Does Febreze Work on Political Scandals?

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on September 19, 2011

I ask because Solyndra is yielding up some tremendously stinky facts:

Reporting from Washington and Los Angeles— The White House faced mounting political complications as a second top fundraiser for President Obama was linked to a federal loan guarantee program that backed a now-bankrupt Silicon Valley solar energy company, and as two California lawmakers called for investigations of a state tax break granted to the firm.

Steve Spinner, who helped monitor the Energy Department’s issuance of $25 billion in government loan guarantees to renewable energy projects, was one of Obama’s top fundraisers in 2008 and is raising money for the president’s 2012 reelection campaign.

Spinner did not have any role in the selection of applicants for the loan program and, in fact, was recused from the decision to grant a $535-million loan guarantee to Solyndra Inc. because his wife’s law firm represented the company, administration officials said Friday.

But Spinner’s role as a top official in the Energy Department program, which had not been previously revealed, is likely to spur new inquiries into whether political influence played a role in the handling of the “green” energy fund. Solyndra faces a congressional probe, a criminal investigation and separate internal inquiries at the Energy and Treasury departments.

“This will fuel more questions, and now you’ve got real people involved at the inspector-general level who will be turning over chairs and cabinets, asking questions,” said Stanley Brand, a criminal defense and ethics lawyer in Washington who has served as general counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives.

[. . .]

Spinner, who left the department a year ago, remains an enthusiastic proponent of the loan guarantees. In an op-ed he co-wrote on the blog ThinkProgress on July 13, he urged Congress to appropriate more money to the effort, calling it “an outright success.”

“Even the most controversial loan guarantee recipient — Solyndra, a solar manufacturer — is seeing an operational turnaround,” he wrote with Richard Caperton, a senior policy analyst at Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank where Spinner is a senior fellow. He did not disclose in the piece that he had played a role in the program.

The story notes that there is no evidence that laws were broken, which is about the only nice thing that can be said about this entire scandal. But there is plenty to justify tough questions everyday for Jay Carney. And how about some tough questions for–and answers from–the President himself?

Previous post:

Next post: