The Congressional hearing into what went wrong with a federal loan to Solyndra is now under way:
Solyndra, the Fremont solar company whose bright star imploded, received over $500 million in federal loan guarantees and then went bankrupt two weeks ago.
President Obama held up the company as a poster child for creating green jobs. Now some Republicans are asking if there was favoritism at work in the deal. Department of Energy officials are in the hot seat today. Solyndra officials declined an invitation to appear and instead will testify September 19.
To give you a sense of what’s going on, here’s a sample of the exchange:
Joe Barton (R-Texas): [getting at whether there was political favoritism in giving the loan] Nobody commented to the White House that this project should go forward? There were no White House officials who encouraged people at Department of Energy?
Jonathan Silver (Executive director, loan programs office, DOE) I can’t speak to that because I wasn’t there. But the career staff who did that in 2008 under [a Republican appointee]…”
The testimony is getting fairly testy. The Department officials are being pressed on their interactions with the White House by Republicans. But now Democrat Edward Markey is pushing back slamming the oil industry’s history of support from the government.
You can read DOE official Jonathan Silver’s testimony to the committee here.