The man who helped orchestrate the failed $535 million taxpayer-guaranteed loan to Solyndra remains one of President Obama’s most active campaign bundlers.
According to Obama’s campaign website, Steve Spinner, a former senior fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP) and member of the Obama-Biden Transition Team, has raised at least $500,000 for the president’s reelection effort. He has also personally contributed more than $30,000 to Democratic candidates and committees since 2005.
During the time that Solyndra was being considered for a DOE loan, Spinner’s wife Allison was a partner at the law firm advising the company on its loan application. He even signed an ethics agreement pledging not to participate in “any discussion” about Solyndra.
However, a series of emails shows that just days before the Solyndra loan was formally announced, Spinner was actively engaged in discussions about the company, even seeking to advise the White House with respect to the political implications of the loan’s announcement (it was the first of its kind awarded by the DOE).
Republicans are pounding Barack Obama on Solyndra, but it may be a complicated argument for their front-runner to maintain: While Mitt Romney was governor, Massachusetts also picked some winners and losers with energy subsidies.
And like Obama, some of the companies Romney’s state invested in came out on the losing end.
The scale is dramatically different: While the Obama administration dumped $535 million alone into Solyndra — the California solar panel company that subsequently filed for bankruptcy protection — the energy loans, grants and other financial help Romney distributed during four years as governor add up to just a fraction of that amount.
But Democrats — and even some Republicans — say the core issue is the same: If the federal government shouldn’t be betting on one company rather than the other, then neither should the state of Massachusetts.
“It’s exactly the kind of thing he’d say you invest in, that you win some, you lose some,” said Sonia Hamel, a former special assistant who handled climate issues for Romney in the Massachusetts Office for Commonwealth Development. “It does seem hypocritical.”
SolyndraGate was no isolated case of corrupt government misspending. The U.S. Navy was just forced to buy 450,000 gallons of biofuels from an Obama-connected firm at an outrageous $16 per gallon.
The massive Obama stimulus was supposed to generate millions of jobs, but the $535 million loan guarantee it gave to solar panel maker Solyndra on the eve of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy illustrated the fundamental incompetence of Obama’s neo-Keynesian economic ideology.
Now we find the Navy partnering with the Agriculture Department to purchase hundreds of thousands of gallons of alternative biofuel in place of standard JP-5 fuel for Navy aircraft — the biggest federal purchase of biofuel ever.
It’s part of the White House’s “we can’t wait for Congress” strategy as the 2012 election year looms. But JP-5 typically costs less than $4 a gallon. If a family on a budget started filling up with $16-a-gallon gas, it might want to adopt the motto, “we can’t wait to go broke.”
Abound Solar, given a $400 million Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee for a project expected to create 400 permanent jobs, receives private financial backing through an investment firm founded by a fundraising bundler for President Obama.
The Sunlight Foundation notes that Bohemian Companies, which was founded by billionaire and Obama bundler Pat Stryker, participated with other companies in the “second institutional equity round of financing” in 2008 for Abound Solar, which recieved $104 million total through that round of financing.
Stryker gave $50,000 to Obama’s inauguration, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and raised a further $87,000 for the inauguration. Stryker has since donated $35,800 to the 2012 Obama Victory Fund, Sunlight reports.