Excerpts from The Washington Post: “White House staff discussed in emails that either President Obama or his former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel were eager to help spotlight a solar company in early 2009, despite numerous internal warnings that the company could be financially unstable, according to new e-mails.
“The administration was working to arrange a way for Obama to headline a press conference in early September to announce that Solyndra of Fremont, Ca. had won a $535 million government loan to spur clean energy firms — the first his administration had provided.
“‘Ron said this morning that the POTUS definitely wants to do this (or Rahm definitely wants the POTUS to do this?),’ one White House staffer told an Obama scheduler on Aug. 17, 2009.
“Administration officials stress that Emanuel was always interested in how to showcase the administration’s effort to create jobs with stimulus funds.
“The correspondence suggests that, at the most senior levels and down the chain, the fledgling Obama administration had significant interest in using the loan to highlight progress under the Recovery Act. The e-mails were produced as part of a congressional probe and provided by a government source Friday.
“The emails also show that the Department of Energy was told by the Treasury Deparment its refinancing arrangement for the Solyndra loan in early 2011 might be improper and should be cleared with the Department of Justice.
“The administration had previously tried to arrange a way for the president to favor Solyndra with a high-profile visit. Those discussions kicked off in earnest in March 2009, after the Energy Department conditionally approved the loan to the solar startup.
“Republican lawmakers claim the company won so much attention and favor because its lead investor was a fund tied to George Kaiser, one of Obama’s most prolific fundraisers.
“An administration official said Friday that the new emails show high interest in Solyndra, and missed warning signs early on about the company’s prospects. But they do not, he said, show that the loan involved political favors.”
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Excerpts from ABC News and iWATCH News: “An elite Obama fundraiser hired to help oversee the administration's energy loan program pushed and prodded career Department of Energy officials to move faster in approving a loan guarantee for Solyndra, even as his wife's law firm was representing the California solar company, according to internal emails made public late Friday.
"‘How hard is this? What is he waiting for?’ wrote Steven J. Spinner, a high-tech consultant and energy investor who raised at least $500,000 for the candidate before being appointed to a key job helping oversee the energy loan guarantee program. ‘I have OVP [the Office of the Vice President] and WH [the White House] breathing down my neck on this…’
“The White House appears to be bracing for the political fallout -- one high ranking energy official in the White House warns shortly before Solyndra's bankruptcy, on Aug. 26, that what's coming is a ‘s___ show" and ‘a mess.’
“He also corresponds with career Department of Energy loan officials who are making the final decisions on the Solyndra loan. In one instance, he writes, ‘Hopefully, this might spur [the Office of Management and Budget] a little faster to help the closing.’
“‘The emails occurred less than two weeks after Spinner received a three-page ethics agreement in which he pledges he will "not participate in any discussion regarding any application involving [his wife's law firm] Wilson [Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati].’
“Recovery Act records show Allison Spinner's law firm, Wilson Sonsini, received $2.4 million in federal funds for legal fees related to the $535 million Energy Department loan guarantee to Solyndra. That ethics agreement said his wife would forgo pay ‘earned as a result of its representation of applicants in programs within your official duties.’
“Spinner took steps to further disclose his potential conflicts in an email dated Sept. 23, 2009, after the Solyndra loan had closed, and the formal announcement involving Vice President Biden and others took place. In the email, also made public Friday, Spinner wrote ‘I will recuse myself from any active participation in any of these applications.’ Among those he listed was Solyndra's.
“An executive from a company competing against Solyndra for federal loan money asked wryly in February of 2009 if the loan program ‘is suitable as a 'bail out' program for failing private manufacturers’ given Solyndra's ‘failure to secure new investors.’ That warning came one month before Energy Secretary Steve Chu announced DOE's commitment to back the solar panel firm.
“There also appeared to be objections from the Department of Treasury to the Department of Energy's decision, in early 2011, to restructure the Solyndra loan -- a restructuring that gave private investors the first opportunity to recoup some of their losses should the company fail…
“Shortly before the company declared bankruptcy, a top Treasury official wrote to the White House to make clear that the decision to restructure the deal did not have Treasury or Justice Department approval…”
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