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Another Scandal In The Making…

- December 10, 2015

Today, Clinton Is Cashing In With A Central Figure In The Obama Administration's Solyndra Scandal

TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • Today, Hillary Clinton will attend a fundraiser at the home of Tulsa businessman and Democrat fundraiser George Kaiser.
  • Kaiser's private equity firm was the largest shareholder in green energy company Solyndra, whose 2011 bankruptcy cost taxpayers over $500 million and left nearly 2,000 people out of work.
  • The Department of Energy's Inspector General earlier this year found the company misrepresented key facts about the loan guarantee, as company officials acted at best "reckless" and "irresponsible," orchestrating an "effort to knowingly and intentionally deceive and mislead the department."

On December 11, 2015, Hillary Clinton Will Attend A "Conversation With Hillary" At The Home Of Cookie And George Kaiser In Tulsa, Oklahoma. ("Conversation With Hillary," Hillary For America, Accessed 12/6/15)

George Kaiser Was The Chief Financial Backer Of Solyndra, Which Received A $535 Million Energy Loan Guarantee From Obama's Department Of Energy. "The Obama administration rushed a $535 million energy loan guarantee through to Solyndra Inc. and in doing so skipped steps, potentially putting taxpayers at risk, according to iWatch News and ABC News. In March 2009, the Department of Energy announced the loan guarantee before it received final outside legal reviews. Not only did the rushed process make taxpayers susceptible, but it also gives the perception that the program was influenced by political interests, said Franklin Rusco, an analyst with the Government Accountability Office. Solyndra's main financial backers include George Kaiser, an Oklahoma oil billionaire who raised at least $50,000 for Obama's 2008 campaign." ("DOE: Loan Guarantees Rushed To Companies With White House Ties," Greenwire, 5/25/11)

  • Kaiser Also Runs Argonaut Private Equity Firm, Which Was The Largest Shareholder Of Solyndra. "Among the key backers of the $198 million raised: Oklahoma oilman Kaiser's Argonaut Private Equity, as well as Madrone Capital Partners, a private investment firm affiliated with S. Robson Walton, chairman of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Kaiser's Argonaut Private Equity and its affiliates were the largest shareholder of Solyndra as it pushed for the IPO. Kaiser's firm remains a 'significant financial backer of Solyndra,' Solyndra spokesman David Miller confirmed." (Ronnie Greene and Matthew Mosk, "Skipping Safeguards, Officials Rushed Benefit To A Politically-Connected Energy Company," The Center For Public Integrity , 5/24/11)

CLINTON SPOKE IN SUPPORT OF SOLYNDRA IN 2011 AS SECRETARY OF STATE

Clinton Praised Solyndra An Example Of American Entrepreneurship And Innovation In A 2011 Speech In Hong Kong. CLINTON: "And today they are helping power companies like Solyndra, a green energy startup in California that began producing solar panels in 2007 and now installs them in more than 20 countries worldwide." (Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton, Remarks By Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton: Principles Prosperity In The Asia Pacific , Hong Kong, 7/25/11)

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Clinton Is Also Linked To Kaiser Through Their Family Foundations

George B. Kaiser Has Donated Between $100,001 And $250,000 To The Clinton Foundation. (Clinton Foundation Donors, Accessed 12/6/15)

In March 2014, Kaiser Appeared With Hillary Clinton At A Clinton Foundation Event To Kickoff A "Too Small To Fail" Initiative, Where The George Kaiser Family Foundation Was A Partner. "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be in Tulsa with local billionaire philanthropist George Kaiser on Monday to announce the kickoff of the "Talking is Teaching" campaign, a partnership with the Too Small to Fail Initiative aimed at helping parents and caregivers of children ages birth to 5 prepare for success. The partnership is a communitywide effort by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, CAP Tulsa, Tulsa Educare and Too Small to Fail - a joint initiative of Next Generation and the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation - to empower parents and caregivers to boost the brain development and vocabularies of young children by increasing the number of words they hear spoken to them each day." (Mike Averill, "Hillary Clinton Coming To Tulsa To Help Announce New Education Campaign," Tulsa World , 3/22/14)

  • At The Appearance, Clinton Thanked Kaiser And His Foundation For The Commitment To Early Childhood Education, Saying, Of Kaiser, "He Knows It Is Never Too Early To Invest In The Next Generation." "Clinton and billionaire philanthropist George Kaiser spent time with a group of children at the Educare No. 2 site, reading and singing along to 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game.' Clinton later thanked Kaiser and the George Kaiser Family Foundation for their commitment to early childhood education and for creating a model for the rest of the country. 'He knows it is never too early to invest in the next generation,' Clinton said. 'You can't ever give up on any child, and the earlier you start the less likely it will be that you are even facing that difficult situation.'" (Mike Averill, "Hillary Clinton Touts New Child-Development Initiative During Tulsa Visit," Tulsa World , 3/25/14)

SOLYNDRA'S BANKRUPTCY COST TAXPAYERS OVER $500 MILLION DOLLARS AND PUT NEARLY 2,000 PEOPLE OUT OF WORK

Solyndra Received A Major Loan From The Obama Administration But Went Bankrupt In 2011, Leading To An Investigation By The Department Of Energy's Inspector General. Solyndra collapsed two years after it received its first U.S. loan in 2009. Its September 2011 bankruptcy led to an investigation by congressional Republicans and withering criticism of the loan guarantee program, which had been funded by the 2009 economic stimulus program. It's failure became an issue in the 2012 presidential campaign. The Justice Department also investigated the handling of the Solyndra loan, but the inspector general was notified early this year that no criminal charges would be filed, according to the report. (Jim Snyder, "Solyndra May Have Lied To Get Loan Guarantee, Watchdog Says," Bloomberg Politics , 9/26/15)

1,861 Workers Were Laid Off By Solyndra As It Went Bankrupt. "Since September 1, 2010 (impact date), an estimate 1,861 workers have been separated from the firm. This total includes an estimated 649 temporary workers as well as leased workers from West Valley, Aerotek, Oxford Global, GES and Lighthouse Management. Most of these separations occurred at the time of the shut-down of the Fremont, CA facility on August 31, 2011. An additional 85 workers are threatened with separation as the company's operations wind down." (Employment And Training Administration, "Investigative Report TA-W-80,410; Solyndra LLC," Department Of Labor, 9/12/11)

The Government Recovered Only $24 Million Of The $527 Million Loaned To Solyndra. "Last week, Solyndra's final liquidation plan estimated that the government will recover just $24 million of the $527 million that taxpayers lent to the company." (Joe Stephens and Carol D. Leoning, "White House Analyst Warned Saving Solyndra Could Cost More Than Letting It Fail," The Washington Post , 8/1/12)

A Recent Inspector General (IG) Report Found That Solyndra "Misrepresented Facts And Omitted Key Information" In Swindling Taxpayers Out Of $500 Million

The Energy Department IG Has Found That Solyndra "Misrepresented Facts And Omitted Key Information In Their Efforts To Get A $535 Million Loan Guarantee From The Federal Government." "A four-year investigation has concluded that officials of the solar company Solyndra misrepresented facts and omitted key information in their efforts to get a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government." (Kevin Freking, "Report: Solyndra Misrepresented Fact To Get Loan Guarantee," The Associated Press, 8/26/15)

The Report Showed That The Department Of Energy's Due Diligence Was "Less Than Fully Effective," And That They Felt "Tremendous Pressure" To Approve The Loan Applications. "The report by the Energy Department's inspector general was released Wednesday. It's designed to provide federal officials with lessons learned as it proceeds to grant billions of dollars in additional loan guarantees. The inspector general found fault with the Department of Energy, describing its due diligence work as 'less than fully effective.' The report also said department employees felt tremendous pressure to process loan guarantee applications." (Kevin Freking, "Report: Solyndra Misrepresented Fact To Get Loan Guarantee," The Associated Press, 8/26/15)

Solyndra Officials Acted At Best "Reckless" And "Irresponsible," Orchestrating An "Effort To Knowingly and Intentionally Deceive And Mislead The Department." "In the end, however, the inspector general said the actions of the Solyndra officials 'were at the heart of this matter.' 'In our view, the investigative record suggests that the actions of certain Solyndra officials were, at best, reckless and irresponsible or, at worst, an orchestrated effort to knowingly and intentionally deceive and mislead the department,' the IG's report said." (Kevin Freking, "Report: Solyndra Misrepresented Fact To Get Loan Guarantee," The Associated Press, 8/26/15)

The IG Report Stated That The Solyndra's Failure Will "Cost Taxpayers More Than $500 Million." "The company's collapse soon after getting federal backing provided ammunition to lawmakers and other critics who portrayed it as wasteful government spending. The company's failure likely will cost taxpayers more than $500 million." (Kevin Freking, "Report: Solyndra Misrepresented Fact To Get Loan Guarantee," The Associated Press, 8/26/15)

Emails Released After Solyndra's Bankruptcy "Directly Contradict" Kaiser's Denial Of Talking About Solyndra With The White House

In Response To Criticism, The George Kaiser Family Foundation Denied Participating In Any Discussions With The U.S. Government Regarding Securing A Loan For Solyndra. "A top donor to President Obama did not use political influence or talk to administration officials about a massive government loan to a solar company backed by his investment funds, according to a statement issued by his family foundation. The foundation of Tulsa billionaire George Kaiser said it took a hit like other investors in Solyndra, which this week closed its plant and laid off 1,100 workers. The California-based solar-panel manufacturer won a $535 million government-backed loan to spur innovation in clean energy, but taxpayers may have to repay it. In a statement on Thursday, the George Kaiser Family Foundation said Kaiser, a major fundraising bundler for Obama, is not personally invested in Solyndra and 'did not participate in any discussions with the U.S. Government regarding the loan.' The statement came as House Republicans vowed to more fully investigate the extent of White House involvement in the federal backing for Solyndra. They said they have found evidence that the White House tracked the company's application, and that officials weighing its proposal knew of the White House's interest." (Carol Leonnig and Joe Stephens, "Top Obama Donor George Kaiser Says He Didn't Play Politics To Win Government Loan," The Washington Post , 9/2/11)

But In A February 2010 Email, Kaiser Expressed Concerns Over How His Role Raising Money For Obama Would Look As Long As Solyndra Is "Still The Only Recipient" Of The Loan Guarantee Program. "In a Feb. 7, 2010, email exchange, Kaiser fretted to Levit about how his role raising money for Obama would look to the outside world as the focus stayed on Solyndra. 'S'pose an investigative reporter will ever make an association between an early Obama supporter and majority shareholder (through 'his' charity) in the entity that received one half billion (or two total billion) dollar LOAN guarantee(s)?' he wrote. 'Solyndra is still the only recipient through that program.' Levit replied: 'I've wondered about it, given the WH lists, etc. The truth is that the name of the company has never crossed your lips with the administration (not so with Congress) and we've certainly never lobbied for the company.'" (Darren Samuelsohn, "New Solyndra Emails Fuel Controversy," Politico, 11/9/11)

 


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