White House officials knew that the now-bankrupt Solyndra green energy company was a huge risk to the taxpayer, but the loan was pushed along anyway, according to newly obtained emails.
Despite Office of Management and Budget (OMB) concerns raised in the emails from 2009 about Solyndra's faulty business model, and the fact that Solyndra told the White House earlier this year it would fail without a massive infusion of taxpayer dollars, the Obama administration moved the deal along.
The Washington Post reported today on the new e-mails released by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Investigations that show some eyebrow-raising calculations behind a large chunk of the $500 million taxpayer dollar loan guarantee that was handed to the failing solar company.
While the Department of Energy was deciding on a $67 million installment of the Solyndra loan, one politically astute civil servant wrote on January 31 that:
“The optics of a Solyndra default will be bad... if Solyndra defaults down the road, the optics will be arguably worse later than they would be today.. . . in addition, the timing will likely coincide with the 2012 campaign season heating up.”
The OMB aide also thought that senior administration figures should be warned about Solyndra and wrote in another email to a co-worker that “although [political] optics are generally out of our lane, it may be worthwhile for the Director to privately make this point to the Secretary.”
So an OMB civil servant knew Solyndra could become a major political liability because it was almost certain to fail. But did the rest of the White House know?
Damien LaVera, an Energy Department spokesman, has defended the administration's handling of Solyndra despite the emails released by Congressional investigators.
LaVera said that “If anything, this e-mail is yet another piece of evidence that political or optical considerations took a back seat to putting the company and its workers in a better position to succeed and repay the loan.”
The White House has admitted its officials pushed for an expedited decision on the loan guarantee, but still claim that the date of a White House press event "did not drive" the process.
It has become clear the White House was probably warned of the Solyndra loan risks at senior levels and went ahead anyway. GOP Representatives Fred Upton of Michigan and Cliff Stearns of Florida summarized the Solyndra scandal in a joint statement published yesterday: 'We've smelled a rat from the outset.'
Given the current criminal FBI investigation underway and Congressional scrutiny, the evidence is already mounting. Earlier in the week, the Blaze reported on emails ABC News obtained from White House budget analysts that show the West Wing closely monitored the Solyndra loan and was well-aware of the flawed numbers behind it.
Watch this ABC News video for more details on those emails:
On Solyndra-gate, it appears more with each passing day we may be left with only two options left to explain the White House's actions: gross negligence or rank corruption.