Solyndra Abstract When reading this essay you will get an understanding of a brief history of Solyndra. This essay will also contain some of the many laws that have been broken by Solyndra. Solyndra was found in 2005 by Dr. Christian Gronet. In 2006 Dr. Gronet opened the Solyndra office, which is its headquarters in Fremont, California. It wasn’t until 2007 before they were able to begin production on Fab 1. (Solyndra. com) During 2008 Solyndra was able to open a new office in Germany along with their first commercial solar panel shipments.
Going into 2009 it looked like it was going to a great year and to Solyndra it was. They reached the $100 million dollar revenue mark by having the largest single installation in the U. S. (Solyndra. com). This was also the year that they received a $535 million stimulus package, DOE loan guarantee for continued construction. This loan from the DOE was such big deal because of the “Green Jobs” that it would create that Vice President Biden, Energy Secretary Chu, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger paid visits to the Solyndra offices.
In truth this was only the beginning of problems to come. Even though there were auditors raising concerns about whether Solyndra can continue as a company President Obama visits Solyndra in 2010 as states “that Solyndra is a model company”. (Washington Post Sept. 23 2011). Then in August 2011 this so called “model company” filed for bankruptcy and closes its plant. This is where the problems begin with Solyndra. With Solyndra filling for bankruptcy after receiving the $539 million in stimulus money from the DOE it threw up the red flags.
What laws if any were broken? According to Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla officials from the Department of Energy and the White House broke the Energy Policy Act of 2005. (Newsmaxs. com, Scicchitano and Martella) The Energy Policy Act of 2005 was passed by the 109th Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush on August 8th 2005. (doi. net) The part of the Energy Act that law makers feels that has been broken states that “obligations, or loan guarantees, shall not be subordinated to other financing”(giga. com By Katie Fehrenbacher Sep. 14, 2011).
Law makers felt that this law is being broke because the DOE continued to try and get private investors to invest more funds into Solyndra knowing the whole time that they were going to file for bankruptcy. One of the private investors in Solyndra is a billionaire from Oklahoma named George Kaiser. Not only is he an investor in Solyndra Kaiser is the biggest investor in the failed company and he was also a big donor to President Obama 2008 presidential campaign. This has law makers thinking that Kaiser received preferential treatment when it came to getting stimulus money. (articles. sfgate. om) Trying to prove that preferential treatment existed Congress is finding e-mails between White House advisors and Kaiser that during visits to the White House Solyndra and other contracts were discussed. Kaiser stills say that at no time did he or any of his business associates lobby the White House when it comes to Solyndra so that they could receive the money. (politico. com By Darren Samuelsohn p1) The problem that Kaiser is having during a fund raiser dinner he sat next to Obama and Senator Reid for two hours, but says nothing came up about Solndra. Instead what came up was how the Chinese were taking over the solar market.
What does look bad for Kaiser was his conversation with Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina on if there is any way that the Buy American Act can be bypassed. With all the e-mails and the meetings with Obama and his staff makes it seem that Kaiser has broke The Energy Policy Act of 2005 and it also seems that it goes straight to the White House. It took only a matter of days after Solyndra filed for bankruptcy for a former employee, Peter Kohlstadt to file a class action lawsuit against Solyndra. The lawsuit claims that should Solyndra pay laid-off employees 60 days of wages and benefits. (mercurynews. om, By George Avalos) Kohlstadit feels that the company didn’t give any type of advance notice before the company decided to lay-off employees and close their office. By doing this it is felt that Solyndra failed to go by state and federal labor laws since there were more than 50 employees laid-off. When filing this lawsuit Koklstadt also filed on behalf of over 1,000 other employees. In the Court Documents it is also filed that Solyndra broke the WARN Act which stands for Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act. (mercurynews. com) The WARN Act was enacted by on August 4th 1988 and took effect six months later on February 4th 1989.
This Act offers protection to company’s workers, families and the community, because it is designed for employers to give a sixty day notice to its employees when they have to close or lay-off mass employees. Employers must give notice to any effected employees or representatives of the employees, to the state dislocated worker unit, and to the local government. (doleta. gov p1) Any company that has over 100 employees that have work at the company for more than six months and that average more than 20 hours per week their employees are covered under this act.
If an employee works for any level of government they aren’t covered by WARN. What may help Solyndra in this case is one of the exceptions to the Act. It allows exception if the company is a faltering company that the company tries to get new capital to stay open. This is so that the opportunity to get the new capital isn’t ruined and this will only apply to companies that have plant closings. With everything that has gone on wit Solyndra and the $535 billion loan was there any fraud committed? It depends on just who you ask and which side of isle you are on in Congress.
Most people would agree that there was fraud committed and the fraud was committed by President Obama. Where the Obama administration is running into trouble is the fact that he sign off on the loan even though he knew about the problems that Solyndra was having troubles. With knowing this when Solyndra went bankrupt the private investors would receive their money back once the company’s assets were sold off. (nationalreview. com, Andrew McCarthy) This of course would leave the taxpayer hanging in the wind not getting their money back. The private investors that would be getting some of their money back just happen to be Obama supporters.
No matter if it’s someone on the Presidents staff or if it’s President Obama himself, criminal law doesn’t assume that government officials made loans in good faith. The law targets anyone. If found guilty, anyone that commits fraud on the United States through government loans can be put in prison for up to 30 years. There are lawmakers that feel that what Obama has done with Solyndra is the same as what Martha Stewart in 2003. What was being done is that Obama was withholding information that is damaging to the company so that he could inflate the value of Solyndra’s stock value. nationalreview. com, Andrew McCarthy) To date Congress feels strong enough about the White House and President Obama involvement that they have sent two subpoenas to the White House. At this point and the White House has refused to comply with any of the subpoenas. The reasoning for not complying with the subpoenas is that the White House believes that the subpoenas would cause “unreasonable burden on the president’s ability to meet his constitutional duties” (foxnews. com). The other roadblock that Obama is putting forth is that he is protected by “Executive Privilege. At this time Energy Secretary Chu has taken full responsibility for the Solyndra loans. The thing is he may have taken responsibility he did not apologize for giving out the loans. Chu also said that if he had known what he does today he would have said no to giving out the loan to Solyndra. At the end of the day Secretary Chu stayed true to President Obama and his donors and said that George Kaiser did not influence any decisions when it came to the loan. Conclusion In conclusion President Obama, George Kaiser, and Secretary of Energy Chu can deny that what happen with this $535 Billion loan was perfectly legal.
In the end they may be correct but what should have been done is more research. If someone knew about Solyndra’s problems and ignored it for personal gain they should be thrown in jail. The sad thing about all of this is that around 1,100 employees lost their job without any notice and secondary is the tax dollars that will be lost forever. In the end will anyone go to jail over this? I would say probably not because as in the past it will just get swept under the rug. Reference Page www. solyndra. com/about-us/timeline/ www. washingtonpost. com/politics/a-history-of-solyndra/2011/ ww. newsmax. com/InsideCover/solyndra-stearns-loan-investigation/2011/ doi. net/iepa/EnergyPolicyActof2005. pdf gigaom. com/cleantech/solyndra-hearing-did-the-loan-restructuring-break-the-law/By Katie Fehrenbacher Sep. 14, 2011 articles. sfgate. com/2011-11-10/news/30385627_1_obama-fundraiser-mails-obama-donors http://www. politico. com/news/stories http://www. mercurynews. com/bay-area-news/ci_18835773 http://www. mercurynews. com/bay-area-news http://www. doleta. gov/programs/factsht/warn. htm http://www. nationalreview. com/articles/277512