In his latest campaign swing in Colorado on October 27th,President Obama claimed, to local Denver TV reporter Kyle Clark that the decision to give millions in taxpayer dollars to Abound Solar, a now bankrupt company “was made by the Department of Energy,” and had “nothing to do with politics.”
KYLE CLARK: In a national address, you touted the stimulus money going to Abound Solar – a Colorado company connected to one of your billionaire fundraisers. Now, as you may know, Abound Solar is out of business and under criminal investigation. The jobs are gone and taxpayers are out about 60 million dollars. How do you answer critics who see Abound Solar as Colorado’s Solyndra – a politically connected clean energy company that went under and took our money with it?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (Laughs) Well, Kyle, I think that if you look at our record that these loans that are given out by the Department of Energy for clean energy have created jobs all across the country and only about four percent of these loans were going to some very cutting-edge industries that are going to allow us to figure out how to produce energy in a clean, renewable way in the future and create jobs in Colorado and all around the country. And some of them have failed but the vast majority of them are pushing us forward into a clean energy direction. And that’s good for Colorado and good for the country. And these are decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics.
Abound Solar was the baby of major Obama bundler Pat Stryker and is now under criminal investigation for misleading investors. It went bankrupt in mid-2012 after running through through $70 million of a federal loan guarantee worth $400 million.
And of course, as it turns out, giving Abound the money had everything to do with politics, as we now know thanks to e-mails published by Colorado reporter Todd Shepherd that reveal Department of Energy officials pushing the loan hard to Abound Solar because of pressure from the White House:
DOE loan executive Jonathan Silver tells DOE credit advisor Jim McCrea, “You better let him know the WH wants to move Abound forward.” It appears to be a mild scolding to a Treasury advisor, Ian Samuels, who is not moving fast enough to schedule calls regarding Abound.
The second page of the email thread makes mention of “…transaction pressure under which we are all now operating…” This entire email thread happened just a few days before President Obama would hail the government-backed loans as a job creator for Colorado.
Other DOE e-mails unearthed in October reveal just how risky some officials thought these loans were:
“l really cannot fathom how one figures out whether a loan to a PV manufacturer is being made to one that will survive. Everything about the business argues for the failure of many if not most of the suppliers.”
The “PV” reference is to photovoltaic solar panel manufacturing technology. Solyndra and Abound Solar both used PV technology.
The above was written by a high level DOE official in a sort of quasi-confessional.
Rep. Darrel Issa was all over this one, pointing out that Abound at the time it was funded by the DOE had a junk credit rating of B, even lower that another of President Obama's green energy failures, Solyndra.
Abound still got their loan pushed through, and here's an insight into why.
To Barack Obama and the people he brought with him from Chicago, this is business as usual. It's how things are routinely done in that political culture. You reward your backers with taxpayer money and you never look back,because you know you'll be getting some of it returned to you on the rebound, whether it's a high level donor or a public employee union.
If Tony Rezco doesn't receive a presidential pardon and an independent prosecutor were to dangle immunity and a reduced sentence in front of him, we'd hear all sorts of stories about how he and Saddam Hussein's bagman Nadhni Auchi were assisted by an Illinois State legislator named Barack Obama in getting contracts to put up large tracts of public housing that later turned out to be substandard, shoddily constructed and falling apart.
It's the Chicago way.
Like Benghazi, I doubt you're going to hear much about this one from the media, but the funneling of DOE loans to the companies of prominent Obama donors and bundlers is an absolute disgrace, and hopefully Congress will continue to work at exposing it.