By August 26, 2015 Read More →

IG: Solyndra officials misrepresented facts to get federal loan guarantee

Solyndra officials called ‘reckless’, ‘irresponsible’


The Energy Department’s inspector general said Solyndra officials knowingly and intentionally deceived and misled the Energy Department. photo.

WASHINGTON – A four-year investigation has concluded that officials of the solar company Solyndra misrepresented facts and omitted key information in their efforts to get a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government.

The company’s collapse soon after getting federal backing provided ammunition to lawmakers and other critics who portrayed it as wasteful government spending. The company’s failure likely will cost taxpayers more than $500 million.

The report by the Energy Department’s inspector general was released Wednesday. It’s designed to provide federal officials with lessons learned as it proceeds to grant billions of dollars in additional loan guarantees. The inspector general found fault with the Energy Department, describing its due diligence work as “less than fully effective.” The report also said department employees felt tremendous pressure to process loan guarantee applications.

In the end, however, the inspector general said the actions of the Solyndra officials “were at the heart of this matter.”

“In our view, the investigative record suggests that the actions of certain Solyndra officials were, at best, reckless and irresponsible or, at worst, an orchestrated effort to knowingly and intentionally deceive and mislead the department,” the IG’s report said.

A federal loan guarantee program for energy projects was established in 2005 during President George W. Bush’s administration. Four years later, the Democratic-led Congress passed an economic stimulus bill that substantially expanded the program. In the ensuing two years, the department disbursed more than $500 million to Solyndra, but in September 2011, the company laid off 1,100 employees, ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy protection.

The IG’s report did not provide any response to its findings from a Solyndra representative. It notes that federal prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation also participated in the interviewing of witnesses and the examination of hundreds of thousands of documents. In early 2015, the report says the Department of Justice informed the inspector general’s office that it would not pursue criminal prosecution of any Solyndra officials. Requests for comment from two law firms representing the Solyndra trust in separate legal proceedings were not immediately returned.

The Canadian Press

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