Videos: Grilling DoE official over Solyndra

posted at 3:25 pm on September 14, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Freshman Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) has a name that sounds more like a law firm — and that’s appropriate to keep in mind in this clip from today’s House hearing on Solyndra.  Griffith, a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on oversight and investigations, grills the Department of Energy’s Jonathan Silver about the decision to subordinate taxpayer investment in Solyndra to a new investor, Argonaut, as the green-tech firm was failing.  Griffith points out that Congress made clear that taxpayer funds for green-energy loans were not to be subordinated to other investors in case of bankruptcy and demands to know why Silver and the Obama administration disregarded it.  Silver responds that the DoE needed to use all tools it could to attempt to salvage the company to protect taxpayer funds — and Griffith pounces at the answer:

Even as the DoE knew that Solyndra was going under, they still decided to backstop Argonaut in order to get George Kaiser to throw away $75 million more in an attempt to keep Solyndra from circling the drain — all of which Kaiser will recover before taxpayers see a dime, thanks to the DoE’s subordination of taxpayers in bankruptcy position. Silver also makes two other key admissions in this clip. First, the DoE knew as early as late July that Solyndra would go under, but apparently made no attempt at all to tell Congress, which was at the time demanding the DoE’s records on the loan and their involvement in it. Second, Silver also admits that the very market conditions that the DoE and White House have used as an excuse for Solyndra’s collapse were just as evident in January as in July. Yet it seems that the DoE did nothing to back taxpayers away from the sinkhole.

In fact, as Silver admits, those conditions were well known for years, even prior to approving the Solyndra loan.  If that’s true, then why did Obama and his team sink $535 million in taxpayer dollars into Solyndra in the first place?  Because the Bush administration, despite allegations from Democrats today, took a pass on Solyndra when it came time to actually approving a loan:

But GOP officials disputed that the Bush administration was willing to go along with a loan guarantee for Solyndra, noting that a Department of Energy committee voted against offering a conditional commitment to Solyndra in January 2009. The committee said the deal was premature and questioned its underlying financial support, said Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida, chaiman of the investigative panel for the Energy and Commerce Committee.

So who did give the OK for the redistribution?  Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) can’t get Silver to say:

“You’re the driver, Mr. Silver. You’re the driver.”

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Deny deny deny lie deny deny deny lie.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

Good Lt on September 14, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Almost as entertaining as Clinton’s Impeachment Trial.

Del Dolemonte on September 14, 2011 at 3:28 PM

Nothing says ‘astute financial management’ better than loaning more money to cover other failing loans. Just like doubling the bet you put down on roulette, it just has to pay off sometime, right?

Skandia Recluse on September 14, 2011 at 3:29 PM

These two political appointees were the most arrogant witnesses I have seen in some time. They must know someone has their back.

d1carter on September 14, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Good Lt on September 14, 2011 at 3:27 PM

this

cmsinaz on September 14, 2011 at 3:31 PM

What does it mean to “subordinate” the funds?

radjah shelduck on September 14, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Are these people under oath? If so, if what they say is found to be a lie what can be done to them? I know holder has to deal with them, but they need to be held accountable, don’t they?
L

letget on September 14, 2011 at 3:34 PM

This makes me sick.

AZCoyote on September 14, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Shell game. All designed to bail out a big Democrat supporter with taxpayer dollars, some of which then comes back as campaign contributions. The Tammany Hall crowd would be pleased.

rbj on September 14, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Disgusting, and irresponsible use of positions of power. Vile, and vomit inducing. I’m just so thoroughly disgusted by this!!!

capejasmine on September 14, 2011 at 3:37 PM

What does it mean to “subordinate” the funds?

radjah shelduck on September 14, 2011 at 3:34 PM

They let a private investor, who is an Obama backer, put money into Solyndra with the guarantee that, if something went wrong and the company gets sold off, he gets his money back before the US taxpayer does.

AubieJon on September 14, 2011 at 3:37 PM

“You’re the driver, Mr. Silver. You’re the driver.”

…more obstruction and non-answers from the “it’s not me” administration.

They have already tried to blame it on Bush…

……..I guess Japan,ATM’s and the Tea Party are up next.

Baxter Greene on September 14, 2011 at 3:38 PM

radjah shelduck on September 14, 2011 at 3:34 PM

In this case, the private investors will get their money back(if any) first. The American taxpayers come last…

d1carter on September 14, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Now they really can’t blame it on Bush.

RDE2010 on September 14, 2011 at 3:38 PM

The Fast and the Furious, Solyndra Green, NBPanthers and Gibson Guitar Raid.
Racking up quite the scandals there in a few years.

carbon_footprint on September 14, 2011 at 3:39 PM

They really tried to say that this was just a continuation of the loan approval process started under Booooooooosh.

d1carter on September 14, 2011 at 3:40 PM

Almost as entertaining as Clinton’s Impeachment Trial.

Del Dolemonte on September 14, 2011 at 3:28 PM

Atleast Clinton came out to lie about his actions. Has Obama said anything about this?

RDE2010 on September 14, 2011 at 3:40 PM

I’m more surprised by the aggressive, intelligent questioning by the committee members than the obfuscating bureaucrat.

rickyricardo on September 14, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Silver: “We sent you over 35,000 papers.”

WTF? Flood the investigators with mounds of BS to buy time to come up with a new pack of lies.

Imagine how much better off our country would be today if ALL of our representatives from day one had been farmers and other common folk instead of kazillions of lawyers, writing laws in congress so other lawyers can make boatloads of money defending the 1000 page bills they sign into law while barely reading them?

fogw on September 14, 2011 at 3:41 PM

“All of which Kaiser will recover before taxpayers see a dime, thanks to the DoE’s subordination of taxpayers in bankruptcy position”

But and unions buddies got their money in the GM bankruptcy as FIRST LIEN creditors got the shaft and were thrown under the bus along with hundreds of years of contract law.

Opposite Day on September 14, 2011 at 3:42 PM

What does it mean to “subordinate” the funds?

radjah shelduck on September 14, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Good question.

In a loan situation, there has to be a priority when loans are secured by collateral. What happens if someone forecloses on your house and there’s not enough money to pay all the debt? Well, if you have two mortgages, a judgment lien, and some mechanics liens… someone gets the shaft. The priority of the loans then matters. In first priority, get paid first. If you get all the money, sucks to be the second priority position.

Priority is usually established by who loaned first. So, in Solyndra’s case, the government loaned money before the Democrat billionare. Thus, the taxpayers would, normally, be in line to get repaid first by Solyndra, before the Democrat billioniare Kaiser.

But what happened is in February, the government agreed that they would “subordinate” their loan to Kaiser’s loan. I.E. whereas before they had priority over Kaiser, they agreed that they would give that up and let Kaiser get paid first, in full, before the government and taxpayers saw a dime.

That is, of course, what is driving this. It looks like Obama agreed to let the taxpayers just funnel millions to Kaiser.

Vanceone on September 14, 2011 at 3:42 PM

Disgusting, and irresponsible use of positions of power. Vile, and vomit inducing. I’m just so thoroughly disgusted by this!!!

capejasmine on September 14, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Agree….

Their fraud and theft of our money to fatten their bank accounts and gain power on the Hill is beyond infuriating….

…and now the Golfer-n-Chief is out there demanding more and wanting to raise our taxes to pay for it.

Absolutely maddening.

Baxter Greene on September 14, 2011 at 3:42 PM

Shell game. All designed to bail out a big Democrat supporter with taxpayer dollars, some of which then comes back as campaign contributions. The Tammany Hall crowd would be pleased.

rbj on September 14, 2011 at 3:36 PM

That, or it was just deposited to certain accounts. *cough* OBAMA *cough*

I doubt any of it, actually went to Solyndra. Obama needs to have a nice cushy retirement. He needs to keep Michelle in the lifestyle to which she’s become accustomed to.

capejasmine on September 14, 2011 at 3:42 PM

The witnesses basically said that this was a high risk loan and that the Stimulus was just so good that we had to shovel the money out the door…

d1carter on September 14, 2011 at 3:42 PM

Quick, let’s give Obama another $500 billion before it’s too late!

forest on September 14, 2011 at 3:43 PM

Sadly, this is typical of Washington.

What the #E!! it’s not my money, but I get to spend it and look like some kind of big man.

Aaargh!

FOWG1 on September 14, 2011 at 3:44 PM

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING?

Perfect.

Tim_CA on September 14, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Wow, Murphy’s a pit bull. Too bad Silver didn’t actually answer any of his questions.

John Deaux on September 14, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Griffith was one of the toss up winners last fall, beating a Dem who’d held the seat (in a GOP district) for 28 years.

changer1701 on September 14, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Will Obama go down for this?

dogsoldier on September 14, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Are these people under oath? If so, if what they say is found to be a lie what can be done to them? I know holder has to deal with them, but they need to be held accountable, don’t they?
L

letget on September 14, 2011 at 3:34 PM

They could be jailed for lying to Congress, just like Cheney’s Scooter was for supposedly fibbing to the FBI – but don’t hold your breath. I suspect the DoJ has to take the lead here. But Holder won’t lift a finger.

honsy on September 14, 2011 at 3:51 PM

What does it mean to “subordinate” the funds?

radjah shelduck on September 14, 2011 at 3:34 PM
It basically means in this context that while the government, our dollars, were supposed to be paid before other creditors, like Obama’s campaign contributor, the government agreed to be paid after Obama’s campaign contributor. It means giving up priority payment, in favor of some other creditors.

GaltBlvnAtty on September 14, 2011 at 3:51 PM

Will Obama go down for this?

dogsoldier on September 14, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Doubtful. He wouldn’t go down on me.

Sincerely yours,

Larry Sinclair

honsy on September 14, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Will Obama go down for this?

dogsoldier on September 14, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Tell me more.

faraway on September 14, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Quick, let’s give Obama another $500 billion before it’s too late!

forest on September 14, 2011 at 3:43 PM

Al Gore is getting money, another solar company is getting money, unions, teachers…the list goes on. Everyone is getting a lot of OUR money, and the people are just being hung out to pay it back via more taxes. Anger doesn’t even begin to cover all the emotions I have over this.

capejasmine on September 14, 2011 at 3:53 PM

Will Obama go down for this?

dogsoldier on September 14, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Sadly, the odds are that nobody will. It’s just business as usual in D.C.

AZCoyote on September 14, 2011 at 3:53 PM

Will Obama go down for this?

dogsoldier on September 14, 2011 at 3:49 PM

What do you wanna bet, that Obama is saying…hey…we backed off of going after Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and others. There’s still time to bring THAT back up again.

capejasmine on September 14, 2011 at 3:54 PM

I doubt any of it, actually went to Solyndra. Obama needs to have a nice cushy retirement. He needs to keep Michelle in the lifestyle to which she’s become accustomed to.

capejasmine on September 14, 2011 at 3:42 PM

Will be interesting to see just how rich they are in 2013, when they’re out of office.

rbj on September 14, 2011 at 3:54 PM

“Grilling”?

Someone should send them a dead fish

faraway on September 14, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Will be interesting to see just how rich they are in 2013, when they’re out of office.

rbj on September 14, 2011 at 3:54 PM

I hope they get audited annually – with no charitable deductions allowed since O’Bambi is not letting any of us take them any more.

honsy on September 14, 2011 at 3:57 PM

OMG, “what do you do for a living,”
Half a billion and no one’s to blame!!!

joeindc44 on September 14, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Just remember this when a politician stands up and says that they can’t cut any money from the government…

… or else teachers, police, and fire fighters will loose their jobs.

Seven Percent Solution on September 14, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Good thing Holder’s attack dogs seized all the evidence.

John the Libertarian on September 14, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Will be interesting to see just how rich they are in 2013, when they’re out of office.

rbj on September 14, 2011 at 3:54 PM

Same with Biden. I remember his charitable contributions were volunteering, since he and his wife didn’t make near the money others had. So he couldn’t afford to give money. Betcha after all is said and done, and and wifey are building a new, bigger home. You know…for the grandkids. ;)

capejasmine on September 14, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Seven Percent Solution on September 14, 2011 at 4:01 PM

I mentioned this earlier this morning. UAW workers are talking strike. Those with GM and Chrysler. Not sure about Ford. Anyway…their demands are, pay raises, better health coverage, and bonuses. Possibly profit sharing? In this economy, how selfish do people get??? Especially when tax payers bailed them out not so long ago.

Coincidence, that this sudden urge to strike coincides with Obama’s jobs bill? Perhaps the unions sending a message to Obama for more money, or perhaps a promise was made, if the bill passes?

capejasmine on September 14, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Change.

visions on September 14, 2011 at 4:11 PM

“One lawyer with a briefcase can steal more than 100 men with guns.”
Don Corleone

docflash on September 14, 2011 at 4:13 PM

“is not subordinated”

We don’t know what the meaning of the word “is” is.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on September 14, 2011 at 4:15 PM

I enjoy a good savaging in the morning.

princetrumpet on September 14, 2011 at 4:27 PM

If that’s true, then why did Obama and his team…

Better to ferret out the whens and hows and how the illegality pieces fit the puzzle than to spend too long pondering the whys. Repeating that they are corrupt and cynical to the core gets old and becomes mere background radiation, like from the Big Bang. Think of them as public sector entrepreneurs. Everyone involved will get financially healthy, both now and in their future careers. A select few unfortunates will be grilled like this and maybe one or the other might go to a country club jailhouse for a few months. They have no intention of working to improve the country or work for the people or the poor. The ideology is just a way to get into office, an easy sell and an easy line to drone repeatedly. They could be campaigning for office or selling fake ovenware out of a van on Southside. Same mindset. It’s all a hustle. The prize that their eyes are on is a number, the one in their bank accounts.

curved space on September 14, 2011 at 4:31 PM

capejasmine on September 14, 2011 at 4:10 PM

That is why even when he has members of his own party in the Senate saying this bill is not going anywhere…

… Obowma is out saying “If you love me, help me pass this bill.”

Get ready for some serious civil unrest…

Seven Percent Solution on September 14, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Will be interesting to see just how rich they are in 2013, when they’re out of office.

rbj on September 14, 2011 at 3:54 PM

I hope they get audited annually – with no charitable deductions allowed since O’Bambi is not letting any of us take them any more.

honsy on September 14, 2011 at 3:57 PM

Is Obama going to have to get his first real job after this?

RDE2010 on September 14, 2011 at 4:40 PM

Murphy is brutal, but good for him. $500 million used to sound like real money. In my commercial lending days, we used to say that your first loss is your least loss. The DoE workout group apparently decided that they had a better chance of recovering their principal if they subordinated another $75 million to another investor?

Not sound thinking.

Jaibones on September 14, 2011 at 4:44 PM

Good thing Holder’s attack dogs seized all the evidence.

John the Libertarian on September 14, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Yup. Shred the evidence!

Jaibones on September 14, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Now we need to find out who was administering these loans. Last I heard, DOE wasn’t chock full of lending experts. Someone made that decision to ask Kaiser for more money and to subordinate the original loan to his. Someone else had to draw the legal documents for that and someone else probably signed them. If this violated the law as written by Congress, heads need to roll here, and a lot of them.

rockmom on September 14, 2011 at 4:58 PM

If that’s true, then why did Obama and his team sink $535 million in taxpayer dollars into Solyndra in the first place?

SHORT ANSWER: Because they wanted a ‘green jobs’ photo-op, and the money wasn’t coming out of their pocket.

GarandFan on September 14, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Imagine how much better off our country would be today if ALL of our representatives from day one had been farmers and other common folk instead of kazillions of lawyers, writing laws in congress so other lawyers can make boatloads of money defending the 1000 page bills they sign into law while barely reading them?

fogw on September 14, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Imagine if they were as careful with the taxcpayers’ money as they presumably are with their own.

Disgusting.

disa on September 14, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Obama’s gonna need a bigger raffle.

joedoe on September 14, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Another fake scandal.

- crr6

Ward Cleaver on September 14, 2011 at 5:30 PM

rockmom on September 14, 2011 at 4:58 PM

I was just watching The 5, on Fox. First time I’ve seen it. I don’t think it will last, but they were talking about Solyndra. Beckel! God how did he get that job??? Going on and on about how this is Republican up to their old ways, slandering and attacking Obama without evidence. The emails prove nothing, blah blah blah. It was sickening. This is OUR money, BOB!!! Get that?

You’re so busy defending that weasle in mom jeans you can’t see straight. How about defending the tax payer? Huh? How about that???

capejasmine on September 14, 2011 at 5:35 PM

The next question I have is, how many more Solyndras are there, that we haven’t heard about? Ones that haven’t failed, but are still sweetheart deals, or involve Obama donors or bundlers?

Ward Cleaver on September 14, 2011 at 5:36 PM

You’re so busy defending that weasle in mom jeans you can’t see straight. How about defending the tax payer? Huh? How about that???

capejasmine on September 14, 2011 at 5:35 PM

It’s like I always say, with the libs, politics trumps everything.

Ward Cleaver on September 14, 2011 at 5:37 PM

The next question I have is, how many more Solyndras are there, that we haven’t heard about? Ones that haven’t failed, but are still sweetheart deals, or involve Obama donors or bundlers?

Ward Cleaver on September 14, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Might have to wait until the official ouster, come 2013.

honsy on September 14, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Good job, Rep. Griffith.

For the first time in my life, I can be proud of the 9th District/

hillbillyjim on September 14, 2011 at 5:45 PM

These Congressmen are awesome, I hope this goes viral and gives them support and a few others an idea of how we expect them to act.

tim c on September 14, 2011 at 5:52 PM

These Congressmen are awesome, I hope this goes viral and gives them support and a few others an idea of how we expect them to act.

tim c on September 14, 2011 at 5:52 PM

I’m liking my Rep. (Griffith) more and more by the day. I was checking him out on votesmart.org and he’s the real deal on most issues.

He unseated Rick Boucher (D), who held the seat for 28 years.

hillbillyjim on September 14, 2011 at 6:02 PM

Dick Cheney was supposed to know what was going on at every field office of Haliburton 5 years after he left and divested his interest in the company, but the head of this division isn’t responsible for his own staff.

How does that work?

barnone on September 14, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Caught red handed. How many of you know DOE head Steven Chu just fast-tracked a $1.2 BILLION federal loan to Mojave Solar? Congress is investigating Solyndra and yet Chu is still handing out taxpayer’s money to green companies by the billions. Looks like they’ve figured out the scam is up and they need to get all the cash in the pipeline out the door before Congress shuts them down.

manofaiki on September 14, 2011 at 6:27 PM

How does that work?

barnone on September 14, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Simple…put a “D” behind your name. You can get away with anything.

milwife88 on September 14, 2011 at 6:51 PM

A lot of these smarmy bast@rds need to start going to jail for perjury. This I don’t know crap is for the birds.

Sporty1946 on September 14, 2011 at 6:52 PM

Speaking of Nixon…

Nixon was bush league compared to these thieving, rotten, greedy, lying pricks….

BigWyo on September 14, 2011 at 6:59 PM

Just yesterday the DOE finalized a $1.2 billion loan for Mojave Solar Power Plant in southern CA. 900 jobs will be created at the cost of $1.3 million per job.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/277131/doe-announces-12-billion-loan-solar-firm-andrew-stiles

GrannySunni on September 14, 2011 at 7:17 PM

We have many layers if problems here.

The loan was pushed thru and actually a personal loan. I doubt they have perfected their lien. This sock puppet was told what to do and when to be quiet. I bet every time he spoke up if he did, they went over his head to the West Wing.

The chief economist for this disaster is Rosie Scenario Phd. Apparently she does business plans on the side for greenie weenie borrowers.

seven on September 14, 2011 at 7:31 PM

“I doubt any of it, actually went to Solyndra. Obama needs to have a nice cushy retirement. He needs to keep Michelle in the lifestyle to which she’s become accustomed to.”

Well, I don’t mean to sound sarcastic about this, but they have to have some Plan B after giving up their law licenses. (Actually I do mean to sound sarcastic.)

yesiamapirate on September 14, 2011 at 7:50 PM

Ugh…I’m going over to one of those Obama is down in the polls happy threads.

lynncgb on September 14, 2011 at 7:53 PM

Shell game. All designed to bail out a big Democrat supporter with taxpayer dollars, some of which then comes back as campaign contributions. The Tammany Hall crowd would be pleased.

rbj on September 14, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Happens every day in Washington, and it
ain’t just Democrats doing it.

SlimyBill on September 14, 2011 at 8:42 PM

“I doubt any of it, actually went to Solyndra. Obama needs to have a nice cushy retirement. He needs to keep Michelle in the lifestyle to which she’s become accustomed to.”

Well, I don’t mean to sound sarcastic about this, but they have to have some Plan B after giving up their law licenses. (Actually I do mean to sound sarcastic.)

yesiamapirate on September 14, 2011 at 7:50 PM

He doesn’t need his law license, that’s too much like real work anyway. He can go on the Billy Clinton speech circuit and clean up. Billy made over $100m in the last ten years that way, and probably more stashed in Switzerland.

slickwillie2001 on September 14, 2011 at 9:21 PM

capejasmine on September 14, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Naw, I think they want more money so they can build high solid walls around their “nooner parking lot parties” keep them pesky reporters and cameras from filming them drinking and drugging for lunch!

DSchoen on September 14, 2011 at 10:01 PM