Once it became clear that the Solyndra story was about to break, the White House battened down the hatches:
Several key White House offices were involved with the Obama administration’s messaging plans and other preparations as the collapse of the taxpayer-backed solar company Solyndra was imminent, newly released documents show.
The latest White House documents delivered to House Republicans on Friday again highlight the extent to which senior administration officials braced for the fallout as Solyndra – a company President Obama had personally visited – was about to go under.
A White House memo that noted the danger of “imminent bankruptcy” at the end of August 2011 says, “OMB, DPC and NEC have been working with press and OLA to be prepared for this news to break.”
Acronym translation: OMB is the Office of Management and Budget, DPC is the Domestic Policy Council, NEC is the National Economic Council and OLA is the Office of Legal Affairs.
The document, an update on Solyndra’s $535 million Energy Department (DOE) loan guarantee, notes that $527 million had been disbursed and that DOE believed no more funds should be alloted.
The White House document notes that the Treasury Department, OMB and other White House offices agreed that no more money should be provided because there was a “near-zero chance” that the company could survive.
If only the Obama administration had realized earlier that the company would not have survived, perhaps $535 million could have been saved. I realize that this isn’t much money by Washington standards, but actual people living lives in the real world would beg to differ.
Meanwhile, the administration blames Solyndra’s collapse on Congress and the Chinese. No, that’s not a typo, but it is par for the course from an administration that is well versed in passing the buck:
Obama has previously argued that the Department of Energy program used to finance a $535 million federal loan guarantee to Solyndra “predates” his presidency.
That’s an exaggeration of the truth, according to FactCheck.org: “Solyndra’s loan guarantee came under another program created by the president’s 2009 stimulus for companies developing ‘commercially available technologies.’”
By way of reminder, let it be remembered that Paul Krugman thinks Solyndra does not constitute a scandal.