As early as 2009, officials from the Obama administration expressed worry regarding the financial viability of now-bankrupt module manufacturer Solyndra, according to newly released internal emails.
The messages were compiled as part of an ongoing congressional investigation into the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) loan-guarantee program and, specifically, Solyndra's 2009 loan guarantee.
The New York Times reports that some officials even warned against having President Obama visit Solyndra's factory in 2010 – pointing out that the trip may be ’embarrassing in the not-too-distant future.’
Brad Jones of Redpoint Ventures, a Solyndra investor, also reportedly questioned in a 2009 email why the company was receiving what seemed to be a disproportionately large loan guarantee.
‘One of our solar companies with revenues of less than $100 million (and not yet profitable) received a government loan of $580 million,’ Jones wrote in an email to Lawrence H. Summers, who, at the time, was Obama's chief economic advisor. ‘While that is good for us, I can't imagine it's a good way for the government to use taxpayer money.’
The DOE maintains that the sentiments expressed in the emails represent normal discussion of investment risk and do not reveal any favoritism by the Obama administration toward Solyndra.
‘These emails show that the administration was aware of those risks, and that decisions were based on more than two years of rigorous analysis and due diligence by career officials spanning two administrations,’ spokesperson Damien LaVera said in a statement provided to the New York Times.