E-Mails: No Tit-For-Tat In Solyndra Loan

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 (UPI) — E-mails released by lawmakers in Washington show the White House knew solar panel firm Solyndra was on shaky financial ground before a presidential visit.

President Barack Obama toured Solyndra in San Francisco in May. Despite a $535 million guarantee from the Obama administration, however, the firm declared bankruptcy in late August.

Touting the firm as a clean energy firm that represented a commitment to jobs and less dependence on foreign oil now seems misguided. Democratic lawmakers investigating the matter, however, said while the e-mails show an internal debate over the company’s soundness, they do not reveal any intention to swap the loan guarantee for political donations, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The e-mails “do not contain evidence that government decisions relating to Solyndra were influenced by considerations related to campaign donations,” Democrats staff members working for the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on oversight and investigations wrote in a memo quoted by the Journal.

Instead, the memo written by staff members says, discussions centered on what it would look like if the firm went bankrupt after a visit from the president.

“I am increasingly worried that this visit could prove embarrassing to the Administration in the not to distant future,” an Office of Management and Budget staff member wrote.

In one discussion, venture capitalist Steve Westly wrote that a presidential visit to Solyndra could “haunt him in the next 18 months,” and that note was answered by Ron Klain, Vice President Joseph Biden’s chief of staff.

Klain wrote that there were “some risk factors here, but that’s true of any innovative company that POTUS [president of the United States] would visit. It looks OK to me.”

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