The Solyndra implosion has taken center stage as one of the the biggest scandals facing an already-embattled Obama administration. But a video has emerged that shows that the owner of the foundation that made the biggest private investment in Solyndra viewed the stimulus program as basically a spoils system-- one which he planned to take full advantage of for a variety of pet projects.
The revelation comes as Solyndra's two top executives announced Tuesday they would exercise their Fifth Amendment rights before a Congressional hearing this Friday. In advance of that exchange (or lack of one), it is worth watching a video in which billionaire and Obama fundraiser George Kaiser shared his opinion about the stimulus that eventually gave Solyndra its taxpayer windfall.
Back in 2009, Kaiser said in reference to his foundation's efforts to acquire stimulus money:
"There has never been more money shoved out the government's door in world history, and probably never will be again than in the last few months and the next 18 months. Our selfish and parochial goal is to get as much of that money for Tulsa, and Oklahoma, as we possibly can."
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The video could enhance the impression that Kaiser believed the stimulus was basically just a massive government cash cow. Was Kaiser's foundation, through Argonaut LLC, just a tool in that process?
Argonaut, the venture capital arm of the Kaiser foundation, invested $335 million and owned 35% of Solyndra before it collapsed. Under the current deal, Argonaut will get its money back before the government, despite DOE loan regulations that should place the government as the first creditor in line.
In the case of Solyndra, at least Kaiser's analysis proved accurate. The Department of Energy did throw money out the door, into the hands of Solyndra and its politically-connected investors, while the taxpayers have been saddled with the tab.