The latest round of Solyndra-related emails has a little bit of everything. There’s an ethics question, quickly kicked aside.
The e-mails also show that the Department of Energy was told by the Treasury Department that its refinancing arrangement for the Solyndra loan in early 2011 might be improper and should be cleared with the Department of Justice.
The refinancing came after Solyndra executives confided to DOE officials in late 2010 that the company would go under without emergency cash infusion. Energy Secretary Steven Chu approved a deal allowing a refinancing and allowed investors who put in additional cash to be repaid before taxpayers if the company failed. An assistant Treasury secretary said her agency warned DOE that its lawyers believe the law prohibited putting taxpayers behind any other creditor.
Eh, we’re Team Obama, which is the next best thing to being the 12 Apostles or something. Who needs laws?
There’s…yet another ethical problem, involving a guy named Spinner. Write your own jokes.
The records also show that a senior DOE adviser who had recused himself for working directly on Solyndra’s loan due to an ethical conflict, was actively promoting the company prior to it winning final approval on its loan.
Steve Spinner, a DOE loan program adviser who had served as an Obama fundraiser in 2008, was married to a partner at the law firm of Wilson Sonsini, which was representing Solyndra in its loan application. He had signed an ethics agreement in which he said he would not engage in negotiations about the loan or loan terms for the company.
Yet throughout Solyndra’s loan process, Spinner worked hard to defend the company from criticisms inside the government, including questions from climate czar Carol Browner’s office. He pushed to get a final decision on approving the loan in August.
“How [expletive] hard is this?” Spinner wrote on Aug. 28 to an another department official. “What is he waiting for? Will we have it by the end of the day?”
And then there’s the crumb trail leading to the White House and the vice president.
The administration was working to arrange a way for Obama to headline a news conference in early September to announce that Solyndra of Fremont, Calif., had won a $535 million government loan to spur clean energy firms — the first his administration had provided.
“Ron said this morning that the POTUS definitely wants to do this (or Rahm definitely wants the POTUS to do this?),” one White House staffer told an Obama scheduler on Aug. 17, 2009, referring to Ron Klain, former chief of staff for Vice President Joe Biden.
How to dodge all this, besides having the head of the DOE loan program involved, resign, and keep dumping the bad news out on Friday? Rahm is already off sharpening up his Chicago Way. Spinner is obviously going to be spun right out of a job before long. The email chain goes to Klain, who as chief of staff to Biden will have to be asked to explain how much he told his boss, the vice president.
It’s probably worth getting Rahmbo under oath too.