New evidence is emerging that suggests the Obama white house may known about dire financial situation at Solyndra well in advance of it’s collapse.
Officials from the Department of Energy have for months been sitting in on board meetings as “observers” at Solyndra, getting an up-close view as the solar energy company careened towards bankruptcy after spending more than $500 million in federal loan money.
Word of the Energy Department’s unusual arrangement came as federal agents on Thursday converged on the California headquarters of the failed solar company, focusing fresh attention on the first corporate beneficiary of President Obama’s stimulus program to create new clean energy jobs.
The company, which closed its doors last week and laid off 1,100 workers, has been a subject of an ongoing series of stories by the Center for Public Integrity’s iWatch News in collaboration with ABC News.
“The FBI is here this morning executing a search warrant,” Solyndra spokesman David Miller said Thursday. “We’ll cooperate with them and given them whatever they are looking for, but certainly it was a surprise,” Miller said. “I came to work this morning and they were here and I’ve been sorting it out.”
Remeber back on May 26, 2011, the White House posted this video praising Solyndra as a perfect example of green jobs and touted as a Recovery Act success story.
Feds Raid Homes of Solyndra CEO, Execs
Julie Sohn, a spokeswoman with the FBI in San Francisco, declined to discuss details of the raid or the government’s investigation. “Unfortunately, our affidavits are still sealed so we can’t go into any details,” Sohn said.
The raid and visits come amid increasing evidence the Justice Department and Inspector General are exploring whether Solyndra mislead the government in securing its $535 million loan in 2009 – and landing a vital refinancing of that loan earlier this year. Beginning in March, ABC News, in partnership with iWatch News/the Center for Public Integrity, was first to report on simmering questions about the role political influence may have played Solyndra’s selection as the Obama administration’s first loan guarantee recipient. One of the lead private investors in Solyndra was an Oklahoma billionaire who served as an Obama “bundler,” raising money during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Members of Congress leading a House investigation of the DOE loan have focused specifically on visits Solyndra CEO Harrison made to Washington in July, when he said the company was on sound footing and expanding.
Less than two months after that visit, Solyndra fired 1,100 workers and filed for bankruptcy – a stinging collapse for the Obama administration, which made the Solyndra loan a showpiece as its first investment in green energy technology.
Both Republican and Democrat leaders are questioning these executives:
“Less than two months ago, Mr. Harrison met with us and other Committee members to assure us that Solyndra was in a strong financial position and in no danger of failing,” Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colorado, and Henry Waxman, D-California, wrote to Republicans leading the investigation. “These assurances appear to contrast starkly with his company’s decision to file for bankruptcy last week.”
So the question remains: What Did the White House Know, and When Did They Know It?