From the Washington Post:
President Obama???s staff arranged for him to be personally briefed last summer on a loan program to help clean-energy companies, two months before the program was thrust into headlines by the collapse of its flagship, the solar company Solyndra, records show.
About the same time, then-White House Chief of Staff William Daley resolved a dispute among administration officials over another project in the program, clearing the way for a $1.4 billion loan, according to documents and sources familiar with the situation.
These are not welcome revelations for the Obama White House, which has been trying to foist off responsibility for the ???green energy??? disaster onto Energy Department bureaucrats, while presumably hoping everyone forgets about Obama???s photo-ops at Solyndra HQ.
The Post notes that Administration officials responded to the story by saying ???the e-mails show that the White House involvement was appropriate and that there was no pressure on agency officials.??? You know what? A little ???pressure on agency officials??? to stop this irresponsible waste of taxpayer billions would have been nice.
It???s increasingly clear that the White House knew how far DOE was coming off the rails. A key exchange from the Post account:
After the June 2011 meeting with Daley, Jonathan Silver, the director of the Energy Department???s loan office, celebrated ???total victory??? over administration opponents. He described in an e-mail to a colleague how Chu came as ???close to an annihilation of the economic team???s position as you could possibly hope for.??? Silver speculated that Daley had given the economic team ???a fig leaf??? and that the Energy Department???s victory was cause to ???do some serious gloating.???
Of course, what ended up getting ???annihilated??? was vast sums of taxpayer money, along with the bankrupt green energy companies the Obama Administration strove to prop up in a non-existent market. An Energy Department talking point claimed that ???DOE expects all loans will be repaid,??? at which point the benefits would include ???the creation of tens of thousands of jobs??? at ???little cost to taxpayers.??? To their credit, it appears some of Obama???s advisors were highly skeptical of these claims??? but they ended up on the wrong side of Steven Chu???s ???total victory.???
It???s not surprising that the Obama Administration has been so reluctant to disclose the information that is now dribbling out. House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) wants more documents, including all the private individuals Obama personally discussed loan projects with. If Obama had come clean about all this when the Solyndra story first broke, we wouldn???t be squeezing those documents out of him during a hot election season.