Power means never having to say you’re sorry. Despite contrary evidence, the Obama administration is sticking to its story that the decision to loan $535 million to solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra was the right thing to do. To err is human, but when error squanders hard-earned taxpayer money and is compounded by insolent denial, it’s a signal that similar mistakes are inevitable.
On Aug. 2, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released the results of its investigation into the Solyndra debacle, detailing White House backing for the project despite clear evidence that the company was doomed to fail. “Reviews of the Solyndra application were rushed and the quality of those reviews was negatively affected by political considerations — namely, the administration’s desire to make public announcements of these events,” the 147-page report charged.
In its eagerness to push its “green” agenda, the White House scheduled an announcement of the Solyndra loan — featuring remarks by Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. — before a required Office of Management and Budget review of the deal even began, according to the report. It contends the Energy Department broke the law when it restructured the loan to give private investors — a prominent fundraiser for President Obama among them — priority over taxpayers in recouping loss in the event of bankruptcy. The report also reveals the White House led last-minute negotiations to save the company with a second restructuring to stave off its collapse in August 2011.