Emails show Obama fundraiser involved in Solyndra

Newly released emails show that George Kaiser, an Oklahoma billionaire and key fundraiser for President Obama, was deeply involved in lobbying the administration to provide federal stimulus funds to Solyndra, a now-bankrupt solar-energy firm in which Kaiser was the major investor. Solyndra eventually received a $535 million loan but defaulted this year, leaving taxpayers on the hook.

The emails, released by House Republicans on Wednesday, also indicate that Energy Secretary Steven Chu was personally involved in Solyndra's loan application -- which, if proved true, would be damning for Chu as he gears up to testify in front of a House committee next week.

The emails show that Kaiser and two executives at his venture -- capital firm and his family foundation corresponded about how to get another loan guarantee for Solyndra in 2010 -- after the company already was awarded a $535 million loan guarantee in September 2009. That never happened, but the executives seemed confident it would in an e-mail exchange in March 2010.

"It appears things are headed in the right direction and Chu is apparently staying involved in Solyndra's application and continues to talk up the company as a success story," Steve Mitchell, of Kaiser's venture-capital firm Argonaut, wrote to Kaiser in a March 5, 2010, email.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz in a statement defended the administration's actions on Solyndra.

"Even the documents cherry-picked by House Republicans today affirm what we have said all along: This loan was a decision made on the merits at the Department of Energy. Nothing in the 85,000 pages of documents produced thus far by the administration or in these four indicate any favoritism to political supporters."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.