Newly released communications regarding the loan approval for Solyndra, the now failed California solar energy company, show direct intervention by an Energy Department adviser and Obama campaign fundraiser, and raise new questions of possible involvement by Rahm Emanuel and the President. As more is learned, it becomes increasingly clear that the Administration used the Stimulus, and specifically the green energy loan program, as a campaign slush fund to distribute billions of dollars like party favors to supporters and to grandstand for re-election to a perceived constituency.
By mid-2009, the White House was obsessing to make headlines with an announcement of a $535 million loan to Solyndra as the first of many green energy loans in the DOE's pipeline that would be funded by the recently passed Stimulus. Initially the staff tried to schedule an announcement by Obama, and later as approval was delayed, they shifted to the Vice-President.
"Ron said this morning that the POTUS definitely wants to do this (or Rahm definitely wants the POTUS to do this?)," a White House staffer told an Obama scheduler on August 17, 2009 according to The Washington Post. This was a reference to Ron Klain, Chief of Staff at that time for the Vice-President. "Rahm" refers to Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff to the President.
The Solyndra loan was finally approved in September 2009 over a plethora of warnings and objections from within the Department of Energy, the Office of Management and Budget, and numerous private and solar industry experts. Following the company's collapse, questions have haunted the White House of possible political corruption and cronyism as investigations revealed that executives and investors in Solyndra were also significant donors to the Obama campaign with repeated access to top White House officials. In addition, critics charge that the administration disregarded objective financial analysis, and blindly threw billions of taxpayer dollars at green energy companies like Solyndra with little chance of success.
Oblivious to the warnings from his own White House advisers that the company was in serious trouble and would run out of cash in September, 2010 (and it did), Obama visited the Solyndra headquarters in May 2010 and hailed it as "leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future."