According to author Allan Lichtmans book The Keys to the White House," President Barack Obama is set to win a second term in 2012 as long as he can — among a few other things — avoid a scandal.
However, in the wake of developing stories on the bankruptcy of Solyndra, a solar panel company touted by the Obama administration, and Fast and Furious, a government operation that put guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, this may not be possible.
Solyndra first came into the news on Sept. 6, when the company filed for bankruptcy and laid off 1,100 workers. Since then, Solyndra's relationships with the White House and Obama donors have come under scrutiny. Connections with investor George Kaiser, a billionaire who raised more than $50,000 for Obama's 2008 presidential run, as well as a $535 million government loan with a much lower quarterly interest rate than other projects, are being investigated.
In 2010, Obama visited Solyndra's Fremont plant, touting it as a "testament to American ingenuity."
"It's here that companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future," Obama said. "We are poised to generate countless new jobs — good-paying, middle-class jobs — right here in the United States of America."
Administration emails show that the White House tried to rush federal reviewers for a decision on granting the half-billion loan to Solyndra, The Washington Post reports.
"We have ended up with a situation of having to do rushed approvals on a couple of occasions (and we are worried about Solyndra at the end of the week)," one email stated. "We would prefer to have sufficient time to do our due diligence reviews."
An August 2009 email states that a credit-rating agency predicted the solar power project would run out of cash in September 2011. Despite that, Solyndra spent $480,000 this year to lobby Congress. Solyndra also sought a second loan valued at $469 million.
"Here's the bottom line," Peter Lynch, a solar industry analyst, told ABC News. "It costs them $6 to make a unit. They're selling it for $3. In order to be competitive today, they have to sell it for between $1.5 and $2. That is not a viable business plan."
Although the White House said it had no involvement in the Solyndra loan application, the Associated Press reports the administration restructured the loan in a way that would allow private investors like Kaiser to move ahead of taxpayers for repayment in case of default. While White House logs show Kaiser made at least 16 visits to the president's aides since 2009, the George Kaiser Family Foundation told The New York Times "he did not participate in any discussions with the U.S. government regarding the loan."
Additionally, the Los Angeles Times reports that Steve Spinner, one of Obama's top fundraisers in 2008, helped monitor the Energy Department's issuance of $25 billion in loans to renewable energy projects, although the administration says he was not involved in the selection of applicants.
At a Sept. 14 House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Solyndra, committee Democrats and witnesses pointed out that Solyndra first submitted its loan application in 2006, and the application was reviewed by the Bush administration. However, emails show that Bush energy official Lachlan Seward told the Energy Department to stop engaging in discussions with Solyndra.
The New York Times reports that the Department of Labor recently began a Solyndra inquiry as well. The department is looking to see if China — and subsidies from the Chinese government — are to blame for Solyndra's failure.
"Solyndra and other U.S. solar industry manufacturers have been affected by a worldwide plunge in solar cell prices, based in part on huge subsidies Chinese solar manufactures receive from their government," Patti Castro, the interim director of Alameda County's Workforce Investment Board, said in a petition.
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