Thursday, September 8, 2011

FBI Raids Bankrupt Solyndra as Lawmakers Question Panel Maker’s Finances

In my September 1st post, "Half-a-Billion in Taxpayer Dollars Down the Drain for a Solar Energy Pipe Dream," I wrote about the bankruptcy of the Solyndra corporation a mere two years after the company received over a half-a-billion dollars in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy. At the time, I concluded:
To be that far off the mark with your business model, you have to be either completely incompetent or totally delusional.
Guess I spoke a little too soon, as there was actually a third possibility: rampant fraud. Here's Bloomberg with the story:
The FBI raided the headquarters of Solyndra LLC, the solar-panel maker that failed after receiving $535 million in loan guarantees from the Obama administration.

Republican lawmakers said after the raid that the administration made misleading claims about the company’s prospects, and Democrats said the company’s chief executive officer withheld information on its financial plight.

The Energy Department gave the Fremont, California-based company the most federal backing awarded a solar manufacturer. One of the principal investors in Solyndra is a foundation headed by billionaire George Kaiser, a campaign supporter of President Barack Obama who made 16 visits to the president’s aides since 2009, according to White House visitor logs.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant today with the Energy Department’s inspector general, bureau spokeswoman Julie Sohn said in an interview. Sohn said she couldn’t provide details about the investigation. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy protection on Sept. 6 with liabilities of $783.8 million, after shutting its factory and firing 1,100 people.
The raid's timing couldn't have been any more awkward for President Hopey-Changey, coming on the same day as his jobs speech in which he is widely expected to offer up a plan to throw more money around willy-nilly in a futile attempt to restart the broken American jobs machine. This story also has the potential to blow up into a major political scandal for Obama. Stay tuned.


  1. Hi, Bill,

    Following on the heels of last year's Evergreen Solar collapse ($50+ million from the state of MA)and move to China, the Solyndra scandal will hurt legitimate alt energy efforts at a time we really need them. Yes, peak oil will sink us, but while we have some resources, we should be creating decentralized solar, wind, etc to serve as something of a cushion.

    Unfortunately, our system is so obsessed with big corporate projects and money it will keep doing exactly the wrong thing, probably until the lights finally go out for good (rather than just temporarily, as in AZ & CA). Obama is just as corrupt (or inept? not sure which) as the GOP is; his one positive attribute is that he's at least reasonably sane. He's far less likely to lead us into full-blown WW3 than the crop of GOP candidates, and as long as we avoid that, peak oil is survivable...

  2. @Jay Denari - sadly, you could almost interpret the next election as the slow crash (Obama) vs. fast crash (Perry, Bachmann, Palin) with Romney somewhere in the middle.