The controversy over a bankrupt, government-funded, solar-panel firm the White House backed, in a nutshell
The Facts: In August 2009, White House staff repeatedly asked Office of Management and Budget (OMB) officials about the status of a $535 million loan to the solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra. Last week, the company filed for bankruptcy. Two days later, the FBI raided its offices in Delaware, refusing to discuss details of the investigation.
The loan was granted by the Department of Energy (DoE) under the green-infrastructure provisions of President Obama's $787 billion stimulus bill, and OMB officials privately said they felt pressured to approve the loan prematurely. White House officials made their inquiries to OMB just weeks before Vice President Biden announced the loan at a ground-breaking ceremony in September, part of his long campaign to promote stimulus-spending projects across the country.
The Washington Post reported those facts on Tuesday after obtaining internal administration emails. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Republican Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.), held a hearing on the Solyndra loan and the emails on Wednesday, where officials from OMB and DOE testified.