Corporate Scandals

Goodnight, Solyndra: $1/2 Billion Swindle Delivered $1,015.25 Entertainment


Once more for old times' sake: President Obama greets a Solyndra panel.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu whiffed in front of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, but he apparently hit a record number of foul balls in one at-bat, so the crowd lost interest. 

E&C Committee staff director Gary Andres has been outed as a vice chairman at Solyndra lobbying firm Dutko Worldwide, further depleting the will of House Republicans who are themselves indentured to the green pork superstructure

Mitt Romney adviser Ron Kaufman is a top adviser at Dutko, rendering it improbable that the rock-ribbed small government conservative will make much of a campaign issue of Solyndra. 

GreenTechMedia's Eric Wesoff puts it all together and deduces that Solyndra has become a ghost of a scandal

Yesterday, Solyndra said in bankruptcy court that no qualified bidders have emerged and that the remains of the company—intellectual property, equipment, and real estate—would have to be sold in separate auctions. An "extremely low-ball" bid was made, according to chief restructuring officer Todd Neilson, quoted by the Associated Press, but "it was mainly designed to take the equipment and the real estate at an extraordinarily low price."

Neilsen said, in the same AP piece, that fewer than five foreign bidders are still performing due diligence—but it is "highly unlikely" that a buyer willing to restart the factory's production would emerge.

Congress has had its day with Solyndra, although the CEO and CFO are not out of the hot seat. Steve Chu has been compelled to testify and he held his ground on the loan guarantee decision-making process. Jonathan Silver has left his post as head of the DOE loan guarantee program. The impropriety surrounding executive bonuses at the firm has been revealed. Songs have been composed.

I'd differ with Wesoff's characterization that "Steve… held his ground on the loan guarantee decision-making process." Maybe Wesoff's standard for holding ground is lower than mine, but Chu failed to explain how the original Solyndra loan guarantee decision got made just weeks after Energy Department lifers had vetoed it; why Energy gave the company's officers an outrageous loan restructuring earlier this year; why the restructuring was not vetted by a Justice Department that is itself hardly an island fortress of disinterest from Obama Administration politics, and so on. These are serious matters and Solyndra is a costly, serious abuse. 

But I don't really disagree that Solyndra has exhausted a radioactive half-life. (There's more radiation on the sun than there was at Three Mile Island, people!) The fact that there is bi-partisan – or is it transpartisan? – support for this kind of waste should make the story that much more maddening. But within the Republocrat consensus it's considered a mitigating circumstance. 

The Republicans' Inspector Clouseau routine with Chu left little hope that we're going to get an aggressive investigation in this era of collegiality. And that's not counting the shameless behavior of Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colorado) and Henry Waxman (D-California), who began the Solyndra scandal making public-spirited noises but ended up running interference for the president. 

I'm still hoping for a Rhambo subpoena. Like Evel Knievel and the Blessed Virgin Mary, I reserve the right to announce my last appearance on earth and then continue making appearances. But Solyndra does seem to be passing into the afterlife with Hillary Clinton's statistically improbable cattle futures gains and Halliburton's no-bid Iraq contracts: mysteries that fade not because they've been solved but because corruption is the fuel of effective politics.  

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  1. Well, we have honest politicians; they *stay* bought.

  2. Ditto Fast and Furious. Holder’s still got a job.

    1. This close to an election, Holder couldn’t resign if he wanted to.

  3. It’s just not fair!
    I hung on every twist and turn of Whitewatergate.

  4. The way the US flag is positioned in the photo, it kinda looks like a dunce cap on BHO’s head.

    1. And it’s appropriate that he’s pointing to what’s obviously a set of jail bars.

    2. Which is a refreshing change from all the goddamn “halos” that sycophantic press photographers keep framing his head with.

  5. People were drawing the wrong lessons from this anyway.

    The lesson to take away from Solyndra wasn’t about corruption. It was about how the Obama Administration’s new flavor of central planning–some allegedly new form of public “investment”, I guess?–sucks for the same reasons as the old flavor of central…

    It’s amazing it went this far. Why would Congress want to do a thorough investigation of something that demonstrates little more than their own incompetence when it comes to “investing” our money?

    …when most of them get reelected every term by telling their constituents that they’re really good at that!

    1. “Why would Congress want to do a thorough investigation of something that demonstrates little more than their own incompetence when it comes to “investing” our money?”

      Have to agree. There was one congress critter (from memory) who raised the issue of whether the government should be ‘investing’ taxpayer money at all. And (from memory), that got nowhere.
      Questioning *that* would mean questioning the ability of each one of those blood-suckers to recycle campaign contributions back to the contributors.
      Can’t have that!

      1. Campaign Contributor X: “Hi Representative Smith…saw you on TV the other night talking ’bout how the government shouldn’t be in cahoots with private enterprise? You sounded like a crusader!

        So, why are you calling?”

        Representative Smith: “I can has campaign contribution?”

        Campaign Contributor X: *muffled guffaws*

  6. That makes a lot of sense dude, Very cool indeed. I like the sound of thaqt.

    1. Is it bad that I’m glad to see anon-bot again?

      1. Compared to vermin shit? Not on your life!

  7. So the single positive feature of partisanship–that both sides are always looking to bring down people on the other TEAM, and therefore taking politicians out with scandals–is totally useless here because both TEAMs are so corrupt and deep in green energy scams.

    This was a half billion dollar straight up in your face graft scam, and no government heads will roll for it.

    Is it any wonder this stuff just keeps getting worse and bigger? Why not, if no one ever gets punished for it?

    1. Exactly, but I don’t think it’s confined to greenscams. I’ll give you as much taxpayer money that you want. Pay yourself huge salaries and give me lucrative kickbacks, and than declare bankruptcy.That’s straight out of The Sopranos.

  8. Just an interesting note: I am in China on business again and I experienced a canceled domestic flight yesterday. The stated reason was “bad weather” but I found out a little bit ago that an unannounced satellite launch took place within about 70 miles from my destination airport…which was closed due to “bad weather.” At least when NASA launches a satellite, they announce the Special Use Airspace fairly well in advance, even if it’s a military launch.

    Strange that there are such things as “unannounced” launches in this day and age. Although I’ve heard that up to 30% of domestic flights in China get canceled daily due to unknown factors, this one would have been completely avoidable had the airlines simply been told not to schedule this flight at that time.

      1. The bad weather was very localised. *shifty eyes*

    1. Me Chinese
      Me play joke
      Me put Poo-Poo
      In your Coke

      1. ror

      2. Pathetic.

        1. My cunt sure is itchy.

    2. I am in China on business again and I experienced a canceled domestic flight yesterday. The stated reason was “bad weather”

      While in China say, three years ago, as soon as a TV news-reader mentioned “Tibet”, somehow the channel had ‘technical difficulties’.
      And it was interesting that you could set the hotel AC at any temperature you pleased, and still got an output that felt suspiciously like, oh, 75*.
      Is it Friedman who constantly puffs China? Well, fuck him.
      I’m glad to be able to go there, and glad several million people are not starving anymore, but fuck him and the ChiCom government.

  9. Meh. Half a billion is chump change, anyway. That taxpayer dough would have found its way to Democratic campaign coffers one way or t’other.

  10. I gotta give you props for following this story Tim, despite the near-certain knowledge that no one would ever hold the Obama administration responsible for its shenanigans.

    1. Libertarians:

      Beating our heads against the wall since 1970.

      1. Yeah, but that still puts us way ahead of the alternatives, who have been beating other peoples heads against walls for the past 200+ years.

  11. Give U.S. women more money for their work than market value or you are responsible for every rape in the world:…..smantle-it

    Wall Street’s war against women has created 21 million impoverished women in the US, a 500% increase in the number of jailed women, 3?4 of whom have children, and has resulted in 43% of the nation’s children living in households on the brink of impoverishment, with 15 million children in actual poverty. That single women with no dependents are 26% of all poor women shows the all-encompassing War against Women launched by Wall Street.

    This denigration of women’s worth has translated into the impunity with which women are physically and sexually assaulted. More than 200,000 women suffer attempted/completed rapes each year, with women aged 24 and under suffering the highest rates of assault. Domestic violence correlates directly to families’ income level with women in the lowest income category being six times more vulnerable to physical violence. Wives comprise 81% of all persons killed by spouses.

    Why do they insist on linking every damn thing they want to rape?

    1. Every time my wife’s friends try to say that women are underpaid I tell them that if it was really cheaper to employ a woman over a man, men wouldn’t have jobs. You know cause illegal immigrants coming over here take all these jobs cause they are willing to work for less but the same principal doesn’t apply to them cause they have American vaginas.

      And I call total bullshit on those statistics.

  12. As a subscriber to Industrial Lift & Hoist, I’d guess that “our” “investment” in that photogenic little handler-bot at stage right wiped out the lifetime tax “contributions” of a couple dozen median citizens.

    Take that, unrepresented statistical entities.

  13. What’s wrong with bipartisan green pork?

    1. It’s no D?ner Kebab

  14. Move along. Nothing to see here.

  15. The thing about Chu’s testimony that still kills me is that he said he didn’t know that the Bush administration had turned down the loan.

    It’s illegal to lie during testimony, right?

    Ha ha! Jokes on me I guess.

  16. It’s a very tragic photograph, in my view — you’ve got a vile, petty tyrant that most of our neighbors voted for, Old Glory in his shadow, and an item symbolizing theft and failure next to them.

    As somebody said above, if nobody in the federal government has been punished for providing narco-terrorists with weaponry and being accessory to what may already be deaths in the thousands (let’s hope not), how the hell can we expect a few million dollars of wasted taxpayer dollars to mean shit to anybody with the power and the clout to punish these assholes?

    It’s not going to happen. Government is God.

    1. Shit, even “all government programs are basically good” guy John Stewart was straight up outraged by Solyndra. But Steven Chu doesn’t even get fired.

      1. Note that as far as I know John Stewart has never said that, but that is my impression of him.

  17. Have to agree. There was one congress critter (from memory) who raised the issue of whether the government should be ‘investing’ taxpayer money at all.

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