In congressional testimony yesterday, Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu claimed he had no idea how shaky Solyndra was — nor the solar industry, in general. He pushed a $535 million loan to the company because he thought it would create jobs and displace oil, he said. Much of that testimony wasn’t exactly accurate. The White House had plenty of warning about the solar industry collapse — and the job creation claim was always sketchy.
But even if every single word Chu spoke was true, his testimony does little to shore up confidence in his decision-making skills. (Nor does the fact that he’s still firm in his commitment to investment in solar energy, as evidenced by his trip today to a solar energy facility in Colorado.) So, it’s really no surprise that at least a couple of politicians have begun to call for his ouster. Scribe’s Lachlan Markay reports:
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Friday said Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s lack of knowledge about the problems plaguing now-bankrupt Solyndra demonstrates poor management skills that preclude him from being an effective Cabinet-level official.
“I would look to have somebody else manage” the Department of Energy, McCarthy said on a Friday conference call. “Things were going on that he did not know about,” he added. “That’s not the way you should be managing.”
Those comments echo remarks by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s lead investigator. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) said Thursday that Chu should be replaced.
“I think the secretary is unaware of so many things that have happened that would question his financial ability and his management of very complex corporations,” Stearns said. “He probably should be replaced by the president,” he added.
Given the way the president has responded to the resounding chorus of calls for Eric Holder’s resignation, it’s doubtful he’ll replace Chu. Then again, while Chu didn’t admit to improper motives for the loan to Solyndra, he did take full responsibility for approving it. That’s far more than Eric Holder has done with the Fast and Furious scandal. Instead, Holder has stuck to the line that he didn’t know about the controversial gunwalking tactics an agency within his own department employed.
Either way, it all redounds to Obama’s discredit. He sure does know how to pick ’em.