Politics

Senior officials ignored Solyndra warning

Stephen Elliott Contributor

Career officials from the White House Office of Management and Budget warned that saving Solyndra would be more expensive than allowing the flailing energy firm to fail, according to a House Energy and Commerce Committee investigation set to be released this week.

A White House budget analyst said that millions of taxpayer dollars would have been saved by giving up on Solyndra and liquidating the assets of the Obama administration’s flagship alternative energy initiative, a recommendation ignored by senior OMB officials and the Energy Department, according to The Washington Post.

Senior OMB officials did not dissuade the Energy Department from bailing out Solyndra, through a restructured federal loan to the tune of $500 million. Months later, Solyndra failed despite the loan, putting taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars. Solyndra’s final liquidation plan estimated last week that the federal government will be able to recover some $24 million of the $527 million loan.

Emails in the Energy and Commerce Committee report between career OMB staff members show the analysts were wary of the risks of the loan and believed a private sector loan might be a better option. Yet, the deputy director of the OMB suggested in congressional testimony last year that OMB analysts decided to support the federal loan to Solyndra.

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