Ads from Mitt Romney and American Crossroads earlier this week disparaged solar energy, leading up to Romney’s surprise visit to Solyndra today.
The Crossroads ad targets the Obama administration for green energy investments, but features a company that once received taxpayer support from Governor Romney’s administration. Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent points out that one company featured in Crossroads’ ad — Evergreen Solar — received $2.5 million during Romney’s term:
The Crossroads video, which is embedded below, cites the Massachusetts company Evergreen Solar as an example of a company that received taxpayer money before declaring bankruptcy or suffering “serious financial issues” — which the video derides as a “risky investment strategy.” Romney picked up that attack line today, appearing in front of a shuttered Solyndra outlet to bash Obama.
But three weeks into Governor Mitt Romney’s term, Evergreen Solar received $2.5 million from the Romney administration for a “major expansion and to cover operating losses as it tried to become profitable,” according to a February article in Politico. The investment was part of a broader program in which the Romney administration gave millions in subsidies to multiple other companies, Politico reported.
Evergreen ultimately filed for bankruptcy last year, making this case very similar to Solyndra. Evergreen’s presence in the Crossroads ad was pointed out by the Obama-allied American Bridge.
In contrast, the New York Times reported in 2011 that “Evergreen has received no federal money.”
Romney’s attacks on Solyndra and clean energy have been misleading and often downright false. The rhetoric on Solyndra veers far from the reality of a loan that Republicans have thoroughly investigated, yet have found no scandal. As the New Republic pointed out Wednesday:
On balance, the White House seems to be playing Wall Street games—if that’s what you want to call massive investment in underfunded public infrastructure—pretty decently, and in a manner that produces more value for the public than private equity firms. Bain and Solyndra are really nothing alike.
Before etch-a-sketching, Romney embraced development of an industry he now says does not deserve investment (meanwhile, he’s silent on Big Oil subsidies).