In an apparent gesture of gratitude for the $535 million in loan guarantees that the Department of Energy provided to Solyndra, the solar panel maker and principal investor George Kaiser got together today and sent a fruit and cheese basket to the White House.
Bunny Whitmore, Assistant Under-Secretary to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, told Dreadmonger, “It is a really nice basket. It has those big giant Florida grapefruits and peaches that are the biggest I’ve ever seen. And the cheese is out of this world.”
Solyndra has been having a tough time of it lately. The firm announced last week that, despite the generosity of the DOE and the American taxpayer, it would be forced to lay off all 1100 of its employees, close its doors, and file for bankruptcy protection.
The White House-sponsered loan guarantee given to the solar panel maker was intended to create 1,000 full-time “green jobs” once Solyndra’s new plant was up and running. But intense competition from Chinese manufacturers proved too much for the California-based company.
The Obama administration promoted Solyndra as an example of the ability of “green technology” to create jobs. In his visit to the Solyndra’s new factory in 2010, the President said, “it is just a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism and the fact that we continue to have the best universities in the world, the best technology in the world, and most importantly the best workers in the world. And you guys all represent that. ”
Solyndra opened in 2005 and in 2009 received the Obama administration’s first energy loan guarantee. The $535 million was intended to mitigate the risk to venture capital firms that were funding the start-up. A major investor in Solyndra, George Kaiser, has been identified as a bundler for President Obama’s 2008 campaign, raising large amounts of cash for that effort.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee has been probing Solyndra’s loan guarantee and in July issued a subpoena to the White House Office of Management and Budget for documents relating to all Energy Department loan guarantees.
“This is really bad news,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.). “Half a billion dollars of taxpayer money and we may end up holding the bag. This is just a classic case of fraud and abuse and waste.”
Meanwhile, back at the White House, Bunny Whitmore was passing around samples from the fruit basket to members of the Press Secretary’s staff. “I must admit,” said Ms. Whitmore, “I don’t know who these Solyndra guys are but, I sure hope they remember us again at Christmas time.”
Dreadmonger will provide updates to this story as they become available.
- FBI raid on Solyndra may herald escalation of watchdog probe (sfgate.com)
- FBI Raids Bankrupt Solyndra as Lawmakers Question Finances (businessweek.com)
- Report: Obama White House Intervened To Get Loan For Questionable Solar Energy Firm (outsidethebeltway.com)