IF there is any justice in this world, the name Solyndra will live on through the years as the exemplar of crony capitalism gone wrong in America, even after President Obama is safely away from the White House.
Ever since the solar manufacturing firm went bankrupt, sinking last year with Obama's $527 million investment aboard, it has been generally acknowledged as a policy and public relations disaster. But now that the House Energy and Commerce Committee has released thousands of emails between Obama administration officials and key Solyndra players, the enormity of this disaster is becoming clearer.
In its public pronouncements, the Obama administration insisted that the Solyndra investment had absolutely nothing to do with politics. The recently released emails definitively prove that is false.
One email, from a venture capitalist to Obama mega donor George Kaiser, describes “the politics and pressure” surrounding Solyndra's selection as a loan guarantee recipient to be “nothing short of ridiculous at some level.”
Another email shows that Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel pushed his boss to visit Solyndra's factory floor. And another shows that both the White House and the vice president's office pressured the Energy Department to speed up Solyndra's loan approval. This was not a decision driven by the merits.
Private-sector players did not view the company as worthy of taxpayer risk. Brad Jones, an adviser with Solyndra investor Redpoint Ventures, emailed White House National Economic Council Chairman Lawrence Summers to tell him that while a government loan would benefit him personally, “I can't imagine it's a good way for the government to use taxpayer money.”