Testifying before a House subcommittee on Thursday, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu took responsibility for loans made to Solyndra, the now-bankrupt company.
"As the secretary of Energy, the final decisions on Solyndra were mine, and I made them with the best interest of the taxpayer in mind," Chu told the House Energy and Commerce Committee panel investigating Solyndra, USA Today reports.
But Secretary Chu denied politics played a role in decisions to grant $535 million of loan guarantees to Solyndra, which was run by Obama bundler George Kaiser.
"I want to be clear: over the course of Solyndra's loan guarantee, I did not make any decision based on political considerations," Secretary Chu declared.
Whether or not you believe politics played a role in the Solyndra loans -- or whether you even care -- is probably a function of your political affiliation. But Hoover Institute fellow Peter Schweizer says Solyndra is just the "tip of the iceberg" of what he calls "very suspicious loans" made by President Obama's Energy Department.
Of the $20 billion of government grants and loan guarantees made to green-tech companies by the DOE since 2009, over $16 billion were allocated to "Obama-related companies," Schweizer tells me in the accompanying video. "By that I mean either the chief executive or leading investor was a member of his campaign finance committee or was a bundler for his campaign."
For example, 16 companies backed by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins have received DOE green-tech loans, he notes. Kleiner Perkins founder John Doerr is a major Obama supporter and former Vice President Al Gore is a senior partner at the firm.
Other examples include BrightSource, which received a $1.4 billion loan and whose backers include Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergei Brinn.
A full list can be found here and the green-tech loans are detailed in Schweizer's new book, Throw Them All Out, where he claims the Obama administration may have conducted "the greatest -- and most expensive -- example of crony capitalism in American history."
As a fellow at the right-leaning Hoover Institute, editor at the right-leaning Breitbart.com and adviser to Sarah Palin's PAC, Schweizer's political affiliations are pretty obvious. As such, and in the spirit of fairness, I'd like to offer any of the aforementioned green-tech investors, as well as the White House and the Department of Energy an open invitation to appear on The Daily Ticker and respond to Schweizer's allegations.
In the meantime, I will note Schweizer's book is totally bipartisan in its criticism of Congress, as the title implies (Throw Them All Out) and as detailed in part one of this interview: 'Throw Them All Out' Author Says STOCK Act Won't Stop Pols' Insider Trades