The Obama administration is now pushing a rather dubious defense for handing out $535 million in stimulus funds to the now-bankrupt solar panel manufacturer Solyndra. They're blaming Bush:
After spending months touting the Obama administration's decision to loan $535 million to the California solar energy upstart Solyndra, top officials took a new tack Wednesday while testifying before Congress about the company's abrupt shut-down and bankruptcy: the loan, they said, was actually the Bush administration's idea. The Energy Department's top lending officer told Congress that the Solyndra loan application was not only filed during President Bush's term, but it surged towards completion before Obama took office in January 2009.
"By the time the Obama administration took office in late January 2009, the loan programs' staff had already established a goal of, and timeline for, issuing the company a conditional loan guarantee commitment in March 2009," said Jonathan Silver, who heads the Energy loan program.
Republicans pushed back hard against this version of events, unearthing internal Energy Department emails that indicate the panel evaluating the loans had made the unanimous decision to shelve Solyndra's application two weeks before Obama took office.
If the first consideration of Solyndra came during the presidency of George W. Bush, that means that the application for the loan guarantee came after the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was passed. Clearly, this type of loan guarantee program was not a Bush Depratment of Energy (DOE) priority. The fact that Solyndra submitted a loan application does not mean the Bush White House or DOE approved the program or did more than accept the application and shuffle the paperwork a bit. And the DOE emails mentioned above appear to confirm that is all that happened.
It only became a White House priority after Obama took office. As the same ABC news report above goes on to note, "The Solyndra loan was so central to this strategy that the administration initially planned to have Obama personally announce it, and later sent the president to the company's solar panel manufacturing facility in Fremont, California to celebrate its work."
But the Obama White House's attempt to blame the Solyndra mess on the previous administration underscores how opportunistic and selective they've been when it comes to crediting Bush. Note that while the effort to take out Osama bin Laden began under the Bush administration, that point was not mentioned when the president took credit for it, even though it was a Bush priority and major efforts were directed at the effort.
With Solyndra, however, it’s being associated with Bush even though all they did was have an ineffectual bureaucracy that accepted proposals from anyone who submitted them.