MORE IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 5/28/12
House Republicans investigating the collapse of Solyndra are now examining other green energy companies to determine if their government-backed loans were risky gambles that were granted because of political influence with the White House. The panel questioned top executives from Abound, First Solar, Nevada Geothermal, and BrightSource, which were awarded a combined $5 billion in loan guarantees from the Energy Department — one-third of the entire loan guarantee portfolio. Jordan produced emails that he says shows a direct link between the White House and BrightSource, which received $1.6 billion in loan guarantees. In one email, BrightSource CEO John Woolard, told a top Energy Department official there had been direct discussions with “Obama about the program’s challenges.”
One month after that email was sent, BrightSource received conditional approval of the loan. BrightSource Chairman John Bryson, who now serves as Obama’s Commerce secretary, to White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley.
Michael Ahearn, chairman of First Solar, about 700,000 stocks he sold just days after getting the loan approved by the government. The company has laid off 30 percent of its worker force, and while its stock was trading at $300 in 2008, it was selling for $14.35 last week.
Its “absolutely abysmal” that taxpayers were asked to funnel money into the company while Ahearn sold his own stock, in essence “voting with your feet.”
The panel also questioned a representative from Abound, which despite receiving a $400 million loan guarantee, let go 180 employees earlier this year.
One of the President’s notable achievements was inspiring Ahearn to sell over $450 million of his own company’s stock between 2008 and 2012, a period when First Solar’s stock value dropped by almost 95 percent. Ahearn and his broker, the President – which means you – subsidized a billion-dollar Department of Energy loan to First Solar. A couple of days later, Ahearn celebrated by selling another 700,000 shares of his own First Solar stock, raking in a cool $68.5 million. Despite all these taxpayer loans, which actually total up to nearly $3 billion, First Solar has laid of 30 percent of its workforce.