Business

Obama supporter tried to warn of Solyndra troubles

Monday, October 03, 2011

House Democrats released emails Monday that warned senior White House officials that Fremont solar panel maker Solyndra might be on shaky financial ground and that a potential bankruptcy could be embarrassing to the president.

Solyndra filed for bankruptcy last month after receiving a $535 million federally guaranteed loan a year earlier to build a new manufacturing plant. The goal was to create jobs and stimulate the economy while supporting a clean technology future.

One such email came from Steve Westly, former California co-chair for the 2008 Obama Presidential campaign and a major fundraiser, just before the president paid a visit to the newly completed Solyndra plant in May 2010. Westly wrote, "...the President should be careful about unrealistic/optimistic forecasts that could haunt him... if Solyndra hits the wall, files for bankruptcy."

Another email was written in December, 2009 to then presidential economic advisor Lawrence Summers. Brad Jones, who's Redpoint Ventures had a stake in Solyndra, wrote, "I can't imagine it's a good way for the government to use taxpayer money."

A call to Jones has not been returned. Westly indicated through a spokesperson that he will not be speaking publicly.

President Barack Obama responded to the emails in an interview Monday with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News. "Hindsight is always 20/20," Obama said. "It went through the regular review process, and people felt like this was a good bet."

ABC7 political analyst Bruce Cain expects heads to roll.

"If you make a huge mistake, if you make a misjudgment that costs billions and embarrassment to the president, that you will be accountable for that, and I think to not fire anybody would be a mistake, a political mistake," Cain said.

Cain believes Energy Secretary Steven Chu is one possibility. The Department of Energy was involved in the review and approval of the $535 million loan to Solyndra. Taxpayers are now on the hook for that loan.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
solyndra, barack obama, business, david louie
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