New revelations suggest that the brewing scandal involving the solar panel industry may run much deeper than the failed Solyndra company. According to a report published by The Daily Caller, officials at at least four other solar companies that received billions in loan guarantees have donated large sums of money to prominent Democrats like President Obama, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Barbara Boxer. In addition, tumbling stock prices suggest that some, if not all, of the companies in question may be heading for financial trouble.
Solyndra, the solar panel manufacturer based in Fremont, California that received $535 million in federal loans, was touted by the Obama administration as an example of the kind of cutting edge, green technology leader that America needs to invest in. The company subsequently declared bankruptcy and, when called upon to testify before a Congressional committee, Solyndra executives repeatedly invoked the 5th Amendment rather than answer questions about the fiasco. Now, it appears that the scandal is spreading. According to The Daily Caller’s John Rossomando:
Companies like First Solar , SolarReserve, SunPower Corporation and Abengoa SA have already, collectively, received billions in loans through Obama administration stimulus programs to build solar power plants in the southwestern United States. Yet each, with the exception of the privately held SolarReserve, has seen its stock price hammered at the same time it was lobbying the Obama administration and Congress for billions in loan guarantees.
For example, according to The Daily Caller, Oklahoma billionaire George Kaiser raised over $50,000 for President Obama in 2008. Kaiser has ties to both SolarReserve and Solyndra. Lee Bailey , a SolarReserve board member and U.S. Renewables Group investor, has donated $21,850 since 2008 to Democratic candidates, including President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and California Sen. Barbara Boxer. SolarReserve also paid more than $100,000 of lobbying fees to the Podesta Group . The Podesta Group is run by Tony Podesta, brother of Obama transition team head Leon Podesta. In the same vein, SunPower, spent almost $300,000 in lobbying fees with a close confidante of Harry Reid’s, as well as making hefty campaign donations to influential Democrats.