all the time when you get to “invest” OPM…

      1. Watch the first 40 seconds of this from the E&C Hearing as Mike Pompeo from Kansas says exactly that whilst tearing these two jackasses from the DOE a new orifice.

        Can we get Mike to run for the big show? I know nothing about him but I’d feel better if there were more guys like this asking questions.

        1. I went a bit beyond the 40 second mark, and it’s obvious that twit testifying doesn’t have a clue about the concepts of cutting losses or sunk costs.
          “Hey, it’s only taxpayer money! Maybe we’ll get lucky and roll a 7!”

        2. Pompeo is awesome in that video, but he’s too tongue-in-cheek. I feel as if he needs to take a twenty minute aside to explain to the economically dim what he means by “skin in the game”.

          1. Listen from 5:00 on……..

            ….”I hope you hired Mark!”


      2. See? Capitalism doesn’t work!

  13. Why is that when the government starts picking winners and losers they only just pick the losers?

    1. ‘Cause the losers contribute to the government?

  14. Does anyone understand the idea behind the layout at Suck? They were trying to cut down on peripheral distortion for readers with progressive lenses? Is there a script someplace to remove paragraph marks from Suck text?

    1. johnl,
      I don’t get paragraph marks in Firefox, but you gotta remember that was formatted in 2001. Things change….

  15. It’s always nice lv epi leather purses when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I’m sure you had replica LV Multicolore Purses joy writing this article.

  16. Mr. Cavanaugh:

    It is beyond appalling that you chose that particular photo for your slanderous piece. Are we living in 1930s Germany? Your point, dear sir, is to show an affiliation that is irrelevant to your article and to the issue. What is more interesting is the absolutes of behind the scenes strategies dictated by the administration. The timeline of Solyndra as an ‘in play’ corporation to receive monies pre-dates Mr. Spinner and pre-dates the Obama administration. Again, you chose to make a point and this point is not lost on your readership. Perhaps you should consider picking up a hobby where one wears white hooded capes and stands in unison with like-minded propaganda-fed anti-Americans who chant for a homogeneous race. I am disgusted and you discredit the merits of authorship in a well-read publication. It would be correct and noble to apologize to your readership. Read the demographics of your traffic. There are others here who would wear similar ‘garb’ as Mr. Spinner. I am asking that you remove that photo and put another in its place. If not and if no apology is issued, I will assume that your agenda is not ‘pure’ and that you endeavor to have a ‘pure’ race in America.

    1. You don’t get it. Cavanaugh likes the Jews. He likes them so much that he rejoices in the termination of those who don’t like the Jews. Hell, we all do! The Jews are the third rail of politics and entertainment. Don’t touch them!

    2. Personally, I am shocked that a publication called “reason” would stoop so low as to show private, secret, personal information from facebook. for shame, “reason”. Is nothing we place on facebook sacred anymore?

  17. Ya, because choosing the home page of the guys facebook account is appalling. I called 1-800-psychic hotline and discovered the true point was to show the man with his family using the public image used as his facebook profile image. Had you taken such steps to verify your claim you would have come to the same conclusion. I applaud your quite poetic and well written Godwin. Now please return to the front bench of the short bus and enjoy the ride.

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