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Solyndra's financial health ignored, email reveals

September 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A congressional investigation into Solyndra has revealed the Obama administration ignored reports about the solar energy company's financial health.

An email from a White House budget official to a co-worker discussed the likely effect of a default by Solyndra on President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

"The optics of a Solyndra default will be bad," the official from the Office of Management and Budget wrote in a Jan. 31 email to a senior OMB official. "The timing will likely coincide with the 2012 campaign season heating up."

Solyndra, which is based in Fremont, received $528 million in federal loans under the 2009 stimulus law.

The email said the budget official wanted White House budget director Jacob Lew to warn Energy Secretary Steven Chu about the risk posed by Solyndra.

Solyndra declared bankruptcy on Aug. 31 and layed off 1,100 workers.

The Silicon Valley company was the first renewable-energy company to receive a loan guarantee under the stimulus law, and the Obama administration frequently touted Solyndra as a model for its clean energy program.

Even as Obama declared that "the future is here" during a May 2010 visit to Solyndra, warning signs were being sent from within the government and from outside analysts who questioned the company's viability.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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