Breaking: FBI raids Solyndra
posted at 12:35 pm on September 8, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
Barack Obama plans on talking about using stimulus funds for job creation tonight. Think he’ll mention Solyndra, which his administration fast-tracked to $535 million in taxpayer-financed loan guarantees? Naaaah:
FBI agents armed with search warrants descended this morning on bankrupt solar company Solynrda this morning.
The investigation comes after a request by the Department of Energy’s inspector general, FBI spokesman Peter Lee told NBC Bay Area News.
Agents arrived at 7a.m. and are examining the factory. Solynrda has a skeleton crew of 100 workers on the scene, closing the factory down. A CNBC photographer on the scene says the FBI has promised a press conference. An agency spokesperson at its San Francisco headquarters says he’s unaware of any such plans.
Just to remind everyone, Obama touted Solyndra as an example of what government subsidies to green-tech firms could do for the economy and job creation. So far, it’s managed to make $535 million disappear from the economy and took 1000 jobs with it. As ABC reported yesterday, taxpayers are actually behind the company’s main investor, George Kaiser, in recouping the losses. Coincidentally, Kaiser was a big bundler for Obama in 2008.
Not only does the now-bankrupt solar energy firm Solyndra have a cozy financial relationship with the Obama administration, company representatives also made numerous visits to the White House to meet with administration officials, The Daily Caller has learned.
According to White House visitor logs, between March 12, 2009, and April 14, 2011, Solyndra officials and investors made no fewer than 20 trips to the West Wing. In the week before the administration awarded Solyndra with the first-ever alternative energy loan guarantee on March 20, four separate visits were logged.
George Kaiser, who has in the past been labeled a major Solyndra investor as well as a Obama donor, made three visits to the White House on March 12, 2009, and one on March 13. Kaiser has denied any direct involvement in the Solyndra deal and through a statement from his foundation said he “did not participate in any discussions with the U.S. government regarding the loan.”
But the countless meetings at the White House seem hardly coincidental. Kaiser, in fact, is responsible for 16 of the 20 meetings that showed up on the White House logs.
Now we have the FBI raiding Obama’s pet green-tech company at the behest of a DoE Inspector General. This of course prompts the question of when this IG gets the Gerald Walpin treatment.
With Obama about to make a case for even more government intervention and manipulation in markets, this raid couldn’t have come at a worse moment for the administration. If this raid turns up any official corruption, though, this moment will look like a Sunday afternoon on a Martha’s Vineyard golf course by comparison.
Update: Oh, by the way, this was Solyndra’s gratitude for getting over a half-billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies:
The chief financial officer of bankrupt start-up Solyndra, which had ramped up its operations after getting a U.S. government loan for solar companies, declined to say on Wednesday if potential buyers would keep its business in the United States. Under questioning at a bankruptcy court hearing by a U.S. government attorney, CFO W.G. Stover declined to identify either of the two companies that have shown an interest in Solyndra’s operations or even where they were based. Asked if the potential buyers might move Solyndra’s unique solar cylinder business overseas, Stover would only say that doing so would increase the cost to a potential buyer.
Feeling the love yet?
Update II: Getting some of this in the comments:
Isn’t Holder in charge of the FBI? He will shut down the investigation and conduct a DOJ investigaton of his own in 5.4.3…
First, the FBI has performed professionally for decades in regards to politics; they learned their lesson from Watergate and the long Hoover reign. Second, the DoJ isn’t conducting the investigation, and technically neither is the DoE. The IG is an independent actor, and the FBI would have to turn over all products from the search to the IG. However, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Darrell Issa to insist on access to the materials as well, since Congress has oversight jurisdiction on executive-legislative agencies like the DoE.