Worse and worse: New e-mails show White House rushed OMB to approve Solyndra loan

posted at 10:18 pm on September 13, 2011 by Allahpundit

I was going to do a post about the White House’s stupid new AttackWatch website, where you — yes, you — can report someone saying something mean about Barack Obama. But instead of mocking it, let’s try to get on it. Here’s an attack for them: Why was it so desperately important that Joe Biden announce the Solyndra loan at the groundbreaking ceremony for the company’s new plant that federal analysts had to be rushed through their review of a $500 million deal?

Is that good enough to make the site? Or do I have to throw in something about Obama’s birth certificate?

The August 2009 e-mails, released toThe Washington Post, show White House officials repeatedly asking OMB reviewers when they would be able to decide on the federal loan and noting a looming press event at which they planned to announce the deal. In response, OMB officials expressed concern that they were being rushed to approve the company’s project without adequate time to assess the risk to taxpayers, according to the e-mails, which were provided by Republican congressional investigators…

One e-mail from an OMB official referred to “the time pressure we are under to sign-off on Solyndra.” Another complained, “There isn’t time to negotiate.”

“We have ended up with a situation of having to do rushed approvals on a couple of occasions (and we are worried about Solyndra at the end of the week),” one official wrote. That August 31, 2009, message, written by a senior OMB staffer and sent to Terrell P. McSweeny, Biden’s domestic policy adviser, concluded, “We would prefer to have sufficient time to do our due diligence reviews.”

The White House pressure may have had a “tangible impact” on OMB’s risk assessment of the loan, the congressional investigators concluded.

In one e-mail, an OMB staff member questioned whether the review team was using the best model for determining the financial risk to taxpayers in evaluating the Solyndra deal.

“[G]iven the time pressure we are under to sign-off on Solyndra, we don’t have time to change the model,” the staffer wrote.

Another OMB staffer, when asked by Rahm Emanuel whether there was anything the White House could do to help speed things along, told him flat out that he thought Biden’s announcement should be postponed so that OMB could have “all hands on deck to make sure we get it right.” Andrew Stiles makes a good catch: Until now, the White House has insisted that it didn’t intervene in the deal, but what else would you call it if, due to time constraints, OMB was forced to use a possibly sub-standard model that led to approval of a loan that everyone else knew shouldn’t have been made?

This is how much these people care about taxpayer money. Half a billion dollars down the tubes because they wanted to get one of their speeches just right. Via Verum Serum, here’s Biden’s statement at the groundbreaking. Your tax dollars at work in the toilet.

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