by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The House Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee conducted a hearing on Solyndra on Wednesday. Documents have been sought not only by Republicans but also by Democrat Henry Waxman (Calif.), former chairman of the committee.
It’s possible the subcommittee will find nefarious goings-on at Solyndra. Was the administration’s decision to grant a loan guarantee of half a billion dollars influenced by a major campaign contributor? Did the Energy Department disregard obvious caution flags about the company? Did somebody slip somebody a bribe?
But let’s assume for the time being that there was no criminal conduct here, no violation of government procedures, no fraud. Let’s assume everyone in the administration acted in good faith. There’s still a scandal — the scandal of the government handing out hundreds of millions of dollars to unproven and speculative businesses. Even the shrewdest venture capitalists lose money on most of their investments. But when they lose, it’s their money, not ours.
The scandal is still going on. The Energy Department has been busy handing out more loan guarantees in the past few weeks — $150 million to 1366 Technologies of Lexington, Mass. (73 percent for Obama in 2008), 80 percent of $344 million to Solar City of San Mateo, Calif. (72 percent for Obama in 2008). Will one of them be the next Solyndra?
The real scandal is the “green jobs” loan-guarantee program itself. And the ones getting scammed are American taxpayers.