Emails suggest Energy Department put politics above economics with Solyndra

In another email released by House Republicans on Wednesday, the Energy Department was described as putting politics above economics in considering the now-bankrupt Solyndra and its $535 million loan guarantee.

"The DOE really thinks politically before it thinks economically and in a conversation today with [name redacted] he confirmed this (he knows Jonathan Silver -- head of the DOE loan program," states a Dec. 7, 2010, email from Steve Mitchell, managing director of venture-capital firm Argonaut and a member of Solyndra's board of directors, to George Kaiser, an Oklahoma oil billionaire who bundled campaign donations for presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008. Kaiser founded Argonaut, which is the major investor in Solyndra.

This correspondence came at a time when Energy, Solyndra, and its private investors were considering whether to restructure the company's loan as it was struggling financially. Ultimately, the agency decided to restructure the loan and put new private investment worth $75 million from Argonaut ahead of the government's debt in the event of a Solyndra default. Republicans charge that subordination of the government's interest violates the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the law that created the department's loan program.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu testifies to a House investigative committee about the Solyndra loan on Thursday.

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.