SAN FRANCISCO - At an exclusive re-election fundraiser tonight, President Obama hobnobbed with 60 of his wealthiest supporters, including two figures at the center of the Solyndra loan controversy.
Steve Westly, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, was one of the first to raise red flags about the administration's support for a $500 million loan to Solyndra, the solar energy start-up that later went bankrupt. He wrote directly to senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett in 2010 to raise concerns about the company's viability ahead of the president's high-profile visit that year.
Matt Rogers, a former senior adviser at the Department of Energy, played a key role in approving Solyndra's loan as part of the stimulus plan.
Both men were spotted by White House print pool reporter Darren Samuelsohn of Politico at the Piedmont, Calif., home of Quinn Delaney and Wayne Jordan, who were hosting the $35,800-a-head event.
Samuelsohn noted that Westly was seen near the pool "juggling lemons, entertaining kids at the party."
Republicans have seized on Obama's ties to Westly and Rogers - and the Solyndra loan - as part of their case that the president engages in "crony capitalism."
"The Obama Administration betrayed American taxpayers when it dumped hundreds of millions of public dollars into Solyndra while ignoring clear warnings about the company's dire financial situation," Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement.
"President Obama's first term worked out well for his donors who got special access and taxpayer money for their failed ventures," Williams said. "It hasn't worked as well for the 23 million Americans struggling for work in the worst economic recovery our country has ever had."
Before receiving a fast-tracked loan from the Obama administration in 2010, Solyndra had been singled out by both Republicans and Democrats as a promising venture potentially worthy of government investment. The company first applied for a Department of Energy grant under the George W. Bush administration.