"The Republican report cites internal email from Argonaut about the timing of a press release," spokesman Damien LaVera wrote in reply to questions from iWatch News and ABC News. "But as the 180,000 pages of documents that the Department of Energy turned over to the Committee indicate, the Department's decisions about this loan were made on the merits, based on extensive review by the experts in the loan program -- and nothing in this Republican Committee memo changes that."
The DOE's Solyndra loan guarantee was announced in March 2009, two months into the Obama presidency, and heralded as a sign that a traditionally slow-moving agency could more rapidly spur projects benefiting the environment and economy. In its quest to award and later support its first guarantee recipient, the Energy Department ignored warnings from government staffers, outside analysts and even Solyndra's own auditor that it was, at best, a risky bet.
Earlier this year, with Solyndra swimming in debt, the Energy Department agreed to a refinancing that pushed back the company's payoff date -- and, notably, let investors including Kaiser stand in line first for reimbursement should the company fail. Those investors infused $75 million into Solyndra as DOE refinanced the company's debt this February. Under a pact between the parties, this round of investors will collect first in bankruptcy, and the government next.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who signed off on that agreement, will testify before the House Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee Thursday. Jonathan Silver, head of the Energy Department's loan program, resigned from his post after testifying before the subcommittee earlier this year.