Government watchdog Judicial Watch on Friday announced it is suing the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Energy for records concerning Ron Klain’s involvement with Solyndra, the failed green energy operation that lost half a billion dollars loaned by the government under the Barack Obama administration.
Judicial Watch said the records are pertinent because Klain now is President Biden’s chief of staff.
It was about a decade ago that Solyndra, a California solar-panel maker, collapsed into bankruptcy after losing that $500 million that had come from the Obama administration.
A judge shortly after confirmed that a criminal investigation was under way.
“Solyndra is one of the worst scandals of the Obama era – and Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff, is implicated,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The issue is fresh again given the new administration’s plans to fund more Solyndra-type companies with countless tax dollars.”
The organization had filed Freedom of Information cases in 2011 against Barack Obama’s Department of Energy and his OMB for records about Solyndra.
At the time, internal emails that were obtained by investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee show the Obama administration was looking at the progress of the $535 million taxpayer loan “even as analysts were voicing serious concerns about the risks involved.”
In fact, one budget analyst said in 2009, just nine days before Obama announced the loan, that, “This deal is NOT ready for prime time.”
Klain, back then, said, “If you guys think this is a bad idea, I need to unwind the W[est] W[ing] QUICKLY.”
The new lawsuit was filed when agencies failed to respond to December 2020 FOIA requests for “communications between Klain and any official of the Office of Management and Budget/Department of Energy regarding the solar company Solyndra.”
According to Judicial Watch, “White House energy adviser Heather Zichal reportedly emailed a warning to Klain, Obama aide Valerie Jarrett and Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer: ‘Here’s the deal: Solyndra is going to announce they are laying off 200 of their 1,200 workers. No es bueno.‘”
Klain was instrumental in getting Obama to visit Solyndra. He reportedly wrote to Jarrett:
“Sounds like there are some risk factors here, but that’s true of any innovative company POTUS would visit. It looks OK to me. … The reality is that if POTUS visited 10 such places over the next 10 months, probably a few will be belly-up by election day 2012—but that to me is the reality of saying we want to help promote cutting-edge, new-economy industries.”
Obama had claimed in 2010 that Solyndra was “leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future.”
But months later, it closed, firing 1,100 people and turning over to taxpayers the loss of $535 million.
ABC reported Obama “bypassed key taxpayer protections in a rush to approve the funds.”
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