Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Mysteries of Solyndra

Political scandals usually involve increasing levels of complexity, which eventually leave readers either surrendering to confusion with shrugged shoulders, or surrendering to oversimplified narratives. Teddy Kennedy's motor vehicle accident at Chappaquiddick, an extra-marital affair between Senator Wilbur Mills and Fanne Foxe, and President Bill Clinton's escapades with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office titillate the reading public with sexual overtones.

More often, however, political scandals center not around sex, but money. In the "travelgate" case, friends of President Bill Clinton stood to gain millions by managing his White House travel arrangements. In the "Whitewater" case, President Clinton was implicated in illegal real estate loans. Other scandals surrounded Clinton's Secretary of Commerce, Ron Brown, who sold seats on official travel delegations to those who would contribute financially to the campaign of various Democratic candidates; Nolanda Hill, Brown's subordinate, took the legal hit for the scandal and was found guilty. Likewise, Bruce Babbitt was found guilty of accepting bribes to deny permits to Native American tribes seeking to start businesses; Babbitt was Clinton's Secretary of the Interior.

Although the above-mentioned scenarios are simply described, they were quite complex to the investigators who assembled the evidence. Weighing conflicting testimonies and sifting through mountains of evidence is neither easy nor simple, especially when one must assume that dissemblance is in play.

These principle hold true also in the Solyndra scandal: first, that money is the chief motif; second, that the matters are quite complex. Happily, however, the first principle proves to be the key to the second: although the matters are complex, investigators have long ago learned the truth of the "follow the money" proverb. Patiently tracing funds, and discovering who paid them, why they were paid, and to whom they were paid, will eventually bring to light the essential nature of the matter.

In the Solyndra scandal, the affair began when Barack Obama was inaugurated as the nation's 44th president on January 20, 2009. One of his first priorities was to begin fundraising for his reelection campaign. Running for office in the United States is a very expensive proposition, and even Obama's millions - his net worth is such that he has funds kept in Cayman Islands bank accounts to avoid taxes (from his days as a member of the Illinois state legislature) - aren't nearly enough to run a national campaign.

In order to find donors for his reelection campaign, Obama had to first enrich those donors so that they would have wealth to donate. As president, he could direct a variety of financial transactions: he could offer loans, loan guarantees, subsidies, grants, and contracts to various companies. His task was to find the companies whose officers and owners would donate to his campaign.

There was no need to for these businesses to show that they could ever repay the loans, or reach profitability, or produce any usable product. Obama merely had to find businesses whose managers and directors would take a large share of the money - taxpayer dollars directed to them by Obama - and use that wealth to fund various Democratic campaigns. The leaders of these companies paid themselves generous salaries, and once that money became their personal property, they were free to donate it to political causes, i.e., to Obama's cause.

By October 2011, the National Review could summarize the matter in print:

The first round of the Solyndra scandal was bad enough: The Obama administration, in contravention of standard practice, shoveled a half-billion dollars' worth of loan guarantees to a wobbly solar-energy firm, backed by Democratic donors, which then went on a spending spree before declaring bankruptcy and wiping out 1,100 jobs. Now, a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service suggest that there were deep problems with Solyndra that should have been apparent from the beginning, and might have been caught if the review process had not been short-circuited by politics: Solyndra's product was unsuitable for residential uses and large-scale solar facilities, it was more expensive than that of its competitors, it was facing new and more intense competition. Rather than helping the firm, the politically expedient injection of public funds may have hastened its demise: "After we got the loan guarantee, there were just spending money left and right," former Solyndra engineer Lindsey Eastburn told the Washington Post. "Because of that infusion of money, it made people sloppy." While the firm spent $340 million on a new factory, it spend some $660 million on things such as a flashy new conference center and high-dollar lobbyists to keep the public funds flowing. The firm is now under investigation both by Congress and by the Justice Department, and its executives have made a spectacle of themselves by pleading the Fifth. In the hands of the Obama administration, "clean" energy is anything but.

Whether Solyndra was a failure or a success depends on one's perspective: using Obama's criteria, and his administration's definition of 'success,' Solyndra was quite successful. Taxpayer dollars left the government, circulated through a business owned and operated by Obama supporters - a business which never had, nor seriously sought, commercial success - and found their way into contributions to Obama's reelection campaign, into other Democratic campaigns, and into the paychecks of leftist lobbyists. Solyndra perhaps even exceeded its designer's hopes: massive amounts of money were taken from taxpayers, under the pretexts of energy policy, and funneled into political advertising. As historian Michael Savage wrote:

Obama turned stimulus money into a slush fund for his political fundraisers and corporate cronies, pushing "green energy" projects like Solyndra that line the pockets of his crony capitalist contributors at the expense of American taxpayers.

The distinction at work here is the one between "crony capitalism" and "free market capitalism" - in free market capitalism, businesses compete with each other on a level playing field; the ones which provide the best products to consumers at the lowest prices win, while the other must either improve themselves or gradually be absorbed by more successful enterprises. In Obama's "crony capitalism," by contrast, the government intervenes in the market place, to ensure not that the best companies succeed, but that the companies owned by the political friends of government officials succeed. That is the principle behind

the Solyndra scandal, the one in which Obama gave money to his benefactors who had invested in a green energy scam that never intended to be successful.

The exact amount of money which disappeared into Solyndra, and reappeared in the coffers of the Democratic Party, is difficult to determine, given the deliberately ambiguous record-keeping of the Obama administration. Certainly, the total is over one billion dollars:

First, there was the $535 million taxpayer-guaranteed load to political cronies at the failed solar shell corporation Solyndra, followed by a $737 million loan to another phony solar company - this one with direct ties to Solyndra and to Nancy Pelosi - only two weeks after the FBI had raided Solyndra.

Not only did Obama direct federal funds to Solyndra, both directly and through various money-laundering schemes, after Solyndra's inauthenticity was so widely recognized that the FBI raided it, but also after it was clear that Solyndra was unsound, both scientifically and financially. Commercially, Solyndra's business model, or what passed for a business model, never had a chance. In terms of technology, only inflated "junk science" made Solyndra's proposals seem anywhere near worthwhile. The Obama administration found a way to

combine political payback with a green energy initiative based on phony science and the investment of billions of taxpayer dollars in companies the government knew were about to fail,

creating one of the biggest scandals in Obama's already questionable administration. The scandal began almost as soon as Obama took office; his eyes were already on raising funds for his reelection campaign. So, shortly after inauguration,

in 2009, the federal government guaranteed a loan of $535 million to a green energy company that had absolutely no prospects for success. Like much of the legislation this administration has produced, Obama rammed through the loan without the necessary due diligence and against the advice of the Office of Management and Budget.

To be fair, not all of this can be blamed on Obama. He is responsible for his own actions, and the actions of his appointees. Obama cannot be held responsible for action, or inaction, of Congress. During 2009 and 2010, both houses of Congress to under the control of the Democratic Party, which did nothing to oversee Obama's schemes. A Congressional investigation might have saved millions for the taxpayers.

The company was the poster child for the president's corrupt green energy initiative. Obama visited it in May 2010 - well after his advisors were aware that the company was in trouble - promoting it as a company that would create green energy jobs. The White House went so far as to produce a video explaining how "companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter, more prosperous future."

By 2011, a new Congress had been elected, and began to ask questions about the millions sent by Obama to Solyndra. The Associated Press reported, in August 2012, that representatives in Congress

investigating the government's investment in a bankrupt solar panel manufacturer have concluded that the Obama administration ignored numerous red flags about the company's financial viability, leaving taxpayers on the hook for more than $500 million.

The voters had figured out that they were been abused by the Obama administration. As Congress caught up to the voters and began to investigate the matter, concern about the Solyndra scam arose even inside the core of White House supporters. Michael Savage notes that among the big-money donors who fund Obama,

there were some dissenters. In May 2010, one Obama fund-raiser wrote to Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett, "A number of us are concerned that the president is visiting Solyndra. Many of us believe the company's cost structure will make it difficult for them to survive long term. ... I just want to help protect the president from anything that could result in negative or unfair press."

In fact, concerns about press coverage were justified. Although a number of major news outlets promoted Obama's 2008 campaign, and worked to keep Obama's gaffes out of their coverage, they could no longer ignore the Solyndra matter. The Associated Press, reporting on Congress's investigation into massive spending by the Obama administration, wrote that the White House was aware of the factors which made Solyndra's success either unlikely or impossible:

The Energy and Commerce investigation lasted 18 months and included the review of more than 300,000 pages of documents. Backers of the loan have said competition from Chinese solar-panel manufacturers was a major factor in Solyndra's failure. The report said White House Office of Management and Budget staff was aware that China's effort to penetrate the U.S. market could hurt Solyndra.

As early as 2009, shortly after inauguration and the beginning of Obama's political paybacks to the donors who funded him, concerns were being raised inside the White House.

An email from an OMB reviewer in August 2009 said pricing pressures from China "raise concerns about how strong Solyndra's position will be in the face of rising competition."

The administration knew from the beginning that Solyndra would be an economic and technological failure. But it was a political success. No clear answer has ever been given to the question of how many millions were of dollars, taken from taxpayers and sent to Solyndra, wound up in the coffers of Obama's reelection campaign and in the coffers of other Democratic candidates and causes. One individual in the administration apparently tried to put the brakes on the cash going to Solyndra, but with no success:

The reviewer had requested to his supervisor that the Solyndra loan be postponed, the report said.

Despite internal voices speaking up about the inevitable demise of Solyndra, the administration continued to publicly promote the program. Michael Savage notes that

by the fall of 2010, the administration knew that Solyndra was in trouble. Even though they continued to promote Solyndra as one of the success stories of the president's green energy strategy, the Department of Energy pushed hard for Solyndra to hold off announcing pending layoffs until November 3, 2010. E-mails reveal that one investor wrote this: "they did push very hard for us to hold our announcement of the consolidation of employees and vendors to Nov. 3rd - oddly they didn't give a reason for that date."

This was not the first or the last time that the Obama administration would time the release of information so that it would keep voters in the dark.

The investor, Argonaut Private Equity, couldn't possibly have been that naive, not with the midterm elections being held on November 2, the day before the date approved for a negative announcement.

Some of the decisions about the Solyndra affair were made at the very top, by Obama and his handlers who fund and direct him. Details of the financing were made by lower-level officials in the administration, but it was at the highest levels that the decision was made to move forward with Solyndra funding even after it became clear that it would never hold any value for citizens. It did, however, hold a twofold value for Obama: first, it was a payback to those who had funded his 2008 campaign; second, it ensured that they would have cash to fund his 2012 campaign.

In promoting Solyndra, Obama was ignoring warning signs that had been surfacing for more than a year. A PricewaterhouseCoopers audit of the company two months earlier said that Solyndra "has suffered recurring losses from operations, negative cash flows since inception and has a net stockholders' deficit that, among other factors, raises substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern."

The Associated Press likewise noted, echoing the Congressional report, that the administration acted contrary to every bit of economic and financial information it had:

The committee said federal workers also identified risks when the Energy Department and OMB reviewed a restructuring of the loan in late 2010 and early 2011, but the agencies allowed it to move forward anyway.

Obama's White House overruled the assessment of the Department of Energy. Despite the administration's alleged interest in science and technology, it ignored the best scientific assessments available. Michael Savage reports that

the Energy Department's credit committee, which decides who gets federal energy money and who doesn't, had reached the conclusion that Solyndra's application for funds was "premature" in January 2009, just before Obama took office.

A few principles organize and explain Obama's actions. In awarding federal dollars - subsidies, grants, loans, loan guarantees, and contracts - to "green" companies, Obama had no interest in whether or not there was any scientific basis for what was proposed, no interest in whether the proposal in any way helped the environment, and no interest in whether the business was financially viable. The White House was looking to fund proposals that would seem good in the press - even if those projects were as viable as attempts to turn lead into gold by chanting. The White House was looking for proposals that seemed green, even if there was no measurable benefit to the planet's environment. The White House was looking for green businesses, even if they were companies whose business plans guaranteed that they could never make a profit. The government's own assessment of the projects is the same:

Inspector General Gregory Friedman, who was appointed to oversee the distribution of stimulus funds, said that the green energy projects being funded were so far divorced from the reality in the industry that it was like "attaching a lawn mower to a fire hydrant."

Obama had a strong desire to support projects that seemed green, even if they weren't. There were two clear categories of proposals which would receive funding: on the one hand, companies whose owners and executives had funded Obama's 2008 campaign; on the other hand, those who would fund his 2012 campaign. Obama had no environmental concern at all; but environmental concerns on the part of some voters gave Obama the opportunity to justify sending federal cash to his supporters - cash which they would, in turn, send back to his campaigns.

After Obama was inaugurated, Solyndra funding was fast-tracked.
The reason?
His financial backers stood to lose big money.
Billionaire George Kaiser, a major Obama fund-raiser, was one of the early investors in Solyndra. With the company struggling, Kaiser and others ponied up an additional $75 million in financing early in 2011. In return, they received priority over other creditors - including the taxpayers guaranteeing the loan - to be repaid.

In taking money from ordinary working citizens and directing it into a company which never could or would make either a product or a profit, Obama was both rewarding his past supporters by protecting their personal fortunes and ensuring that they would be his future supporters in funding his reelection campaign. Millions of working-class Americans were taxed to protect the personal wealth of billionaires.

Obama's work paid off. He was able to protect his friends from the consequences of their own bad decisions - decisions like investing in Solyndra. He protected them by using the money of ordinary working-class citizens. When Solyndra crashed, Obama's billionaire friends walked away with no major losses, but the taxpayers were stuck paying the bill, as the Associated Press reports:

Solyndra filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2011. Lawmakers estimated that the government could have saved hundreds of millions of dollars if officials had decided to cut the government's losses rather than to restructure the loan.

Rather than cut the government's losses when Solyndra's demise became inevitable and apparent, Obama continued funding the dying enterprise. Even people appointed by Obama had begun to voice concerns, but the funding continued.

"Solyndra was a mistake that would have been much smaller if, in fact, career professionals had not been overruled," said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Oversight and Investigations Committee, which had held hearings on the Solyndra case.

As Congress began to uncover the nature of Obama's use of stimulus funds, which would eventually help neither the economy nor the environment, questions arose about individual personalities in the administration and their respective roles in the Solyndra scandal. Quick to surface was the name of Rahm Emanuel, a Chicago thug brought by Obama to Washington. The Washington Examiner reported that

A House report on the Solyndra bankruptcy showed that Emanuel was a driving figure behind President Obama’s appearance at the Solyndra factory — he was “super hot” to do the event, according to White House aide Ron Klain — because he believed that “[j]obs and high tech and Recovery Act is a winning combination.”

Rahm Emanuel, a small-time hooligan, understood the essential ingredients in a package for the media: the appearance that the stimulus money was saving both jobs and the environment. In reality, it was doing neither. But Emanuel succeeded in creating the image that would sell.

The report also indicates that Emanuel’s interest played a role in the White House supporting the loan guarantee, based in part on a 2009 email that Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Policy, wrote to another White House staffer.

Knowing, but not caring, that Solyndra would be a dismal failure - both in a business sense and in an environmental sense - Emanuel advocated more Solyndra funding. He saw it as a double bonus: first, Obama would deceive the voters into thinking that the White House was saving both the economy and the environment; second, it was a payback for campaign contributions past and future. Emails between White House staffers provided the "smoking gun" evidence:

“In addition, Ms. Zichal stated that ‘folks in the financing community’ had also raised concerns about the Solyndra loan guarantee, ‘[b]ut if Rahm wants it, we’ll make it happen,’” the report says of the email.

Another player in the Solyndra scandal was the Secretary of Energy. Privy to information which showed the Solyndra was both financially unsound and technologically unsound, he worked to dump more government money into the failing business. In August of 2012, The Wall Street Journal revealed more emails between administration officials:

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu fought back opposition from some of President Barack Obama's top economic advisers at a White House meeting last summer to ensure government backing of a $1.4 billion project slated to use solar panels made by now bankrupt Solyndra LLC, according to newly released emails.

Also in the Department of Energy, another official generously offered to remove himself from any Solyndra-related work, because of a conflict of interest. However, he made this offer only after ensuring that the administration was already committed to losing millions of taxpayer dollars in the hopeless scheme. Michael Savage writes:

Another Obama fund-raiser, Steve Spinner, is a "top official" in the Energy Department charged with monitoring how guaranteed loans are made. He ostensibly wasn't involved in the Solyndra decision, but not because there might have been any conflict of interest on his part: His wife's law firm had represented the company, so he stepped aside.

Given that Solyndra never had a chance at either making money or building a useable product, its management didn't feel constrained to do anything in particular with the money, taken from average Americans and handed to Solyndra executives by Obama.

Once it had secured the federally guaranteed loan, Solyndra went on a lavish spending spree. The company doled out $344 million on a new corporate headquarters building with a state-of-the-art conference room whose glass windows smoked over at the touch of a switch in order to conceal who was in the room. Just down the road, at the company's manufacturing facility, unsold solar panels piled up.

The vast majority of the stimulus money did not go to build factories or laboratories, in which workers might be employed and practical products designed. Solyndra was a facade - a scheme to launder money. Perhaps some honest scientist or technician had, once, an actual idea about creating a new product: but once Obama's cronies invested in the company and had influence in management's decisions, the business became a shell, into which Obama could dump the money he'd taken from honest and helpless taxpayers, and out of which his handlers could take the money for his campaigns. Behind closed doors, the administration knew what Solyndra was. But to keep the pretense going, it asked Solyndra to send cheerful reports to the White House:

Solyndra executives lied to the White House in May 2011, saying "we have good market momentum, the factory is ramping and our plan puts [us] at cash positive later this year," and two months later followed up with "We can assure you we have a path to profitability." In a move that was a sign they knew Solyndra was in trouble, the Energy Department hired the investment bank Lazard Ltd. in mid-August for $1.1 million to give advice on how the company could restructure its finances "both in and out of bankruptcy," according to records.

As the company prepared to crash, with the full knowledge of the White House, key executives prepared their personal escape plans, while Obama pretended that he didn't know that the inevitable bankruptcy was about to happen:

On April 15, 2011, and again on July 8, more than a dozen Solyndra senior executives gave themselves big cash bonuses that ranged from $37,000 to $60,000 apiece.

Naturally, from both their regular salaries and from these bonuses, the managers would make substantial contributions to Obama's reelection campaign. That's not only how the system worked, that was the reason for the system in the first place: all of Obama's environmental policies, all of his economic policies, his energy policies, etc., existed only as cover to create a funding route so that federal expenditures - tax dollars forced out of citizens and channeled through grants, subsidies, loans, loan guarantees, and contracts - wound up going into the pockets of those who regularly contribute to the campaigns of Democratic candidates.

One of the big shots at the foundering company, Karen Alter, Solyndra's senior marketing vice president, took home two $55,000 bonus checks. Alter had contributed $6,300 to Barack Obama and two other Democratic candidates. Ben Bierman, executive vice president of operations, was another big Democratic contributor. He gave Obama $2,300 and several other Democrats a total of $7,400. Both of these scammers received salaries of at least $250,000 in addition to their bonuses.

From Obama's perspective, Solyndra was successful. It did everything he wanted and expected it to do. It took money from taxpayers and routed it, through enough hands that the matter was ambiguous, into his reelection campaign.

But those weren't the worst offences. On July 1, 2011, Chris Gronet, one of the Solyndra founders, was "transitioned to the role of adviser and consultant" from his job as CEO, shortly before the company declared bankruptcy. His reward for running Solyndra into the ground? A severance package worth nearly half a billion dollars!

Obama, having gotten exactly what he planned to get from Solyndra, needed to tidy up a few details afterward. If Solyndra executives were forced to testify before Congress, they might tell the truth, and reveal Obama's scheme. Obama did not want to let the voters know that the stimulus plan, allegedly for job creation, was merely a way to reward his supporters. Rather than let the voters know that they'd been scammed, Obama found a way to shield Solyndra executives from having to testify to Congress. The fifth amendment allows people to avoid testifying only if they are the targets of a criminal investigation. But the Solyndra managers weren't suspects in any such investigation: the White House staffers, not the Solyndra execs, were the true criminals in this case. But if the Solyndra managers could be made to appear as suspects, they could withhold testimony under the fifth amendment.

In late August, less than a month after the CEO jumped ship, Solyndra laid off 90 percent of its workforce.
Less than two weeks after that, the company declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Within days, Eric Holder's FBI agents raided Solyndra headquarters and seized company documents and computers.
A criminal investigation into Solyndra is underway and company executives might face criminal charges.
The company's AWOL CEO and its CFO were called before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to testify on September 23, 2011. Their response was to take the Fifth.
Because they're the targets of a criminal investigation, they can invoke their Fifth Amendment constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination. The fact that Holder had initiated a criminal investigation gave them the cover they needed to clam up.

In a brilliant use of the technicalities of Constitutional law, hoodlum Eric Holder made a virtue out of a vice: it's wonderful to be the target of a criminal investigation, because then you don't have to testify! And when the people conducting the investigation are your friends, you can be sure that they'll make the investigation last as long you need to be silent; then, when the investigation ends, your chances of being charged with any wrongdoing are miniscule!

If Holder hadn't acted as he did, Solyndra execs couldn't have taken the Fifth and would have had to reveal what they knew about the scam or risk being in contempt of Congress.
Holder's actions may well have been taken in order to prevent them from having to testify before Congress.
They might keep the White House from having to testify as well. E-mails indicate that the West Wing was monitoring the situation from the start and knew the risks it faced but went ahead anyway in order to protect Kaiser and other politically connected investors. That's illegal, and should result in criminal indictments against anyone in the White House who was involved, including the president.

The more, the merrier! The more people investigated about potentially criminal wrongdoing, the more people who can take the Fifth, and the fewer people who can actually testify so that the Congress and the voters could know the truth. All these silent people will, however, still get their cash from the taxpayers:

The scandal is compounded by the fact that the Obama administration rigged the process so that investors in Solyndra - who were also big Obama donors - would get paid back before the taxpayers who guaranteed the loan.
According to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, a 551-page legislative behemoth, federally guaranteed loans "have an assured revenue stream that covers project capital and operating costs (including servicing all debt obligations covered by the guarantee) that is approved by the Secretary and the relevant State public utility commission." In addition, guaranteed loans "shall be subject to the condition that the obligation is not subordinate to other financing." In other words, taxpayers are the first to get paid back in the event the loan goes bad.

At least, that's the way it's supposed to be. If the federal government takes the extraordinary step of guaranteeing loans to privately-held businesses, then taxpayer dollars which go into that enterprise need to be the first ones to come out of it: those dollars belong to the citizens, and are held in trust by the government, and therefore, repaying them is of the highest priority. Unless the privately-held company belongs to friends of Obama.

There's no question that the Department of Energy broke the law when it restructured the loan agreement in order to give private investors precedence over taxpayers in the case of the company's collapse - which collapse the DOE knew was a certainty at the time the loan was approved. That didn't stop the government from doing what it did to taxpayers in the GM/Chrysler bailouts. Susan Richardson, chief counsel of the DOE loans program, decided differently. She explained that paying back taxpayers first was not "a continuing obligation or restriction" but applied only to the initial issuance of the loan.

In essence, to justify a clear breach of the regulation, she developed an interpretation of the regulation which can in no way be found in the text of the act as passed by Congress. It would be an understatement to say that her interpretation is a stretch. In any case, the loan went forward. To divert attention from the fact that he was handing money to his political supporters, Obama alluded to China's energy program and claimed he was mimicking a successful pattern.

Obama justifies throwing money away on high-risk, guaranteed-to-fail green energy companies on the grounds that China is doing it. That's his rationale for giving a company with revenues of less than $100 million annually more than half a billion taxpayer dollars.
In fact, of the $20 billion in stimulus funds available for the DOE to use in the guaranteed loan program, $16 billion of it went to Obama contributors.
Despite the fact that some e-mails related to the Solyndra scandal have been released, the White House is slow-walking its compliance with a subpoena issued by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in early November 2011.

Obama's attempt to deflect attention by citing the Chinese example was so bad that even he didn't bother following up on it. In fact, the Chinese business model looks nothing like Solyndra. But he was willing to pay an annualized rate of $1.65 million per year for his political allies to obfuscate the matter in dense legal verbiage:

The Democratic donors who invested in Solyndra aren't the only ones making a killing. Lawyers connected with the Obama administration are going to feast on Solyndra fees, too. Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, a Republican who supported Obama, is slated to make $825 an hour to consult with Solyndra during bankruptcy proceedings. The others from the McDermott Will & Emery law firm will bill the government between $25 and $775 an hour to represent Solyndra.

Skilled legal counsel is needed to create the types of money-laundering used in the Solyndra scheme. To avoid the name 'Solyndra' from appearing too often, a variety of other corporations were created with different names. Each could receive money from the federal government, all of which was going down the same drain. The talent and connections needed to create this complex web of deception required well-connected Washington leaders; the involvement of these leaders also meant that the cover-up would be of the highest priority, as the administration has shown by stonewalling investigations at every turn. Among the high-profile individuals involved are Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Nancy Pelosi:

Pelosi's brother-in-law received most of the last-minute $737 million guaranteed loan to Tonopah Solar Energy. That company is a subsidiary of another company, SolarReserve, which is building a large solar-thermal plant in the Nevada desert. Ronald Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi's husband's brother, is a vice president of the private equity company that is the primary funder of this project and which had a hand in Solyndra as well.
Another famous political name cropped up in the list of cronies Obama gave money to for non-viable green energy projects: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. BrightSource Energy listed as its principal private investor a company called VantagePoint. RFK Jr. is one of the "venture partners" of that company. BrightSource listed more than $200 million in losses in its prospectus, and admitted that its "proprietary technology has a limited history and may perform below expectations when implemented."
That was all the Obama administration needed to hear. It green-lighted the foundering company for $1.4 billion in taxpayer-funded bailout money.

Many of these companies are merely legal entities, which exist only on paper, and have no physical presence in the real world. Lacking any brick-and-mortar facilities - in which one might conceivable investigate alternative energy possibilities - such businesses were created merely to obscure the financial realities of what was happening with taxpayer dollars, and who was ultimately receiving those dollars. Given that the FBI is part of the Obama administration, any alleged investigation into these matters is merely for the sake of giving the principals the legal ability to plead the Fifth. Eric Holder, one of Obama's trusted vandals, is operating the FBI. Holder will seize evidence, not in order to investigate, but in order to ensure that it is never released to Congress or to the public.

The Solyndra scandal eventually blurs at its margins, because the same people, the same private-sector entities, and the same federal officials engaged in this pattern of behavior in the cases of other so-called green energy companies. The scams multiplied and lawyers kept inventing new names for shell corporations which existed only to funnel money to one another. Understanding the Solyndra scandal yields an insight into the core operations of the Obama administration.