Politics

Obama’s ‘Bank of Washington’ applauded by Solyndra CEO in email

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

Solyndra’s CEO labeled President Barack Obama’s administration “The Bank of Washington.”

Chris Gronet offered the description in an internal email one year before the company collapsed in 2010, costing taxpayers roughly $500 million.

The email was obtained and published by the Republican National Committee.

“The Bank of Washington continues to help us!” he wrote in the October 2009 e-mail, which sketched plans for Solyndra to exploit several additional federal programs and tax-incentives.

“Some names fit,” said Darrell Issa, the GOP chairman of the House Oversight Committee. “Using the name of ‘Bank of Washington’ has a legitimacy that I think will transcend this election,” he said in a Thursday press conference called to highlight the Solyndra email.

The email bolsters GOP claims that Obama’s support of green-tech companies amounted to “crony capitalism.”

Several White House officials had close ties to green-tech companies, and many green-tech executives have donated to Obama’s political campaigns.

The company received numerous benefits from the Obama administration, which allocated roughly $60 billion to spur a variety of green-tech companies, including Solyndra.

Numerous companies have since collapsed, including Solyndra, costing the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

For example, taxpayers’ funds given to Nevada Geothermal Power also will pay off private-sector debts, said Issa. “All of the money they got… was to pay off existing private investment, serving no purpose to the taxpayer or the enterprise,” he said.

The Nevada company received $98 million worth of government loan-guarantees, which will pay off commercial creditors if the troubled company’s downward slide continues. That company was lauded by Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, the Democrats’ leader in the Senate, as “the Saudi Arabia of geothermal energy.”

Obama has defended his high-risk spending strategy, saying on numerous occasions that it is needed to help the nation shift from the use of oil and gasoline.

Solyndra’s collapse cost the taxpayer $500 million, partly because Obama’s deputies agreed to place the repayment of Solyndra’s commercial creditors at a higher priority than repaying the debts owed to taxpayers.

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