Friday, October 7, 2011

Solyndra: A Bittersweet Symphony in C Flat

If you're a political pundit or a Republican, it's the gift that keeps on giving. Some new faces have taken center stage in the Solyndra scandal (can we call it a "scandal," now?). First, there's Steve Spinner, a high level Obama fundraiser who was given a job by the admin overseeing the energy loan program. Apparently, he was riding the Energy Department pretty hard, trying to get them to move quicker on the Solyndra loan:
"How hard is this? What is he waiting for?" wrote Steven J. Spinner, a high-tech consultant and energy investor who raised at least $500,000 for the candidate before being appointed to a key job helping oversee the energy loan guarantee program. "I have OVP [the Office of the Vice President] and WH [the White House] breathing down my neck on this." In one instance, he writes, 
"Hopefully, this might spur [the Office of Management and Budget] a little faster to help the closing."
He wanted "golden shovels, bulldozers, and hardhats," too, presumably at the ceremony dedicating the new factory, the one Biden attended.

Who--exactly--is Steve Spinner? Here ya go. Nice resume. And apparently, he landed on his feet, after leaving the admin:
Steve Spinner is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress focusing on Energy Policy. Based in Silicon Valley, he is an advisor to numerous clean-tech and Internet companies.
So, let's be clear about this. This guy helps a questionable company secure near half a billion in government funds, the company goes belly up, and Spinner ends up a "Senior Fellow" at a progressive think tank? Actually, that makes a lot of sense, since most of these progressive types don't really know beans about how the economy actually functions, about how to run a successful business.

But I said their were new faces, plural. Whose is the other face? Why, it's none other than Allison Spinner, Steve's wife, lawyer and a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. That would be the law firm representing Solyndra, both for the loan program and its failed public offering.

Now, the law firm makes a point of noting that it avoided the obvious conflict of interest. But here's the problem:
Many of [Steve Spinner's] emails were written just days after Spinner accepted a three-page ethics agreement in which he pledged he would "not participate in any discussion regarding any application involving [his wife's law firm] Wilson [Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati]."
So basically, Spinner completely ignored the ethics agreement that he had signed. Could we have a more obvious case of corruption? Is it even possible?

Cheers, all.

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