Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Solyndra: The latest Friday Night Document Dump

If nothing else, I'll say I'm slightly surprised at the degree to which the mainstream media - Washington Post and ABC - is covering the Solyndra scandal. The latest news involves a Friday night document dump that shows someone by the name of Steve Spinner may have had a significant conflict of interest at a time when he was leaning hard on the Office of Management and Budget as a 'stimulus adviser' for the Department of Energy (DOE). It looks like he was applying pressure to OMB at the behest of the White House. The conflict of interest? His wife worked for Wilson Sonsini, the law firm retained by Solyndra to represent the company during its application for the loan. Spinner apparently did not recuse himself until after he was done with the heavy lifting.

The records provided Friday by a government source also show that an Energy Department stimulus adviser, Steve Spinner, pushed for Solyndra’s loan despite having recused himself because his wife’s law firm did work for the company. Spinner, who left the agency in September 2010, did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

The documents offer new evidence of wide disagreement between officials at the Energy Department and officials at the Treasury Department and Office of Management and Budget, where questions were raised about the carefulness of the loan vetting process used to select Solyndra and the special help it was given as its finances deteriorated. Energy Department officials continued to make loan payments to the company even after it had defaulted on the terms of its loan.

The Solyndra controversy has escalated with each new release of documents to a Republican-led House energy subcommittee investigating the matter. President Obama defended the Energy Department in a news conference Thursday, saying its decisions were made by career professionals. Also Thursday, the head of the embattled loan program announced that he would step down, although Energy Department officials said he was not doing so because of the Solyndra matter.

As Republican committee leaders moved to get more information about warnings from Treasury and the OMB, an Energy spokesman, Damien LaVera, said agency officials had listened to Treasury’s advice to consult the Justice Department on the loan restructuring but felt it was appropriate to move forward.

“Ultimately, DOE’s determination that the restructuring was legal was made by career lawyers in the loan program based on a careful analysis of the statute,” he said.
I found it interesting that exactly one week after the White House released documents that made Attorney General Eric Holder look very bad relative to his role in Fast and Furious, another document dump takes place that looks DOJ look pretty good while making the White House look conspicuously bad.
The e-mails show that Mary Miller, an assistant Treasury secretary, wrote to Jeffrey D. Zients, deputy OMB director, expressing concern. She said that the deal could violate federal law because it put investors’ interests ahead of taxpayers’ and that she had advised that it should be reviewed by the Justice Department.

“To our knowledge that never happened,” Miller wrote in a Aug. 17, 2011, memo to the OMB.
Not saying there's anything conspiratorial at work here but it is interesting that last week, DOJ looks very bad after the Fast and Furious Friday night dump and this week, it's the White House that looks bad while DOJ is portrayed as the entity that attempted to do everything above board.

Earlier this year, Solyndra appeared to double down on its shady behavior when it solicited the investment of Obama donor George Kaiser, who apparently demanded access to Solyndra assets before taxpayers already on the hook, if bankruptcy ensued. In essence, the loan you and I are responsible for granting to Solyndra was subordinated to Kaiser's loan.

There's more. Remember last month when Rahm Emanuel told WLS radio in Chicago that he didn't 'remember' or 'know' anything about Solyndra? That assertion isn't supported by the facts:
In an Aug. 19, 2009, e-mail, an aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel asked Spinner if he could discuss any concerns among the investment community about Solyndra.

Spinner dismissed the idea that Solyndra had financial problems.

“I haven’t heard anything negative on my side,” he said.

A day after a discussion about possible problems at Solyndra, Spinner forwarded to the chief of staff’s aide a list of Solyndra’s main investors and attached a published profile of Kaiser.
As if you needed another reason to think less of Rahm Emanuel.

Read it all.

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