As the Ebola epidemic ravages West Africa, it has also wreaked havoc on the sanity of American citizens across the nation. Fear and loathing has crept in, especially in light of how the Obama administration has mishandled, and seems to be scrambling behind this deadly disease since it reached Dallas, Texas on September 20, 2014 –– and as of late, hit New York City.
This despite the fact that about two weeks prior to Ebola landing on American shores, President Obama had comforted our nation with the following statement that eventually made Chris Matthews, host of the talk show, Hardball, which airs on the left-wing channel MSNBC
First and foremost, I want the American people to know that our experts, here at the CDC and across our government, agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low. We’ve been taking the necessary precautions…
In its wake, the Ebola outbreak began raging through the midterm elections, even dominating the recent Sunday show circuit. But the astonishing moment came when the Left shamelessly started blaming the Ebola crisis on Republicans. This included an October 12 ad called “Republican Cuts Kill,” which was produced by the left-wing group, The Agenda Project.
According to Real Clear Politics, “[The] ad, featuring clips of Mitch McConnell, Pat Roberts, and many other Republicans implies that austerity cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health are responsible for the 2014 Ebola outbreak.” Meanwhile, Accuracy in Media took aim at this nonsense by exposing pertinent data on the topic, but also gave this counter:
The Washington Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler calls the arguments in this ad, and the similar strategy by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee of blaming Republicans for cuts, “absurd.” He bestows such claims with four Pinocchios.
Nevertheless, shortly after this ad hit the airwaves, during opening statements at the October 16 House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations hearing about the U.S. response to Ebola, “Democrats on the committee already seem to have identified one of the culprits.” Again, blaming the GOP.
One Democrat in particular that stood out was California Rep. Henry Waxman, pleading for “NO PANIC and NO POLITICS.” However, Waxman took to the stand by also blaming “funding cuts” for increasing the Ebola threat – even pointing his misinformed political finger at sequestration. Waxman said: “All of these were also subject to the sequestration. And those who allowed that sequestration to happen by closing the government have to answer to the American people as well.”
Clearly, Mr. Waxman doesn’t allow facts to enter in when attempting to score political points –– or maybe he didn’t get the memo. First, according to The Washington Examiner, “sequestration was already in place when the government shutdown of October 2013 began.” Second, the truth is that sequestration came straight from the Obama White House. Remember back in February 2013, when Bob Woodward said this: “Sequester was President Obama’s idea.” In fact, “It was Obama and Jack Lew and Rob Nabors who went to the Democratic Leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, and said, ‘this is the solution.'”
While I’ll leave the Center for Disease Control (CDC) bashing –– big bonus and all –– for my twitter page, such as the fact that CDC director Dr. Frieden, who was initially giving the Ebola Intel, reminded me of Baghdad Bob, the Iraqi Misinformation Minister, there is more to this Ebola story.
Now labeled “a toxic president” –– and not just because of this deadly disease –– but for the toxic scandals that have swarmed the Obama White House since the beginning of their reign. This ranges from the deadly; such as Fast & Furious, Benghazi, and the “Taliban Five Swap.” Then there’s the IRS targeting; ObamaCare lies; spying on the press; hacking inside reporters’ computers; as well as leaving the U.S. border open and in utter chaos –– even as the Obama administration “lurches from crisis to crisis.”
One last thing to consider is what Michael Goodwin of the New York Post wrote: “Don’t forget ‘shovel-ready jobs’ to justify a trillion-dollar boondoggle.” This is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which is known as “the stimulus bill” and was used to push and begin to pay for the Obama Regime’s deceptive and expensive clean-energy revolution that included $100 billion of taxpayer money.
Even so, Obama’s October 17th move is worthy of another Green Corruption File, because it leads to one of those Top Ten Obama Scandals. In the face of a massive medical emergency, the president appointed a “political hack as the Ebola Czar,” which is, by the way, a paid position. And, after skipping two White House meetings of the Ebola response team since his appointment, Ron Klain officially began on October 22, yet was missing in action until Wednesday when he “surfaced at an Ebola messaging event.”
This pick is best introduced by Derek Hunter in his Townhall.com piece entitled: “Ebola: Politics, Failure, And Opportunism:”
The appointment of Ron Klain as Ebola czar shows the president is more interested in appearing to take Ebola seriously than actually doing so. Klain is a Democratic Party operative, lawyer and former chief of staff to both Al Gore and Joe Biden who has zero medical background. On top of that, this vital new czar won’t be reporting directly to the president at all.
“Why in the hell did the president pick a lawyer to be the Ebola Czar?” is the million-dollar question posed by Representative Trey Gowdy as well as pundits, politicians and those citizens paying attention. Obviously, this was a political move. After all, there is an election right around the corner, and since the GOP has an edge in a tight race for Senate control, Democrats desperately need cover.
Even as the criticism rages on, there is more to share about Mr. Klain, starting with was noted by Power Line: “He was the “debate preparation advisor to Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, as well as Al Gore and John Kerry. Klain was General Counsel for the Gore Recount Committee in 2000.”
Klain’s long political pedigree also includes his role as a “long-time lobbyist,” which was documented by The Federalist Papers: “In January of 2011, Klain stepped down as chief of staff for Vice President Joe Biden. Before that, Ron Klain was a well-connected Washington lobbyist. According to Senate lobbying disclosure records, Klain’s clients included Fannie Mae, U.S. Airways, Time Warner, CIGNA, and Imclone.”
In addition, “Klain has remained a familiar presence at the White House, making roughly 75 visits there between January 2011, when he stepped down as Biden’s top aide, and June 2014, according to visitor logs,” wrote the Calgary Sun.
But that’s not all: Klain –– also a global warming alarmist –– was deeply involved in the Solyndra boondoggle. And just when you thought that the Obama Regime’s massive green energy scandal was dead….
Ancient news? Yes, but since the Solyndra scandal broke, it has been reported on in drips. What’s compelling is to see the story in its entirety. And, while the Solyndra tale would require an entire book to cover all
the dirty details, there are some key points, key players and additional
data pertinent to the cronyism and corruption surrounding it, that most
may have missed.
First, here is a quick timeline of some key dates on the Solyndra $535 million Energy Department’s deal that began as early as 2006 until it went down at the end of August 2011.
- 2006: Solyndra Loan-Review Process begins under the 2005 Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program created (as part of EPAct 2005), created by President Bush
- January 20, 2009: Obama administration takes office
- February 17, 2009: Under the Obama administration, Section 1705 Loan Guarantee Program created and financed by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)
- February to March 2009: DOE continues to negotiate terms/conditions with Solyndra
- March 2009: Those at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said about Solyndra, “[t]his deal is NOT ready for prime time”
- March 20, 2009: Energy Secretary Steven Chu announces the “offering” of the $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra, which came from the stimulus created 1705 Section
- August 7, 2009: Fitch assigned the Solyndra loan guarantee project, known as Solyndra Fab 2, LLC, a rating of “BB-,” which Fitch explained was “Speculative” under Fitch’s rating definitions
- September 4, 2009: Vice President Biden announces the finalization of Solyndra’s $535 million loan guarantee
- May 26, 2010: President Obama visited the California Solyndra plant, proclaiming: “The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra.”
- May 2010 to August 2001: Tons of things occurred…
- August 31, 2011: Solyndra goes bankrupt
Second, the Washington Free Beacon recently exposed Klain’s ties to a secret liberal dark money group via the Third Way, which is a progressive think tank, and where the head of the Energy Department’s loan program, Jonathan Silver, also went –– only for the “Ebola Czar to vanishes from Democracy Alliance website” shortly thereafter.
Additionally, the Beacon revealed that “Klain is also on the Board of Directors for the Center for American Progress [CAP] Action Fund.” Most know that CAP is the powerful left-wing think tank that has been closely aligned with the Obama White House as far back as the 2008 Obama-Biden Transition Team. “CAP Fellows” have held and continue to hold key positions inside the Obama administration.
This past May I unleashed a Green Corruption File on CAP as “the dark, driving force behind the president’s massive green energy scheme,” so today’s focus will be on the fact that Mr. Klain was a key player inside the Solyndra ordeal, which also includes additional CAP cohorts.
Moreover, since Solyndra began seeking a government loan in 2006, those on the Left have attempted to blame President Bush –– but what else is new. Obviously, Bush has been gone since January 2009, and it was the Obama administration that, via the February 2009-Stimulus Bill, created and financed Section 1705 of the loan program, which is where Solyndra got the cash.
If Solyndra was so worthy, than why do we find inside the August 2012 Energy and Commerce Committee Report, The Solyndra Failure, which gives an in-depth, chronological timeline and narrative of this shady deal (147 pages worth), that in early March 2009, those at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had this to say about Solyndra: “[t]his deal is NOT ready for prime time” [p. 31]?
This interaction was in response to those rushing the Solyndra loan for a presidential PR event [pp. 17 – 32], of which it seems that the DOE stimulus advisor, Matt Rogers, was at the helm and will be addressed later, but here is a clip:
On March 6, 2009, Mr. Rogers emailed Ronald Klain, Vice
President Biden’s Chief of Staff, and Rod O’Connor, Chief of Staff to
Secretary Chu, regarding the timetable for Solyndra’s application. In
that email, Mr. Rogers stated “we
are on track to have potus announce the first doe loan to solyndra a
thin film solar mfg in la on march 19, assuming their board approves the
terms this monday.
But the report also reveals the following [p. 31]:
The Solyndra board approved the terms of the Solyndra loan guarantee on March 19, 2009. As discussed above, DOE stimulus advisor, Mr. Rogers, emailed Mr. Klain to inform him of this event, and stated that the agreement was “setting us up for the first loan guarantee conditional commitment for the president’s visit to California on the 19th.” Mr. Klain then forwarded this email to OMB staff to ask their thoughts on the announcement. Mr. Nabors responded that “[w]e are working to get a legal read quickly,” and summarized the process for moving a conditional commitment through DOE, the OMB, and Treasury. In addition, Mr. Nabors asked Sally Ericsson, Associate Director of Natural Resources Programs at OMB, including the DOE Loan Guarantee Program, to “expedite the conversation” and noted that if he “need[s] to pull this off the track, its [sic] needs to be within the next few hours.” Ms. Ericsson responded that “[t]his deal is NOT ready for prime time,” and explained that OMB staff had yet to see the “the draft Term Sheet (or any of the negotiated terms), the independent engineer’s report, or the independent market assessment.”
At any event, the president’s “green Recovery-Act” photo op date changed to May 26, 2010, because as the emails show, Obama was traveling to a different part of California. However, despite not being ready for prime time, the loan-review process was rush, and the conditional commitment went forward when on March 20, 2009, then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu made a special announcement offering $535 million of taxpayer money to Solyndra.
And if this deal was based on merit, then why did Solyndra, on August 7, 2009, receive a non-investment grade by Fitch? Yet, even then, they moved forward to close the deal.
The August 2012 Solyndra Investigation [pp. 35 – 41], is where it’s discovered that in August 2009, the White House and the DOE were scheduling a “Solyndra closing announcement event,” which included the presidents participation prior to the OMB’s review and approval of the Solyndra loan guarantee.” It turns out that this was the bright idea of President Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanual, which is documented below:
- “POTUS involvement was Rahm’s idea” [p. 38].
- “Rahm was super hot for this” because “[j]obs and high tech and Recovery Act is a winning combination” [p. 39].
Only three days after Fitch issued its credit rating for the Solyndra loan guarantee, [this was on August 7, 2009, when Fitch assigned the Solyndra loan guarantee project, known as Solyndra Fab 2, LLC, a rating of “BB-,” which Fitch explained was “Speculative” under Fitch’s rating definitions], Aditya Kumar, the Director for Special Projects in the office of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, emailed James Carney, then-Communications Director to Vice President Biden, Elizabeth Oxhorn, then-Spokesperson for the Vice President on Recovery Act-related issues, and Mr. Klain on August 10, 2009, about the Solyndra closing. In particular, Mr. Kumar asked about the “announcement value” in the event, noting that the loan guarantee “will lead to thousands of new jobs” and would be the first DOE loan guarantee closing using Recovery Act funding. Mr. Klain responded the same day, stating that “[t]his is great” and asked when the Vice President and President would next be in California. [p. 35]
By August 17, 2009, it appears that the White House had decided to move forward with an event at Solyndra that would feature remarks by the President. On August 17, 2009, Mr. Kumar emailed two scheduling and advance staff for the President, Alyssa Mastromonaco and Danielle Crutchfield, and stated that “Ron [Klain] said this morning that the POTUS definitely wants to do this (or Rahm definitely wants the POTUS to do this)? DoE says they should be ready to go by 8/28 or soon thereafter.” Mr. Kumar asked about the President’s availability in early September for an appearance via satellite at the event, and indicated that the Solyndra event “passed vet by the VP team.” [pp. 36 & 37]
After discussing a possible announcement event with DOE, documents produced by the White House show that Mr. Kumar became aware that Heather Zichal, a top deputy to White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy Director Carol Browner, had concerns about the Solyndra event… [p. 37]
From what I gather, the issues that they were dealing with even after the March 20, 2009 announcement, were “funding community concerns about Solyndra,” as well as other concerns, specifically, “the finance question, the jobs numbers, and the fact that the Solyndra guarantee had already been publicly announced at the time of conditional commitment.”
…[Spinner] he forwarded to Mr. Kumar a list of Solyndra’s major investors and a Forbes.com biography of George Kaiser. Mr. Kaiser is the billionaire investor behind Argonaut and a contributor to President Obama.
The report also notes the following [p. 39]:
As Mr. Kumar attempted to address the funding community concerns with DOE and White House staff, Ms. Zichal contacted Ronald Klain about the event. In an email dated August 19, 2009, Ms. Zichal asked Mr. Klain if he was “pushing for POTUS to do this Solyndra announcement via video?” Ms. Zichal stated that she had learned about the event from Mr. Kumar and wanted to know “who actually wants this.” Mr. Klain explained that “Rahm was super hot for this” because “[j]obs and high tech and Recovery Act is a winning combination.” Ms. Zichal stated that she was “worried” about the event because she felt it would not be “sexy” to the press given that the Administration previously had announced the conditional commitment to Solyndra. In addition, Ms. Zichal stated that “folks in the financing community” had also raised concerns about the Solyndra loan guarantee, “[b]ut if Rahm wants it, we’ll make it happen.” Ms. Zichal stated that her understanding was that the event would include appearances by Secretary Chu and Ms. Browner and that the President would appear via satellite.
This section of the report concludes with this [p. 41]:
The White House’s decision to move up the Solyndra closing event to September 4 [instead of September 8] was made on the same day that DOE briefed OMB on the Solyndra loan guarantee. This decision — to schedule the event before OMB had begun its review — put pressure on OMB staff to quickly approve the Solyndra loan guarantee and ultimately impacted the quality of their review.
Additionally, The Washington Post reported that “Thomas Baruch, a Solyndra board member and owner of a company that held millions of dollars of Solyndra stock, reportedly met with Emanuel at least once in 2010 and scheduled a later White House meeting. At least three companies in which he invested received federal assistance.“
Despite the fact that this was an extremely risky investment, Solyndra’s
$535 million loan guarantee had been finalized on September 4, 2009. At
that time, they snagged a special appearance by Vice President Biden, who spoke at its groundbreaking ceremony via live video, and had this to say:
This announcement today is part of the unprecedented investment this
Administration is making in renewable energy and exactly what the
Recovery Act is all about… By investing in the infrastructure and technology of the future, we are
not only creating jobs today, but laying the foundation for long-term
growth in the 21st-century economy.
Then on May 26, 2010, Solyndra received another White House endorsement, but this came directly from the top, when President Obama and Energy Secretary Chu visited Solyndra’s California plant. At that time, “each described the company as a model of the administration’s effort to create millions of new ‘green’ American jobs.”
More like jobs lost in the case of Solyndra.
But those so-called green jobs were just a ruse behind the green energy scam.
Initially, between 2009 and 2011, the DOE guaranteed $34.7 billion of taxpayer money to 33 clean-energy projects. However, at this point, and not counting Cape Wind that just snagged $150 million, the Energy Department has doled out 32.4 billion of taxpayer money to 31 clean-energy projects. And, since the Obama administration sold the 2009-Recovery Act as a “jobs creator,” in calculating just the 1705 loans –– after eliminating SoloPower and Prologis (both loans pulled) –– this stimulus-created program, that once was at $16 billion, so far cost taxpayers about $14.4 billion. The kicker is that it has only generated 696 jobs, which is about $20 million per green job.
And if you dig into the August 2012 Solyndra Investigation or even its press release, there is much more damming evidence such as: “The Department of Energy ignored critical red flags about Solyndra’s financial condition prior to closing the loan guarantee in September 2009.”
And this gem: “The DOE closed the Solyndra loan guarantee and moved forward with Solyndra’s second loan guarantee application before DOE had the capability to monitor the first loan guarantee.”
Just about two years after snagging the big DOE loan, on August 31, 2011, Solyndra went bust –– and get this… “required a big hazardous waste cleanup after it went bankrupt and abandoned its property.”
We also know that Solyndra also snagged $25.1 million in California tax credit. And, in June 2011,
that taxpayer-funded Export-Import Bank “provided $10.3 million in
renewable express financing for the California-based Solyndra’s Solar
exports to Belgium.”
Taxpayer money lost: The DOE loan drawn was $528 million, while the monies recovered was $0. Furthermore, there was an October 2012 analysis
by the Institute for Energy Research regarding the Solyndra damage that
predicted that the loss to taxpayers “could be as high as $849
million.” In the meantime, the Heritage Foundation places the Solyndra bad bet at $570 million.
Solyndra became a cautionary tale of sorts: a failed Obama green investment, one of the first to go kaput, unethical executive bonuses included, leaving in its wake FBI raids; a trail of resignations; executives taking the Fifth before Congress; and damning emails –– all evidence that this president’s clean-energy deals are dirty.
While Mr. Klain is a key player, The Washington Post, in their December 2011 “Greenlighting Solyndra” graph, lists more players inside the Solyndra Saga that were “interconnected in many ways, as investors enjoyed access to the White House and the Energy Department.” Those include three key areas:
- The White House: President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Ron Klain, Rahm Emanuel, and Valerie Jarrett
- The Department of Energy: Stephen Chu and Jonathan Silver –– with Steve Westly in the middle
- Solyndra investors and staff: George Kaiser, Steve Mitchell, Thomas Baruch as well as Christian Gronet and Brian Harrison
- Board of Directors for the Center for American Progress [CAP] Action Fund.
- Trustee for the Third Way
- October 2014 Ebola Czar
First, in their September 2011 piece entitled, “Emails: Obama White House Monitored Huge Loan to Connected’ Firm,” ABC News reported on Klain’s part in securing the initial $535 million DOE stimulus loan, which was six months to its final approval. This was briefly addressed in the Solyndra opening of this post, but is worth reiterating:
Newly uncovered emails show the White House closely monitored the Energy Department’s deliberations over a $535 million government loan to Solyndra, the politically-connected solar energy firm that recently went bankrupt and is now the subject of a criminal investigation.
Internal emails uncovered by investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee that were shared exclusively with ABC News show the Obama administration was keenly monitoring the progress of the loan, even as analysts were voicing serious concerns about the risk involved.
“This deal is NOT ready for prime time,” one White House budget analyst wrote in a March 10, 2009 email, nine days before the administration formally announced the loan.
“If you guys think this is a bad idea, I need to unwind the W[est] W[ing] QUICKLY,” wrote Ronald A. Klain, who was chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, in another email sent March 7, 2009. The “West Wing” is the portion of the White House complex that holds the offices of the president and his top staffers. Klain declined comment to ABC News.
Despite the Obama White House’s full knowledge of Solyndra’s financial woes, which included Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Ron Klain, on May 26, 2010, President Obama visited the California Solyndra plant, where he proclaimed, “The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra.”
Prior to this special visit, more emails revealed that while the White House was worried about Solyndra’s solvency, Mr. Klain was willing to take the risk –– financially (with taxpayer money) and politically (with the president’s visit).
Townhall.com gives another interesting observation surrounding Klain’s part at this juncture; May 25, 2010 and President Obama’s special visit:
Much of the criticism for Solyndra came from the Office of Management and Budget where one key official said in an e-mail that the Department of Energy was “completely oblivious” about the company’s financial troubles, warning the White House that “bad days are coming.”
But the political skids were greased for the project in 2010 and Obama planned to tour the plant to promote his jobs program as a huge success.
Still, the warnings continued. A former California state controller wrote to Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett in May 2010, voicing concerns that this was not a viable firm. “I just want to protect the president from anything that could result in negative or unfair press,” he said.
Jarrett, one of the president’s closest aides, relayed the message to Klain, saying “We clearly need to make sure that they are stable and solid.”
Klain checked further with DOE officials who insisted the company was “strong,” but with this troubling warning: “…the company is okay in the medium term, but will need some help of one kind or another down the road.”
Nevertheless, despite all of these doubts, Klain gave the project and Obama’s visit a qualified green light the day before the president toured the plant.
Meanwhile, Fox News, in November 2011, reported the series of emails that were provided to the House Energy and Commerce Committee from individuals tied to Solyndra. This evidence “offered striking characterizations about running strategy with the White House to secure assistance” for the failed solar energy firm.
Fox News goes on: “Emails among George Kaiser, head of the George Kaiser Family Foundation; Ken Levit, the executive director of the Foundation; and Steve Mitchell, who manages Argonaut Private Equity and was a member of Solyndra’s board; show that Vice President Joe Biden’s office were very gung-ho” about Solyndra –– “it was one of their prime poster children.”
During the time that Klain was Biden’s chief of staff, the following email interactions were found, which occurred in 2010, and just a few months prior to President Obama’s May 26, 2010 Solyndra visit.
“They about had an orgasm in Biden’s office when we mentioned
Solyndra,” reads a Feb. 27, 2010, email from Levit to Mitchell. A
follow-up email from Mitchell to Levit later that day responds with:
“That’s awesome! Get us a (Department of Energy) loan.”
to exchanges obtained by Fox News, in an email from Mitchell to Kaiser
on March 5, 2010, Mitchell writes that “it appears things are headed in
the right direction and (Energy Secretary Steven) Chu is apparently staying involved in Solyndra’s application and continues to talk up the company as a success story.”
a Feb. 27, 2010, message from Levit to a party whose name has been
redacted, Levit writes that there was a meeting with a group of people
in “Biden’s office — they seemed to love our Brady Project — also all
big fans of Solyndra.”
In an email from Mitchell to Kaiser on
March 5, 2010, Mitchell writes that “it appears things are headed in the
right direction and Chu is apparently staying involved in Solyndra’s
application and continues to talk up the company as a success story.”
- George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF), whose primary investment arm, Argonaut Private Equity, was Solyndra’s largest shareholder
In 2008, it was listed that Solyndra’s investors included Argonaut Private Equity, Artis Capital Management, CMEA Ventures, Madrone Capital Partners, Masdar Clean Tech Fund, Redpoint Ventures, RockPort Capital Partners, U.S. Venture Partners, and the Virgin Green Fund.
What’s key to this story is George Kaiser. He’s an Oklahoma billionaire, who gained his net worth by being the president and CEO of Kaiser-Francis Oil. Kaiser is also the founder of Argonaut Private Equity, a private equity and venture capital firm listed above.
According to The Washington Post, “The primary investors in Solyndra were groups linked to Kaiser: the family foundation, where he is the primary funder; and the investment firm Argonaut Private Equity.”
Needless to say, the Huffington Post, a while back, also noted that, “Kaiser was a bundler for Obama’s 2008 campaign, raising between $50,000 and $100,000 for the president.” Kaiser was also “a frequent White House visitor in 2009 and 2010.” In fact, ABC News reported in October 2011: Questions about Kaiser’s 16 White House visits –– including four that occurred in the days and weeks before the Energy Department approved Solyndra’s loan –– have been the focus of significant attention since Solyndra declared bankruptcy.
And while White House officials have continually denied that Kaiser talked about Solyndra during any visits, it was later revealed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee that this was false. Even the left-leaning Huffington Post, in November 2011, had to admit that emails released by the committee at that time “contradict repeated assurances by the Obama administration that the donor, George Kaiser, never talked about Solyndra Inc. with the White House” –– both leading up to the initial $535 million loan guarantee or when they were seeking a second federal loan.
But there’s more…
Top Obama bundler George Kaiser made multiple visits to the White House in the months before the company was granted a $535 million loan from the government. And top Solyndra officials also made numerous visits — 20 — to the White House, according to logs and reporting by The Daily Caller. Solyndra officials in the logs included chairman and founder Christian Gronet and board members Thomas Baruch and David Prend. The company secured the $535 million loan despite the fact that it was widely known Solyndra was in deep economic trouble and had negative cash flows since its inception.
Interestingly, David Prend leads to the Energy Department insiders that were either tied to, or influenced this half-billion DOE deal –– in some cases both.
Jonathan Silver, Executive Director of the DOE Loan Programs Office, from November 2009 to early
- Reported to be an Obama bundler
- Third Way Fellow
Due to his powerful position inside the DOE, I’ve written extensively about Mr. Silver since July 2010 when I first began unleashing my green corruption research, which included the news that a number of Venture Capitalists (VC) jumped ship in the summer of 2009 in order join the Obama administration and begin executing the president’s green power policy, including Jonathan Silver.
However, it was the July 2012 Oversight Committee hearing when Silver’s shady email practices were revealed, that heated up my efforts in tracking the Executive Director, which includes reports that he was an Obama bundler as well as the fact that he has quite the impressive background.
As noted by Barron’s Magazine in 2010, “Silver had been a managing partner at Core Capital Partners [and co-founder] in Washington.” Coincidentally, one of his colleagues there was Tom Wheeler, who was two-time Obama bundler, and was part of the Obama-Biden Transition Team.
We also know that Silver’s wife has served as financial director of the Democratic Leadership Council, and that the couple hosted a party to promote Al Gore’s environmental advocacy group, the Alliance for Climate Protection. This party (fundraiser) surrounded Silver’s vetting process (September 2009), in which he invited two key DOE officials.
Silver was appointed as the Executive Director of the DOE Loan Programs Office in November 2009, and resigned in early October 2011, amidst the “Solyndra $535 Million Saga” –– even testifying in September 2011, on Solyndra’s behalf.
At the time of his resignation, POLITICO reported that Silver “stepped down to become a distinguished visiting fellow at Third Way.” This is the same progressive think tank with ties to the Democracy Alliance (dark money) that Mr. Ron Klain was part of, yet it seems both Klain’s and Silver’s bios are gone.
Considering that there is much to be said about Silver’s just shy of a two-year stint at the DOE, we do know that according to the Center for Public Integrity, “Silver had portrayed the Solyndra financing as a good bet for the public even as the company was falling apart financially behind the scenes.”
Moreover, the August 2012 Solyndra Investigation divulges evidence that Silver also knew about billionaire George Kaiser, an Obama bundler and the major investor in Solyndra –– and worse, he “attempted to leverage it.”
report also gives an in-depth look into the role played by one of
President Obama’s prominent backers in the administration’s decision to
issue the loan guarantee and the loan’s restructuring that put taxpayers
behind two private investors. Key
decision makers at DOE, including head of the loans program office
Jonathan Silver, knew of billionaire George Kaiser’s influence and
attempted to leverage it. According to the report,
“Individuals connected to the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) —
whose primary investment arm, Argonaut, was Solyndra’s largest
shareholder — played important roles in a series of critical discussions
and negotiations with DOE. George Kaiser, whose fortune funds the GKFF,
was closely involved in financial decisions related to Solyndra, often
authorizing key disbursements and restructuring proposals, as well as in
Solyndra’s lobbying, public relations, and government procurement
strategies in Washington.”
While Silver is understandably all over this report as the Executive Director of the DOE Loan Program, there is also proof that in August 2011 [pp. 109 – 110], when the DOE began “negotiating a second restructuring with Solyndra’s investors,” he had reached out to Mr. Kaiser directly on at least two occasions:
to the documents, at 6:40 p.m. on August 11, 2011, Mr. Silver left a
voicemail on Mr. Kaiser’s assistant’s telephone leaving his cell phone
- On the morning of August 18, 2011, Mr. Silver left another voicemail for Mr. Kaiser’s assistant…
The report continues with some interesting email interactions and observations:
On August 17, Brad Carson, Director of the GKFF-funded National Energy Policy Institute, who had accompanied Mr. Kaiser and Mr. Levit on several visits to the White House, had emailed Mr. Kaiser stating, “The Obama folks called saying that the White House Liaison for the Department of Energy wanted your contact information. Usually these people handle appointments and the like.” No response to Mr. Carson was provided to the Committee, however, Mr. Kaiser forwarded Mr. Carson’s email to Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Levit, and others at the GKFF at first simply stating, “Whoops” and then clarifying separately to Mr. Levit, “Solyndra, of course. Coming through the political arm.”
These emails initiated a debate within the GKFF. As Mr. Levit described it, “This is going to be very big. We need to think through PR even if the answer is to do nothing[.]” Mr. Kaiser asked, “Should Steve reflect back that GKFF is the decision maker, advised by Argonaut, and that I want to continue the policy of having no discussions re Solyndra with anyone in government? We may have to work with them in the reorganization and it makes no sense to irritate them.” He went on to state, “Just ignoring him, I think, would be the worst option.” After others seemed to agree but noted that Mr. Kaiser “taking a call and saying 1) it isn’t your call on whether or not to make a loan and 2) from what you understand, there is no believable workable business plan would not be out of line,” Mr. Mitchell added, “I agree with you that George should probably call him. This is certainly not us trying to influence the government, it is obviously the other way around. I’m curious what Jonathan will say as well.” However, it appears from the documents that Mr. Kaiser was firm in his decision not to communicate with Mr. Silver when telling Mr. Levit at 4:55 p.m., “I have refused the call and Steve is explaining why.” This timing is important to note, as significant decisions were made just before 6:00 p.m. on August 18, as will be detailed below. Mr. Silver testified before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on September 12, 2012, and stated that with respect to George Kaiser, “I have never met or spoken to the man.” While this may be true, it was not for lack of effort.
either directly or indirectly into these [DOE loan] companies.”
Also revealed is that Solyndra and its advocates were not only doing whatever possible to save Solyndra, which included this “restructuring scheme,” but they also in 2010, prior to President Obama’s May 26, 2010 visit, began “aggressively pursuing additional assistance from ‘the Bank of Washington,’ particularly in securing government contracts.” Some in particular were from the Department of Defense, General Services Administration (GSA) as well as the Project Amp that will highlighted later. This “wheeling and dealing” [pp 57 – 64] also involved Mr. Silver, many others as well as Solyndra’s lobbyists at that time, Steve McBee, whom will be addressed later.
Also on page 61, there is a sample of some of the inside communication regarding Solyndra’s desperate attempt in getting a meeting with Peter Rouse, who was the interim White House Chief of Staff from October 2010 until January 2011.
Solyndra’s in-house lobbyist stated on October 6, 2010, “Due to the very sensitive nature of the items I believe we intend to discuss, I’m hesitant to inform any of our outside consultants of our facts to the extent necessary for them to really help . . . .Everyone in Washington will be trying to access Pete Rouse for the next few weeks and if Mr. Kaiser has a long personal relationship with him he’ll get to the head of the line . . . .”
In response to Mr. Levit’s expression of hesitation about Mr. Kaiser’s involvement in the meeting, Mr. Mitchell stated, “All we are asking is that the WH helps us soften some of the terms of the DOE financing we received and work with us to give Solyndra the runway needed to take off (i.e. help us get some orders with DOD and others – which Obama offered to do in May). If they don’t, it will be a tragic failure of not just one high-potential company, but of an Obama effort to nurture an industry of the future. AND GKFF will have $400m less to pursue other charitable initiatives and the kind of high-risk investments this country needs for new job creation.”
On page 64, we find that Solyndra had ran out of cash: “While Solyndra and its advocates were pursuing an aggressive government sales strategy throughout the fall of 2010, the company’s financial condition was rapidly declining,” of which ultimately the DOE, in August 2011, decided not to fund Solyndra any further, and the company filed for bankruptcy on August 31, 2011.
In August 11, 2011, Kelly Colyar, a program analyst in OMB’s Energy Branch, informed her boss, Kevin Carroll, and others at OMB that “DOE told OMB and other EOP staff today that Solyndra is experiencing difficulties and that a bankruptcy or restructuring is imminent (potentially in the next few days). At this point, $526.8 million of the $535 million loan guarantee has been disbursed. [p. 111]
Then in reading the section entitled: “DOE decides not to fund Solyndra and the company files for bankruptcy,” is where it seems that Silver fought to the bitter end [pp 120 to 126]:
While Ms. Zichal’s phone call with Secretary Chu, Deputy Secretary Poneman, and Mr. Silver on the night of Sunday, August 28, concluded with an agreement that “DOE’s view is that the additional funds should not be extended,”863 additional documents indicate that throughout the weekend, Mr. Silver had been determined in his efforts to access the additional $5.4 million in Tranche B. According to an email from Mr. Mitchell on August 29, 2011, at 1:51 a.m., “I have had extensive conversations over the weekend with the DOE, Lazard (DOE’s advisor) and the company. Jonathan Silver is attempting to get access to the Tranche B funds in an effort to give the company 3 weeks to try and effect a fund raise or trade sale. I see this as highly unrealistic but the DOE wants to give it a shot. We have been very clear with the DOE that we cannot raise outside money if the balance sheet isn’t dramatically revised to make this interesting as a going concern . . . .”
Based on the documents, Mr. Silver appears to have wasted little time in his efforts to do just that and more. In addition, the documents indicate that he continued to seek approval for the additional Tranche B funding and attract new investors as well as new business for the company. For instance, August 29—the day after his call with Secretary Chu, Deputy Secretary Poneman, and Ms. Zichal—was when Mr. Silver reached out to Commissioner Peck at the GSA for a second time informing him that “a California company that manufactures solar panels is looking for business.”866 In addition, using his personal email address, Mr. Silver let Steve Mitchell know that he had “made a few calls [to investment bankers] to begin to elicit interest.” He stated, “As folks respond, I will explain our flexibility, connect them with you and step back.”
On August 30, 2011, in response to Mr. Mitchell notifying him that Solyndra finally agreed to terms with Prologis, Mr. Silver responded to Mr. Mitchell — again using his personal email address — thanking him for the update and informing him that he sent the Senior Managing Partner at a Silicon Valley venture capital firm his contact information. Later that day, Mr. Mitchell responded that Brian Harrison would be meeting with the firm the next day, on August 31. When asked whether he would be attending, Mr. Mitchell responded that he could not but that he “[h]ad a couple of good calls with potential investors today as well.” In addition, he asked Mr. Silver, “When do you think we will have feedback on the Tranche B?” Apparently Mr. Silver failed to inform Mr. Mitchell that two days earlier, he was on a call with Secretary Chu, Deputy Secretary Poneman, and Ms. Zichal, on which they confirmed that DOE was of the position that they should not extend any additional funds to the company. No subsequent communications between Mr. Silver and Mr. Mitchell were produced to the Committee…
At 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time [August 30, 2011], the Solyndra board voted to move forward with the bankruptcy. According to Mr. Mitchell it was “[a]n incredible evening with some bombs dropped by the DOE…”
NOTE: The above excerpts are found on pages 124 through 126.
In the case of Silver; he aggressively pushed the loans through (fast tracked) as directed, influenced, and pressured by the POTUS, the vice president, the White House, the “7th Floor,” and “The Hill” –– and did so with arrogance, even as he was fraternizing with lose seeking the DOE loans.
It turns out that Solyndra was on the first of its kind. These emails reveal that most of the DOE loans were rushed and approved for political reasons –– visits, speeches, announcements, photo ops, and talking points for the president as well as for the purpose of helping those connected to the companies seeking the loans –– CEO’s, investors, and Democrat politicians, which goes beyond subsidizing Nevada companies in order to help Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid win his 2010 reelection campaign.
These bombshell emails also expose the cozy relationships DOE officials and advisors had during the loan review process with loan applicants and their CEO’s, lobbyists, and investors, etc. It’s no surprise that they had meetings and calls with DOE officials and Energy Secretary Chu, but there are documented meetings and calls with the president, VP, and WH as well as plenty of “green fraternizing” going on –– bike riding, coffee meetings, sleepovers, “beer summits,” Al Gore parties, dinners, Democrat fundraisers, and so on.
Lastly, on Silver: During the September 10, 2013 House Oversight hearing on “Preventing Violations of Federal Transparency Laws,” members questioned two of the most egregious offenders: Mr. Silver and Lisa Jackson the former head of the EPA, who was also part of the Obama-Biden Transition Team.
Sadly, this hearing didn’t get much coverage except for Paul Chesser at the National Legal and Policy Center, noting that this event “didn’t last long enough to get very deep.” However, what caught my attention was when Committee Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio grilled Mr. Silver “about his directives to keep messaging out of the public eye” as well as reading particular email exchanges that implicated Silver helping his buddies get DOE loans. Also at issue were the loan program failures.
However, the most unbelievable attempt to conceal the truth came out at that time: The congressman then showed an email that was sent to the committee staff a couple of days prior to the hearing from Silver’s lobbyist (lawyer, it’s unclear) demanding, “Don’t direct any questions to Mr. Silver.” Silver denied knowing anything about THE request, but we never got to the bottom of it because the Ranking Member, Congressman Elijah Cummings stopped Jordon from going down that path due to confusion over attorney/client privilege, and that he and Committee Chairman Darrell Issa would be looking into that issue…” off the record.
No news yet…
- Spinner’s wife, Allison Berry Spinner, is a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the law firm that represented Solyndra on matters related to the DOE loan
- Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress from September 2010 to October 2011, where he publicly advocated for energy policies that support clean, renewable energy
- Two-time Obama Bundler
- 2008 Obama-Biden Transition Team role: Technology, Innovation & Government Reform Policy Working Groups
Steve Spinner, a two-time Obama bundler, not only worked for Obama’s 2008 Transition Team, he also was part the president’s 2012 reelection campaign, serving as a California finance chair and founded “Technology for Obama (T4O).”
In April 2009, Spinner was appointed as the DOE Loan Programs Advisor to then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu, yet by September 2010, he left the DOE and about that same time joined CAP as a Senior Fellow until October 2011.
In his DOE position, “Spinner helped oversee the strategic operations of the clean energy loan guarantee program under the Recovery Act.” However, according to the DOE, “In that capacity, [Spinner] played no role in the decision-making on or evaluation of individual loan applications or the awarding of any grants.”
Still, Spinner is well known for his involvement and influence (investigations and internal emails prove) to the ill-fated, politically connected Solyndra. Spinner’s participation, despite the DOE’s denial, has been proven many times over, including in October 2011, when POLITICO and others seized on his role inside this scandal, stating, “[Spinner] played an active part in Solyndra’s $535 million loan guarantee [approved in September 2009] despite conflict of interest concerns over his wife’s work at a law firm that also represented the California solar company.”
It should be emphasized that on August 7, 2009, Fitch had rated the Solyndra deal as “speculative,” as revealed by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in March 2012, which exposes more evidence of Spinner’s part in the Solyndra scandal.
Spinner’s wife, Allison Berry Spinner, is a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the law firm that represented Solyndra on matters related to the DOE loan. According to federal records, the firm received at least $2.4 million in federal funds for legal fees related to the representation.
White House e-mails released late last year  indicate that Spinner was influential in securing the $528 million loan to now-bankrupt Solyndra. Many of those emails were written just days after he signed an ethics agreement pledging that he would “not participate in any discussion regarding any application involving” his wife’s law firm.
In one message to a DOE official on August 28, 2009, Spinner wrote, “How hard is this? What is he waiting for? . . . I have OVP and WH breathing down my neck on this.” The e-mail went on to demand that the DOE official “walk over there and force [the official working on the Solyndra evaluation] to give [him] an answer.”
After just being contacted by Solyndra, Spinner inquires in another e-mail, “Any word on OMB? Solyndra’s getting nervous.” The e-mail correspondence occurring in the final days before the Solyndra loan closed in September 2009 centers heavily on Spinner’s efforts to coordinate plans for either the President or Vice President to announce the first loan approval at a scheduled visit to Solyndra.
Green Energy Collusion: Spinner & Silver
We also know that Spinner and Silver colluded on the green front: Silver, who was at that time an Obama administration official at the Energy Department “actively collaborated with Center for American Progress (CAP) in 2011 to advance the president’s green energy agenda, in possible violation of federal law,” documented the Washington Free Beacon in September 2012.
This is also where internal emails surfaced showing that over several days via Spinner and Silver’s personal email accounts (correspondences that also imply the two were in touch multiple times over the phone), the two colluded: “In July 2011, Steve Spinner, then a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP), sought and received guidance from Jonathan Silver, executive director of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) loans program, regarding a CAP editorial urging Congress to expand funding for the program and permanently establish a Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA), or ‘green bank,’ to further fund clean energy projects.”
But that’s not all, because in my March 2014 Green Corruption File, CAP, Silver, Spinner, and other key players behind the Obama administration’s green energy scam.
Matt Rogers: Senior Advisor to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, from January 2009 until September 2010
Matt Rogers, as the Senior Adviser to then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu, oversaw the disbursement of tens of billions of dollars in stimulus funds for renewable energy projects. Both Rogers and Kristina Johnson “advised” Secretary Chu on implementing the massive energy programs in the 2009 stimulus law, which topped $36 billion.
Prior to helping Secretary Chu, Rogers came from McKinsey & Company, “a global management consulting firm,” where he was quite active. “Over time with McKinsey, Matt led the Americas Petroleum Practice and the North American Electric Power and Natural Gas practice and helped establish the Firm’s Resource Productivity practice,” documents his biography.
What’s interesting, too, is that McKinsey & Company is also listed as an Obama donor (through PACS and personnel); a firm whose executives not only give to the right Democrat causes (Priorities USA Action), but seem to enjoy easy access to the Obama White House, including the handful that sat on president’s Jobs Council when it was in operation from 2009 until early 2013.
While there is a big story here that needs to be flushed out –– McKinsey & Company is all over the place –– including another Democrat moneyman, who was also an Obama donor and a guest at the president’s first state dinner. This would be Rajat Gupta, McKinsey & Co.’s former chief executive (also an ex Goldman Sachs director), whom, in 2012, was convicted of Wall Street insider trading.
More relevant here is that Jonathan Silver, the former executive director of the Energy Department’s Loan Guarantee Program, profiled earlier, started his career at McKinsey & Company.
While Rogers’ role at the DOE is pretty clear, we also know that he was on board with Chu expediting the loans, which is found inside the August 2012 Solyndra Investigation [p. 16 -17].
Matt Rogers, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Energy for Recovery Act Implementation (ARRA Advisor), confirmed the Secretary’s interest in accelerating the processes of the LPO, stating in testimony before the House Committee on Science and Technology in March 2009 that “Secretary Chu has directed us to accelerate the process significantly and deliver the first loans in a matter of months, while maintaining appropriate oversight and due diligence to protect taxpayers’ interests.”
In an interview with Committee staff, Matt Rogers explained that the September 30, 2011, deadline necessarily forced DOE to “reduce the cycle time” for the reviews of loan guarantee applications. Mr. Rogers explained that his job was to ensure that all DOE Recovery Act programs had clear decision-making timelines so that the stimulus funds were spent by the deadlines set forth in the law.
Furthermore, as alluded to a earlier in this post, Rogers was in the middle of pressuring the Solyndra’s conditional commitment for President Obama’s March 19, 2009 California visit [pp. 17 – & 21], which also involved Mr. Klain, our new Ebola Czar, and at that time VP Biden’s chief of staff.
…scheduling of President Obama’s speech on March 19 set the timetable for the Credit Committee and Credit Review Board meetings for Solyndra…
On March 5, 2009, one LPO staff member sent an email to colleagues in the LPO stating, “Hot off the press. Dates were reviewed with Matt Rogers. The wish is to have Solyndra through the CRB in time for the President’s speech in California on the 18th.” Further, on March 5, 2009, Mr. Isakowitz sent an email to Mr. Frantz asking how the negotiations with Solyndra ended, and stating that “[a]ssuming we can get to a handshake, I need to send to Rod O’Connor the significance of the event so he can send to the WH.”
The next day, on March 6, 2009, Mr. Rogers emailed Ronald Klain, Vice President Biden’s Chief of Staff, and Rod O’Connor, Chief of Staff to Secretary Chu, regarding the timetable for Solyndra’s application. In that email, Mr. Rogers stated “we are on track to have potus announce the first doe loan to solyndra a thin film solar mfg in la on march 19, assuming their board approves the terms this monday. We will then need credit committee and credit [review] board meetings on our side next week to confirm the conditional commitment . . . . So, we are working the weekend to make both go. Your call on next steps.” That same day, David Frantz sent an email to Mr. Isakowitz noting that the Credit Committee and Credit Review Board meetings for Solyndra had been scheduled for March 12 and March 17, respectively.
Later in that section entitled, “Review of the Solyndra Application Leading to the March 2009 Conditional Commitment,” the following is found:
DOE and Solyndra finally reached an agreement on a proposed term sheet shortly after midnight on Tuesday, March 10, 2009. In an email to Mr. Frantz, Mr. Rogers, and other DOE staff on March 10, Mr. Isakowitz noted that Solyndra had “blinked.” Confirming that the possibility of a White House speech was a factor influencing the Solyndra review schedule, Mr. Rogers responded, asking two LPO staff members to “prepare a short memo for the whitehouse folks on what an announcement could look like on the 19th. We will want to try to get to [the Credit Review Board] on friday to make sure we have enough time for the wh folks. Solyndra will be happy they blinked when potus arrives.” [sic] Shortly after receiving this email, Mr. Isakowitz emailed Mr. O’Connor to gauge White House interest in a Solyndra announcement. He asked if there was “still an interest in a loan announcement on March 19th? I ask because we successfully wrapped up intense negotiations yesterday for a conditional commitment with Solyndra. There’s still much paperwork to complete and wanted to check how hard we need to press.” Mr. O’Connor replied, stating that “[t]here is still strong interest . . . that is great news and great work. When does the CRB meet?” Mr. Isakowitz explained that the Credit Review Board meeting was originally planned for March 17, but “we will move it up to this Friday [March 13] now that I know there is still great interest.”
DOE had planned to accelerate the CRB process in order to accommodate
the President’s speech on March 19, 2009, it was ultimately not
necessary. When Mr. Rogers informed Ronald Klain, Vice President Biden’s
then-Chief of Staff, on March 10, 2009, that Solyndra had approved the
proposed term sheet “setting us up for the first loan guarantee conditional commitment for the president’s visit to california on the 19th,”
Mr. Klain asked Mr. Rogers to confirm that Solyndra was located in Los
Angeles, rather than Northern California. After Mr. Rogers noted that
Solyndra’s facilities were in Northern California, Mr. Klain explained
that “[t]he President is not traveling to Fremont. He is going to So
Cal.” Mr. Rogers then floated the option of featuring a DOE loan to
Tesla, under the ATVM program, but noted that the LPO staff did not
think they could complete the work in time…
These emails, and the fact that several significant terms were still unresolved at the time the Solyndra Credit Review Schedule was set, establish that the White House’s desire to highlight Recovery Act-related programs was a determining factor in the timing of the Solyndra loan guarantee application review.
He came in to do his talk and opened his talk with, ‘I’m Matt Rogers I am the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Energy and I have $134 billion that I have to disperse between now and the end of December. So upon hearing that I sent an email to my partners that said Matt Rogers is about to get treated like a hooker dropped into a prison exercise yard.
David Prend: Co-Founder & Managing General Partner at Rockport Capital Partners
- Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), National Advisory Council, member, since 2007
- NREL, Solar Technology Review Panel, chairman
- His firm Rockport Capital 7.5 percent stake in Solyndra
As reported by The Washington Post in 2012, “David Prend had worked closely with the Energy Department since the Bush administration, when he was first appointed to an advisory panel for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He continued to advise the Obama administration, while also chairing a panel that helps advise the department on solar technologies.”
But what’s astonishing is that Mr. Prend also surfaces in some emails as a venture capital investor who had White House access. The Post goes on give insight, because his firm, Rockport Capital Partners in Boston, “was an early investor in Solyndra,
starting in 2007″ –– with was among a 7.5 percent stake.
This inside lobbying occurred despite his stake in Solyndra, and during the time when Prend “chaired a renewable energy panel that advised
Obama’s Energy Department on solar technologies and investments.”
The meeting on December 6, 2010, marked the beginning of a series of arduous negotiations between DOE representatives, led by Ms. Nwachuku, and Solyndra officials, along with Mr. Mitchell, “to work out terms to the DOE loan that would enable the company to raise money (internally or externally) and also keep the DOE on its current funding schedule.” Throughout the course of the discussions, Mr. Mitchell provided detailed updates to and sought input from individuals at GKFF as well as Jamie McJunkin of Madrone Capital and David Prend of Rockport Capital. He set the stage by stipulating, “I have been very upfront that the likelihood of reaching a deal this week was low and that if the DOE decides not to fund on Friday [December 10, 2010] that we understand the ramifications (i.e. we move toward a liquidation scenario).
And page 120:
On August 25, 2011, after negotiating pricing and several additional details with Prologis, Brian Harrison appeared optimistic that the deal would close. He emailed Solyndra’s primary investors, Steve Mitchell, Jamie McJunkin, and David Prend, informing them that “[w]e are agreed on all major elements and these are being ‘papered’ now.” However, it is apparent that they thought DOE would provide additional funding under the restructuring framework being proposed so long as the Prologis deal closed. Mr. Prend replied asking, “What is up on the Tranche B funding?” Mr. Mitchell stated, “Not good. [T]he DOE changed their story (though they are claiming no change) and are requiring the Prologis deal to close and to have a fully committed and funded plan prior to closing the Tranche B. I don’t see that happening over the next 48 to 72 hours.”
While The Post notes that “The agency [DOE] provided $550 million to several firms in which Rockport had invested at the time,” I have yet to do a complete analysis of Prend’s “energy portfolio.” However, other than Solyndra, three stand out, which include their own crony, corruption tale –– with two that went bankrupt or were sold after receiving taxpayer money.
- Solyndra: The Heritage Foundation places the Solyndra bad bet at $570 million.
- Ener1: The Heritage Foundation places the Ener1 (EnerDel, subsidiary) bad bet total at $182.8 million.
- Evergreen Solar: The Heritage Foundation places Evergreen Solar’s bad bet total at $84.9 million
- Enphase Energy: Both Enphase Energy, Inc. and Transphorm Inc. are investments of Kleiner Perkins (Al Gore and John Doerr’s VC firm), of which these two companies collectively received over $9 million in grants from ARPA-E program funded by the 2009-Stimulus.
While Enphase can be found in my January 2013 Green Corruption File on John Doerr and Al Gore, and how they scored billions in green funds, my January 2014 Cleantech Crash Report is
where I documented 32 Obama-backed green energy companies that have gone under, costing taxpayers over $3 billion.
Still, there is an equal amount that have been in chaos: the Obama-backed Green Energy Troubled Watch List, which, as of January 2014, includes five bailouts, 22 green energy companies/projects that have been problematic for some time –– placing $14.2 billion of taxpayer money still at risk.
This brings the “Green Alert: Clean Misses” list to 59, with a pile of failures I have left to add. And this list does not take into account $3 billion that went to First Solar; the $1.4 billion in green energy funds that Nissan received from the ATVM loan program for their all-electric LEAF vehicles as well as the green energy stimulus funds that General Motors received for their Chevy Volt.
Moreover, this doesn’t factor in the numerous DOE funded projects that are still in the shadows, nor my blistering story on the “law-breaking, American hating” Spanish conglomerate Abengoa, that was subsidized with over $3.6 billion in stimulus loans and grants from the U.S. taxpayer –– and is currently under investigation by various federal agencies.
Also, excluded President Obama’s three “nuclear deals” (currently costing taxpayers $11.6 billion and counting) that were having issues for some time.
Last but not least, not in these stats, but detailed in my report, are some of the stimulus-created and/or funded programs that also flopped, costing taxpayer billions of dollars. One example is the $5 billion Home Weatherization Program, which ended up complete with waste, fraud and abuse.
Another stimulus disaster is the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), where Prend has been a member since 2007. In short, Back in May 2009, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu visited Golden to promote the NREL as a beneficiary of stimulus funds. –– anywhere between $200 and $300 million. However, this Colorado lab, since my 2009 green energy stimulus tracking, not only carries issues and corruption, but has been funding job cuts and craziness, which was all documented in April 2013 by Tori Richards and Carten Cordell at Watchdog.org.
Documents obtained by the committee exposed a startling relationship between Solyndra and another stimulus-backed project. The report details Solyndra’s role as a supplier for Prologis’ Project Amp, a solar panel installation project and the recipient of a partial loan guarantee for $1.4 billion. The White House was well aware of Solyndra’s deteriorating financial condition when it allowed DOE to move forward with Project Amp. DOE would later use the relationship between Project Amp and Solyndra as a key bargaining tool to push for a second restructuring while directly engaging in last minute negotiations between Solyndra and the Project Amp sponsor.
In short, back in September 2011, Prologis, the world’s biggest warehouse owner, received a $1.4 billion partial DOE loan guarantee to put solar panels on about 750 buildings. This was Project Amp and another “non-investment grade” shady DOE stimulus deal connected to the Obama administration’s futile and deceptive attempt to shelter and save Solyndra.
Moreover, Bank of America Corp. and NRG Energy Inc. at that time were both investing in the project –– even as both are connected to President Obama and were big winners of green energy funds.
Adding to the corruption, it has been well documented that Obama’s pal, the left-wing billionaire George Soros (a big CAP donor), helped craft the 2009-Recovery Act. Then, just after the stimulus was passed in February 2009, Mr. Soros bought 500 shares of NRG Energy, whose subsidiaries was the recipient of most of 1705 stimulus loans –– placing that figure, as of March 2013 (counting Prologis), at $5.2 billion of taxpayer money.
This DOE deal and more is detailed in my March 2013 Green Corruption File, “Left-wing Billionaire George Soros: Obama’s Agent of Green.” However, it was reported by POLITICO in October 2013, that the Prologis loan was “de-obligated,” and that they had never tapped into the $1.4 billion. But along the way, Prologis did secure “a grant for $68,000 for the purpose of “rent for warehouse space” under the Recovery Act.”
Even as Silver, Spinner, Rogers and Prend are major “Solyndra Corruption Culprits,” there are many more that operated inside the DOE that deserve scrutiny in regards to the Solyndra deal as well as the other 30 plus clean-energy deals made by the Energy Department’s loan program.
The Post in their February 2012 piece, “Federal funds flow to clean-energy firms with Obama administration ties,” note some of these DOE insiders. Yet, there are others that came from Obama’s “Green Team” as well as Energy Department officials and advisors. These included its fair share of Al Gore disciples and well-connected Venture Capitalists. There has been a dozen on my radar that are either directly connected to tens of billions of green-government subsidies (loans, grants and special tax breaks), or helped their friends secure the funds.
Ironically, many have fled since their 2009 appointments, but it’s worth noting that the “DOE Dirty Dozen,” under Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, includes Carol Browner (1), Lisa Jackson, Van Jones (2), Steve Isakowitz, Steve Spinner (3), Matt Rogers, Jonathon Silver (4), Cathy Zoi (5), Kristina Johnson (6) and others like James Markowsky (7), Steven Westly (8), Sanjay Wagle (9), David Danielson (10), David Sandalow (11), David Prend (12) –– with Prend, according to PJ Media a while back, “may well be the nexus of the whole Obama green scandal. His name turns up all over the place.”
Today’s focused was Solyndra, but the “DOE Dirty Dozen” is another piece of Green Corruption that I have yet to unleash in its entirety. However, what’s telling is that these DOE insiders were part of the decision-making process, even as the rest had access influence in one way or another.
What we find is that many of those operating inside the Energy Department had more sinister roles and were using tactics such as lobbying, pressure, collusion, and coercion. The evidence of this started circulating in 2011, when the Solyndra Saga broke, but worse, was confirmed in many of the DOE email exchanges released to the public since that time.
Three More Obama, Solyndra Connections
Goldman Sachs was a top Obama donor in 2008, but we also know that two Goldman executives sat on Obama’s 2008 Finance Committee and a slew of partners, executives and board members bundled for, and donated to Obama’s 2008 campaign. Meanwhile, his administration has been infested with Goldmanites –– even as early as 2008 when a Goldman board member, James A. Johnson (also an Obama bundler that I profiled many times due to his former firm Perseus), was chosen as head of Barack Obama’s vice presidential search team.
Known as Jim Johnson and “a fixture of establishment Washington, with ties to Wall Street and “a major presence in Democratic politics for more than two decades,” Mr. Johnson resigned his VP vetting role amidst criticism over his part in the Countrywide Financial scandal as well as controversy surrounding his role as Fannie Mae’s chief executive from 1991 to 1999.
Even though in 2012, Goldman Sachs turned their back on Mr. Obama in 2012, there were many executives and board members that helped him get reelected.
While I began to unravel their part in this post Green Corruption: The Plot Thickens back in the summer of 2010, I’ve been tracking how this Big Bank has been cashing in on the green energy stimulus funds ever since Team Obama started dishing it out to his cronies.
Goldman Sachs has an invested interest –– via various roles, and having entered the scene at different junctures (before, during and after taxpayer subsidies were awarded) –– in at least 14 projects and firms that received green energy loans, grants and special tax breaks, including Solyndra. This means that Goldman is tied to over $8.5 billion from the Green Bank of Obama, and the majority came from the 2009-Recovery Act.
McBee Strategic Consulting: Lobbyists for Solyndra from 2008 until 2011
My research reflected the fact that I found 31 McBee energy clients with 19 (over 60 percent) that received green-government subsidies under the Obama administration, totaling approximately $13.7 billion of taxpayer money. Additionally, with only two clients (Honeywell and Tesla) that were hired prior to 2009, when the Recovery Act was approved, I calculated that from these 31 energy clients, McBee Strategic Consulting “green kickbacks” in September 2013, were close to $9 million –– and that’s just from energy.
These calculations include twelve DOE loans, including Solyndra, of which we know that Steve McBee was instrumental in “changing the game” by his involvement in eliminating the so-called “required down payment.”
Solyndra, by the way, spent nearly $1.9 million on lobbying activities over a period of 43 months from 2008 to 2011, even as the DOE failed to comply with the stimulus law by reporting on all lobbying activity. Still, McBee represented the solar panel company from 2009 to 2011, and
received $380,000 over that time period.
Steve McBee is also found inside the August 2012 Solyndra Investigation where he was part of “Solyndra’s efforts to secure additional government assistance…” which included Jonathan Silver, as documented earlier [p. 57 – 64 ]:
On June 17, 2010, just a few weeks after President Obama’s [June] visit, Steve McBee, the President of McBee Strategic Consulting (McBee), a lobbying firm, began to chart out this course in an email to Mitchell. Mr. Mitchell forwarded McBee’s proposal to Mr. Gronet and another Solyndra executive noting, “The white house offer to help may cut this short but it could be done in conjunction.” This new emphasis on garnering assistance in the procurement of government contracts was shared with and supported by George Kaiser and Ken Levit.
Keep in mind that another means where huge corporations and Obama’s green cronies get taxpayer money is through the taxpayer-supported Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im), which “has a Congressional mandate to support renewable energy and has been directed that 10% of its authorizations should be dedicated to renewable energy and environmentally beneficial transactions.”
In the case of Solyndra, in June 2011, “the Ex-Im Bank provided $10.3 million in renewable express financing for the California-based Solyndra’s Solar exports to Belgium.”
Solyndra: Only a “smidgen” of the cronyism and corruption
behind President Obama’s clean-energy junk loans
Over two years ago, I unleashed The Green Corruption Files, with my first report entitled, Department of Energy “Junk Loans” and Cronyism, whereas the emphasis at that time was the report that was released by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which “painted a startling picture of mismanagement at the Department of Energy.”
The most damaging is that of the 27 loan guarantees under the 1705 program, of which the DOE doled out in excess of $16 billion, “23 of the loans were rated “Junk grade” due to their poor credit quality, including Solyndra, while the other four were rated BBB, which is at the lowest end of the ‘investment’ grade of categories.” ––
Within the pages of the House Oversight report, are disturbing charges –– backed up with corroboration –– that range from poor to disastrous management, to bias and favoritism, as well as wasteful spending, in some cases a series of DOE violations, and how the DOE touted “misleading job creation statistics.”
But since the Solyndra story broke, it has become clear that Energy Department’s loan program has stimulated the pockets and secured jobs for those with access and influence to the Obama White House and the Democratic Party, especially the wealthy. Winners were those with meaningful political connections to the president and other high-ranking Democrats and/or their green cronies –– in many cases to both and in some cases to multiple “friends,” with Majority Leader Harry Reid tied to five, which I unveiled last November.
Political buddies that primarily comprise of Obama’s campaign backers, bundlers, top donors as well as liberal allies. Adding to the mix are members of the president’s former Job Council; those that helped craft the 2009 economic stimulus package; and at least a dozen inside the Energy Department, and we find a much bigger scandal.
Needless to say, in early 2012, I wasn’t the only one screaming about the Energy Department “junk bond portfolio” and the obvious cronyism surrounding these risky deals. Sharyl Attkisson, the longtime CBS reporter, in January 2012, took on the Obama administration’s clean-energy failures and corruption, including Solyndra, only to be “stonewalled.”
The New York Post, in their recent and chilling review of her bombshell book, Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington, noted the following:
Attkisson mischievously cites what she calls the “Substitution Game”:
She likes to imagine how a story about today’s administration would have
been handled if it made Republicans look bad.
In green energy, for instance: “Imagine a parallel scenario in which President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney personally appeared at groundbreakings for, and used billions of tax dollars to support, multiple giant corporate ventures whose investors were sometimes major campaign bundlers, only to have one (or two, or three) go bankrupt . . . when they knew in advance the companies’ credit ratings were junk.”
Solyndra, once the poster child for the president’s clean-energy crusade, quickly morphed into the template for Obama’s green corruption scandal: political payback, costing taxpayers at least $570.4 million. Yet most concluded a long time ago that Solyndra was only the tip of the iceberg.
And while Solyndra is dead, these DOE deals had everything to do with politics –– even as billions have already been flushed down the Eco-toilet, tens of billions are still at risk, and all under the guise of “saving the planet.”
Sadly, due to the president’s Ebola Czar choice, pundits and politicians have equated Ebola with Solyndra –– although temporarily. Meanwhile the Democrats, in their quest to stay in power, have hijacked this horrifying epidemic to wage war against the Republican Party in an election that will take place in a few days.
Worse, the White House continues to play politics with Ebola, and his crony pick of Mr. Klain that carries with him the reputation as a “fixer” for top Democrats, is more evidence that President Obama continually places politics above what’s right for America. In the case of Solyndra, it was using taxpayer money to reward his wealthy cronies, but this time it’s the health of American citizens, which is much more fatal.
So, at the end of the day, we can only hope and pray that this deadly disease will have a similar fate as Solyndra, which was demolished down to some glass tubes, and soon be wiped off the face of the planet.
- March 17, 2011: Oversight of DOE Recovery Act Spending
- June 24, 2011: OMB’s Role in the DOE Loan Guarantee Process
- September 14, 2011: Solyndra and the DOE Loan Guarantee Program
- September 23, 2011: From DOE Loan Guarantee to Bankruptcy to FBI Raid: What Solyndra’s Executives Knew
- October 14, 2011: Continuing Developments Regarding the Solyndra Loan Guarantee
- November 17, 2011: The Solyndra Failure: Views from DOE Secretary Chu
#3) 2012 Internal DOE Email Dump” is reference to the October 31, 2012 House Oversight Committee report; Update on Committee’s Oversight of the DOE Loan Guarantee Program: New Emails Show President Obama, Senior Administration Officials Misled American People about Role of President and White House in Program (see Memorandum, Appendix I and the 350+ page Appendix II).