In case you missed it (and it was designed to miss), the White House on Friday released e-mails that suggested former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was approving of the $535 million Department of Energy loan to Solyndra and personally pushed for the president to appear at the solar panel factory in May 2010.
That’s significant because, in October, Emanuel told Chicago radio station WLS 890AM that he didn’t remember anything about the fast-tracked loan to the failed company.
Even now, after e-mails that personally mention him in connection with the scandal have surfaced, Emanuel is still playing the amnesia card. Just yesterday, he responded to WLS Radio’s Bill Cameron in much the same fashion as he did in October:
When Bill Cameron asked Mayor Emanuel what he thought of this development or whether it jogged his memory, he ducked.
“Bill, ya know what I focus on? What I’m doing here today,” Emanuel said to Cameron who followed up with asking the mayor if this jogged his memory to which he responded by saying, “No, no.”
Mayor Emanuel appears to be sticking to the tack that he doesn’t remember anything about Solyndra.
What’s bizarre about Emanuel’s insistent “forgetfulness” is that it only adds to the impression of wrongdoing when this is the sort of involvement he could easily explain away with a simple, “I thought it was a sound investment.” Anybody who has observed the overlap between Solyndra investors and Obama campaign donors would know better — this was obviously pay-to-play — but it would certainly serve Emanuel better to own up to whatever part he played in the deal than to continue to brush off the increasingly obvious evidence.
Update: Gawker also reports Emanuel used his private Gmail account to e-mail administration officials — although the content of the e-mail(s) is unknown. If that content comes to light, it could be relevant to this or other scandals. Either way, if Emanuel used a private address to conduct government business, that’s problematic for several reasons.