October 8, 2011. Washington. With the release of a statement yesterday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, President Obama’s first jobs bill, a stimulus package, is looking more and more like a scandal plagued embezzlement and kick-back scheme with the President’s closest advisers pulling the strings and his largest donors making millions. With the investigation now including the Secretary of Energy, the Vice President and even the President himself, the word Solyndra will soon be a household name.
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu is at the center of the White House Solyndra scandal.
Unwinding the conspiracy isn’t easy. The story begins as early as 2008, possibly earlier. But it was in 2008 that a married couple, Steven and Allison Spinner, put the first phase of the plan into action. Steven Spinner is a Silicon Valley financial speculator while Allison Spinner is an attorney at the law firm of Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich and Rosati.
Enter Steven Spinner - 2008
During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Steven Spinner used his connections in the financial sector and the alternative energy industry to raise $500,000 for then candidate Barack Obama. After paying the Obama campaign $500,000 and after Barack Obama’s election to the White House, Steven Spinner collected his initial winnings. He was awarded a cushy, upper-level position inside the US Department of Energy.
Almost immediately, the President used his inheritance of the devastated Bush economy to push through a ‘stimulus package’. Economists warned that America couldn’t afford two packages, so the first one better work and not be used to pay back political donors. The President was also warned not to buy jobs. The goal was to kick-start the private sector and get the economy moving again. As it turned out, much of the money ended up in the hands of the newly elected President’s campaign contributors. From the nations unions to a few hand-picked corporations like Solyndra, a great deal of the country’s $787 billion dollar ‘stimulus package’ was funneled into the pockets of Obama contributors.
Enter Allison Spinner - 2008
At the same time that Steven Spinner was turning his half million dollar donation to the Obama election campaign into a high-paying job inside the Energy Department, Allison Spinner was playing her own part in the scheme. Allison Spinner’s law firm had a small alternative energy company in California as a client. The company made solar panels and was called Solyndra. Solyndra executives were desperate to get their hands on some of the billions of dollars for ‘clean energy’ funding that President Obama promised during his campaign. Solyndra had previously petitioned the Bush administration for funds, but was flatly rejected due to the company’s B+ junk credit rating by Fitch. Solyndra’s chances of success were considered a long-shot gamble at best.
Enter George Kaiser - 2008
To help Solyndra motivate a new administration, George Kaiser stepped in. The George Kaiser Family Foundation is a 35.7 percent owner of Solyndra. George Kaiser personally delivered between $50,000 and $100,000 in funds to the Barack Obama election campaign in 2008. If Barack Obama was going to be giving out money to clean energy companies, Kaiser wanted to buy Solyndra a spot at the front of the line. Coincidentally, they got it.
Enter Valerie Jarrett - 2009
As President Obama’s closest friend and advisor, Valerie Jarrett was balancing two very important campaign promises. One was passage of a multi-billion dollar package for clean energy companies and the other was making sure Solyndra was the first to receive the spoils. When George Kaiser met with Jarrett, he was very insistent. Over the past week, emails and media accounts citing ‘anonymous’ White House officials have consistently placed Ms. Jarrett at the center of the controversy. But she definitely wasn’t alone.
Emails reveal that former White House Chief of Staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, newly hired financial analyst Steven Spinner and Energy Secretary Steven Chu, pushed for a rushed approval for Solyndra. Vice President Biden and Energy Secretary Chu were already scheduled to attend Solyndra’s new groundbreaking event celebrating the government’s multi-billion dollar investment in the failing company.
The groundbreaking was scheduled for September 4, 2009. After legitimate scrutiny by every agency from Justice to the GAO, “failing” was one of the kinder words being used to describe Solyndra. In lay terms, the company made solar panes but had to charge vastly higher prices than their Chinese competitors. The more Solyndra lowered its prices to compete, the more money it lost on each panel it made and sold. Every analyst who looked into the government loan guarantee knew it would only keep the business afloat for a year at best.
Steven Spinner, the original inside man, had been forced to stay out of the Solyndra loan because of his wife’s involvement with the company. But his entire job consisted of monitoring and advising on the loan to Solyndra and a handful of other green energy companies. Numerous emails repeatedly show Spinner taking an active roll in the loan process, rushing the timing and coercing decision makers in other departments responsible for the loan’s approval.
Many inside the Executive branch of the Federal government were feeling the pressure from inside the White House and the Energy Department to make the Solnydra deal happen before the groundbreaking ceremony. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel even tried to get President Obama to appear himself. Emails show Spinner extremely involved in the Solyndra groundbreaking and envisioning “golden shovels”.
The newly released emails reveal that officials were either pressured or ignored inside the Justice Department, the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget by Energy Department officials and White House senior staff regarding the loan to Solyndra. In the end, Solyndra was awarded $535 million dollars in loans, loans it would never pay back.
Enter Matt Rogers
Matt Rogers is a Senior Advisor at the Department of Energy. Rogers was personally responsible for overseeing the stimulus money going to green energy companies and Steven Spinner’s boss. It was assumedly Rogers’ responsibility to insure Spinner didn’t take advantage of his personal conflict of interest and make sure Spinner wasn’t, “engaging in any discussions on decisions affecting specific loan applications". Rogers’ email immediately after the Solyndra loan deal went through to Steven Spinner proves that Spinner not only didn’t stay out of the deal, he drove it. “Thanks for driving Solyndra” Rogers emailed Spinner.
Emails also reveal that Vice President Biden and President Obama knew full well that Spinner was working on the Solynra deal. One email from Steven Spinner showed just how involved the three were together, “Any word from OMB? I have the OVP [Office of the Vice President] and WH [White House] breathing down my neck on this.”
Not only did Solyndra receive its $535 million, but Steven Spinner’s wife Allison Spinner also cashed in. Allison’s law firm - Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich and Rosati – was paid $2.4 million dollars by the government for its work on the Solyndra loan deal.
Where’d the Money Go? – February 2011
In February of this year, Solyndra executives reached out to the government to quietly inform them that the company was about to file for bankruptcy. Both Solyndra and White House senior advisors knew the embarrassment the President would face if his poster child company for the entire stimulus program went bankrupt. Together, another loan guarantee was forced through. In less than 2 years, $535 million dollars had vanished from Solyndra.
Solyndra needed $75 million more dollars to stay afloat. One private investor who also happened to be an Obama fundraiser, agreed to make the loan, but only if it came with government guarantees. Against the advice of numerous Federal agencies, on February 23, Energy Secretary Steven Chu approved the second loan deal.
By August, word began leaking out of the Executive Branch hinting at just how ‘inside’ this deal was. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Mary Miller, emailed the White House Budget Director saying, “In February, we requested in writing that DOE seek the Department of Justice's approval of any proposed restructuring. To our knowledge, that has never happened." She went on to complain, “DOE has not responded to any requests for information about Solyndra".
Yesterday, members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a statement detailing the initial results of their investigation into Solyndra and the nation’s stimulus money. The statement said:
“The paper trail released by the White House portrays a disturbingly close relationship between President Obama’s West Wing inner circle, campaign donors, and wealthy investors. After 8 months of stonewalling by this Administration, today we finally learn one of the reasons why they fought our investigation every step of the way.”
With the newly released treasure trove of White House correspondence, this story is just beginning to unfold. This isn’t the first scandal involving government funds that appears to have reached all the way to the White House. President Obama is also in the center of a Chicago scandal involving more of his early campaign contributors. Read the Whiteout Press article, ‘Obama at Center of Chicago Corruption Scandal’ for details.
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