The Obama campaign rolled out the red carpet this week for a former top Energy Department official who was at the center of the ill-fated government loan to Solyndra, a California solar panel firm that wound up in bankruptcy.
Steven J. Spinner joined other top fundraisers for a VIP tour of the Democratic National Convention floor in Charlotte Monday evening, posing and waving for a photographer while standing behind the podium. When he saw ABC News cameras, however, he ran for the exit.
WATCH World News with Diane Sawyer Tonight for More on Spinner and the DNC.
Spinner was last in the headlines in October, when emails surfaced showing he had pushed for the Solyndra loan from his post in the Energy Department, apparently in an effort to score the loan as a political victory for President Obama.
"How hard is this? What is he waiting for?" Spinner wrote in one of them. "I have OVP [the Office of the Vice President] and WH [the White House] breathing down my neck on this."
The fast-tracked Solyndra loan became the showpiece of the Obama administration's Green Energy loan program -- a plan to give a jolt of federal aid to firms developing new forms of alternative energy. Solyndra, the program's inaugural loan recipient, received $535 million.
But it fast became a symbol for Obama's Republican opponents, who have characterized the loan as a boondoggle. The company's bankruptcy led to a lengthy investigation by the Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Committee, which argued that the administration failed to heed warnings from budget analysts who believed the company was a bad bet.
White House officials have called the House investigation a waste of taxpayer money, noting that Republicans never uncovered any evidence to suggest the loan was granted as a result of political influence.