It's the product of a joint probe with the FBI but reflects the IG's position only. The IG says it was informed early this year that the Justice Department won't seek criminal prosecution of company officials.
The report is a big new piece of the puzzle of what went wrong with Solyndra, a name instantly recognizable to anyone who watched battles over green-energy policy ahead of the 2012 presidential election.
Solyndra was the first company to win money under a loan program for green-energy projects that was authorized in a bipartisan 2005 energy law signed by President Bush, but didn't really get into gear until President Obama took office, and the 2009 stimulus law altered and supported the initiative.
Back in 2011 and 2012, Solyndra became a political weapon for Republicans attacking Obama's green agenda.
Senior Republicans such as Rep. Darrell Issa, then the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, launched probes of Solyndra and the wider loan program. GOP operatives and officials, including 2012 GOP White House hopeful Mitt Romney, accused Obama of "crony capitalism" that benefited green-energy entrepreneurs allied with Democrats.
Wednesday's report doesn't hold the Energy Department blameless, finding instead that people vetting the loan application "missed opportunities to surface and critically analyze problematic information that Solyndra had provided to the Department."
The screw-ups included a June 2009 case in which Solyndra sent an amendment to one of its sales contracts to the department that canceled an obligation to purchase panels in the future. The inspector general found "no evidence the consultant alerted the Department to its significance."
Still, the report's message is clear—blame Solyndra executives first: "While the Department's due diligence effort had shortcomings, it is our view that providing misleading answers to Departmental inquiries and failing to openly disclose critical information violated the spirit and intent of the requirement for Solyndra to report material changes to its loan guarantee application to the Department," it states.
The report describes how company officials, as far back as late 2008, were "less than forthcoming" about their future sales. They claimed that four contracts would bring in over $1.4 billion in sales over the next five years, but didn't tell the Energy Department or outside analysts it hired in 2009 about major price concessions they were offering.
Those weren't the only instances of company officials being allegedly deceptive about its future revenue as they sought the loan ahead of the September 2009 closing.
That's not to say there weren't missed signs. The report finds that in one case, Solyndra provided DOE a spreadsheet that, if read carefully, "may have indicated" that the company's sales contracts weren't being enforced. But the company was still peddling a different line to the Obama administration. Here's more from the report on this point: