White House press secretary Jay Carney told ABC’s Jake Tapper that there is no evidence that the White House was involved in the Solyndra loan and that a company executive’s visit was for charitable purposes.
TAPPER: The House subcommittee has looked into the Solyndra matter to a degree. I’m just wondering, is it normal for the White House to show such interest in a Department of Energy loan? Is that –
CARNEY: I’m not sure what — you’re referring to the –
TAPPER: All the emails back and forth –
CARNEY: Right, the emails, as have been amply demonstrated, because we provided them as part of our cooperation, had to do with trying to schedule whether or not the — there would — the vice president was going to make an announcement. And it was a scheduling issue. That was the focus of the White House’s interest in this.
TAPPER: Well, I mean — OK, I understand that. But it does seem like the –
CARNEY: If you’re asking is the White House interested in the overall program and making its investments in –
TAPPER: I mean, is it normal — is it standard operating procedure for the White House to get so involved in a loan that the Department of Energy is –
CARNEY: Well, I have to correct you because there’s no evidence that the White House was involved in the loan. This was — this was the White House involved — because they weren’t — the White House was involved in trying to find out when a decision would be made, so they could make — staff here could make a decision about the vice president’s having an event.
And yes, as you know and anybody who travels with us or — understands the sort of complexity of scheduling White House events involving the two principals, the president and the vice president, that’s — that process engages a lot of people and if — and there’s just a whole series of decisions that have to be made regarding scheduling, whatever the nature of the event.
TAPPER: Just a few days before the loan was approved, the chief investor, George Kaiser, met with Rouse, Jarrett and Goolsbee. The White House has said that they think that meeting was largely about some of his charitable work. Have you determined what entirely that meeting was about and whether or not the loan was brought up and discussed?
CARNEY: What — I would point you simply to what George Kaiser himself has said, that he did not lobby or discuss — you know, he did not lobby the administration officials with regard to this. He – with Solyndra. He was involved in a lot of charitable efforts and it’s our understanding that while we haven’t looked into every meeting and — that he might have had here, that that was the focus of his conversations, generally speaking, at the White House.
TAPPER: Do you reject the suggestion that the emails seem to imply that the visit by the vice president, which I guess ultimately was a satellite visit and not an in-person visit, but that that played a role in whether or not the loan was approved? You have an OMB official saying that the announcement should be postponed, this is the first loan guarantee, “we should have full review with all hands on deck to make sure we get it right,” but the announcement was not postponed.
CARNEY: Well, again, there’s — if you look at the emails and what — you know, the issue that involves the vice president having this event did not drive the loan process. The loan was made on — the loan guarantee was made on a merit-based — as a result of a merit-based process with — by, you know, career professionals over at the DOE. The same process has been used, has been in place for all these investments and –
TAPPER: So it did not — it did not play a role?
But according to CBS News, emails released Thursday night show that White House officials were concerned about a default by Solyndra and how it would effect the President’s reelection chances.
“The optics of a Solyndra default will be bad,” an official from the Office of Management and Budget wrote in a Jan. 31 email to a senior OMB official. “The timing will likely coincide with the 2012 campaign season heating up.”
They sure will when you lose $528 million of taxpayer money.
The Associated Press also obtained an email from White House official Greg Nelson, who helped plan Obama’s May 2010 visit to Solyndra, dismissing a trade publication story that criticized the company’s financial health as, “Seems B.S” he wrote in July 2010.
It is becoming clear that even if Obama and Biden weren’t directly involved, there were many people in the administration who knew that Solyndra was on shaky ground more than a year ago. But they still allowed the company to borrow additional funds this past February from private investors and place those claims above that of the taxpayers.
So much for transparency.