If you are an Obama administration operative these days, “Ugh” can be more than just an expression of disgust. When faced with the news that Solyndra was about to declare bankruptcy, “Ugh” was an acknowledgement that you know you’ve cut corners, failed to be open and transparent with the American people, and cost American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Yet, officially speaking, the White House still insists that the decision to provide a $535 million loan guarantee to financially-troubled Solyndra was “merit-based.” Really? Perhaps the White House should answer these questions:
- Was it a “merit-based decision” when the Energy Department (DOE), under pressure from the White House, provided the loan despite explicit predictions of failure by DOE’s own experts?
- Was it a “merit-based decision” when Solyndra’s CEO labeled President Obama’s administration “The Bank of Washington,” crudely – and accurately – painting a picture of the company’s dependence on the administration and American taxpayers?
- Was it a “merit-based decision” when the White House ignored warnings and rushed approval for the loan in order to have a groundbreaking ceremony at a new Solyndra plant, underscoring the fact that the White House was more concerned with highlighting its fatally flawed ‘stimulus’ policies than ensuring taxpayer dollars were spent wisely?
- Was it a “merit-based decision” even though billionaire George Kaiser, a top Obama donor, coincidentally met with senior officials at the White House just before the Solyndra loan was awarded through a short-circuited vetting process that President Obama was personally warned about by his Treasury Secretary and his top economic advisor?
- Was it still a “merit-based decision” when White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew ignored the warnings of his own career Office of Management & Budget (OMB) staff and failed to shut down Solyndra – a decision that cost American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars?
The alarm bells on Solyndra were ringing loud and clear from day one. The White House owes American taxpayers a lot more than “the decision was merit-based,” particularly when the decision was anything but.