Key Solyndra figures get red carpet treatment at Democratic convention?

posted at 10:01 am on September 5, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Want to know what Barack Obama’s second-term agenda will be?  Looking at the VIP admissions to the Democratic convention, the assumption will be more Solyndras and more wasted taxpayer dollars.  ABC News caught former Department of Energy official Steve Spinner getting a “red-carpet” tour yesterday of the facilities in Charlotte.  Who’s Steve Spinner, you may ask?  He’s the man who pushed the DoE to ignore the advice of auditors and approve Solyndra’s $500 million-plus taxpayer-guaranteed loan:

An elite Obama fundraiser hired to help oversee the administration’s energy loan program pushed and prodded career Department of Energy officials to move faster in approving a loan guarantee for Solyndra, even as his wife’s law firm was representing the California solar company, according to internal emails made public late Friday.

“How hard is this? What is he waiting for?” wrote Steven J. Spinner, a high-tech consultant and energy investor who raised at least $500,000 for the candidate before being appointed to a key job helping oversee the energy loan guarantee program. “I have OVP [the Office of the Vice President] and WH [the White House] breathing down my neck on this.”

The emails occurred less than two weeks after Spinner received a three-page ethics agreement in which he pledges he will “not participate in any discussion regarding any application involving [his wife's law firm] Wilson [Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati].”

What happened when ABC trained their cameras on Spinner?  He scurried out of the spotlight:

The Obama campaign rolled out the red carpet this week for a former top Energy Department official who was at the center of the ill-fated government loan to Solyndra, a California solar panel firm that wound up in bankruptcy.

Steven J. Spinner joined other top fundraisers for a VIP tour of the Democratic National Convention floor in Charlotte Monday evening, posing and waving for a photographer while standing behind the podium. When he saw ABC News cameras, however, he ran for the exit.

Spinner’s not the only Solyndra figure to make an appearance at the Democratic convention.  Politico reports that the DNC will have Steve Westly as a speaker tonight, early in the agenda.  Westly was a more cautionary voice on Solyndra — but also bragged about his ability to leverage his status as a 2008 bundler to get hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies on the green-tech boondoggles of Obama’s stimulus package:

Our colleagues on 44 reported in July that Steve Westly, the former California state comptroller and donor who cautioned the Obama administration about the Solyndra investment, was at a fundraiser for the president, and now he is on a the speaking roster tonight at the Democratic National Convention, according to the list that was released.

Westly will be speaking in the 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. hour, according to the lineup.

Let’s recall the role Westly has played for Obama:

When the White House announced the federal government would loan $465 million to Tesla, a California start-up company with plans to develop an all-electric sedan, President Obama called it an “historic opportunity to ensure that the next generation of fuel-efficient cars and trucks are made in America.”

The loan also represented a lucrative opportunity for Steve Westly, a major investor in the car company who had raised more than $500,000 for the president’s campaign.

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy lent more than half a billion dollars to companies backed by Westly’s California venture capital firm. In 2010, the White House tapped Westly for a seat on a special energy advisory panel that gives him regular access to Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Westly boasts on his website that his firm is “uniquely positioned” to take advantage of the Obama administration’s interest in green energy.

The RNC put Westly at the top of this graphic depicting the circle of cronyism in the Obama administration:

Spinner made the graphic, too.  After last night’s Abortion-Palooza, it looks like tonight’s agenda will be My Little Cronies.


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