Top executives from a bankrupt California solar energy company declined to testify before a congressional hearing investigating their half-billion dollar government loan. Solyndra Inc. CEO Brian Harrison and the company’s chief financial officer, Bill Stover, both invoked their Fifth Amendment right to decline to testify to avoid self-incrimination.
Solyndra Inc. received a $528 million loan from the Energy Department in 2009.
The panel’s chairman, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., compared the Solyndra loan to the Great Train Robbery in England in the 1960s. Upton faulted the Obama administration for its role in the loan, saying at a minimum the Energy Department did not complete due diligence on the company, which lost hundreds of millions of dollars in the years before the loan was approved. He called the loan “reckless use of taxpayer dollars on a company that was known to pose serious risks before a single dime went out the door.”
One does wonder why due diligence is often over-looked when “someone else’s money” is being spent – in this case it’s our tax dollars. I wonder if background checks, investigation of past fraud practices, or interrogatory questions would be asked if this were a private sector transaction. Not to say those oversights never occur, but they are less likely because it’s an investors money or a company’s money being spent and their money is not being backed by the government, as is the case in this deal. Committee leaders said the administration may have violated the law when it restructured Solyndra’s loan in February in such a way that private investors moved ahead of taxpayers for repayment in case of default. The economic stimulus law provides for taxpayers to be ahead of other creditors in the event of bankruptcy or default.
Hiring a private investigative firm wouldn’t take much effort, such as MSI Detective Services. Our investigative services could have handled the necessary due diligence through background checks, past fraud, interviews, etc.
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