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CNN On Solyndra Loan: Bush Started It, There’s No Evidence of Wrongdoing, And Romney’s Attacks Are Made Up

By Joe Romm on June 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm

"CNN On Solyndra Loan: Bush Started It, There’s No Evidence of Wrongdoing, And Romney’s Attacks Are Made Up"

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CNN has two dynamite pieces on Solyndra, “Romney wrong on Solyndra facts” and “Seven things you should know about Solyndra.”

The first one, by Steve Hargreaves of CNN Money, ends:

It’s one thing to spin something to one’s advantage. It’s another to simply make things up to make the other guy look bad. Romney’s Solyndra speech was an example of the latter. Disgraceful.

Hargreaves shows that Mitt Romney’s key claim — “An independent inspector general looked at this investment and concluded that the Administration had steered money to friends and family and campaign contributors” — has no basis in fact.

The second piece, also by Hargreaves, lists 7 key facts:

1.  It was started by Bush: The DOE loan program that funded Solyndra was actually started by President Bush in 2005. It was intended to provide government support for “innovative technologies”….

In fact, as Climate Progress reported back in September, the “Bush Administration advanced the Solyndra loan guarantee for two years” before Obama became President.

2.  Congress thought there would be more failures: Two companies have declared bankruptcy under the loan program so far, out of the 33 projects funded. Congress was expecting more….

Congress appropriated money to cover expected losses, and multiple independent reviews have confirmed that the actual losses will likely be less than Congress expected.

3. Solyndra wanted more: The company applied for another $468 million in funding shortly after its first DOE loan closed. The government did not award the second request.

4. Taxpayers aren’t the only losers: Private investors lost almost twice what the government did — nearly $1 billion.

While much has been made that the largest private investor was an Obama supporter, the second largest was a fund controlled by the Walton family — of Wal-Mart fame. Walton family members are noted Republican donors.

5.  The renewable program is closed: The renewables loan program that funded Solyndra and other wind and solar ventures is now over. There is still $170 million available for renewables under a separate program that also handles nuclear power….

6.  No smoking gun with Solyndra wrongdoing: Last week Mitt Romney said an inspector general “looked at this investment and concluded that the administration had steered money to friends and family.”

That appears to be incorrect, as no evidence of undue influence peddling by the White House has been uncovered in an official, independent report.

As a major Bloomberg analysis of Solyndra and the media hype of the story concluded, “The Focus on Solyndra Is Not Proportional to Its Impact.”

7. Solyndra isn’t a typical solar company: Solyndra did not make regular, flat solar panels.

It made a more advanced, cylinder-shaped device designed to capture the sun’s rays on its entire surface — hence the company’s name.

It was the rapidly declining price of traditional, flat solar panels and silicon – mostly from China — that did the company in.

Precisely.

Put it all together and you can understand why a major analysis by the Center for American Progress concluded that federal loans and loan guarantees have a huge benefit but a low and predictable cost.

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