Another solar panel company is under fire which was bailed out with taxpayer money, before it went bankrupt, and all of this follows in the footsteps of the failed Solyndra. This new case involves a congressional and criminal investigation.
Abound Solar, based in Longmont, Colo. Colorado’s Weld County has launched a securities fraud investigation following allegations that Abound may have misled investors and a bank before securing funds.
“Our goal is if crimes were committed to make sure individuals are held accountable,” said Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck.
Back in December of 2010, Abound had just secured a $400 million federal loan guarantee. Like Solyndra’s more than $500 million loan, it was part of President Obama’s green energy stimulus program.
But just 18 months later, Abound was filing for bankruptcy, protection after burning through $70 million from taxpayers. Company employees have since come forward saying Abound officials knew their solar panels were defective and sold them anyway in order to meet benchmarks, so the company could get the Department of Energy loan.
“We heard from one employee, a whistleblower employee, who made the statement; the solar panels worked fine as long as you didn’t put them in the sun,” said Republican Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner.
Abound and the Energy Department blamed the company’s failure on competition from China. But now the House Committee on Energy and Commerce wants to know what the DOE knew about Abound’s quality problems and when they knew it.
The committee is now asking DOE Secretary Steven Chu to turn over all documents related to the Abound loan including an independent engineering analysis done two months before the loan was finalized that reportedly should have raised red flags.
An investigative reporter, Todd Shepherd who works for the Independence Institute,
a Libertarian think tank, has interviewed several former employees and concludes it was clear by the fall of 2010 that the panels had catastrophic defects, such as a tendency to catch fire and much lower output than promised.
“Either people at Abound knew they couldn’t produce a good product and they misled the DOE,” said Shepherd, “or the DOE knew how bad the product was and they were willing to overlook it simply because the politics of green energy is such a feel good political movement.”
Obama has a habit of picking losers, and breaking the law.
Shepherd suggests political payback may be partially why Abound secured the federal loan in the first place. Here’s where the story gets interesting. One of the company’s earlier and biggest investors was Bohemian Companies, based in Fort Collins. Bohemian Companies is chaired by Pat Stryker, a major Democratic donor. Obama cronyism once again.
Records show that Stryker donated $500,000 to Democrats over the last five years including $50,000 to President Obama’s inaugural fund and $35,800 to his victory fund in 2008.
“She is listed in the White House logs three times,” said Shepherd, “and all those times come around key points in the process of Abound Solar getting this loan.”
The loan also had support from several Republicans including Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. Abound had plans of opening a manufacturing plant in his state.
And if you really want to see how Obama has lied, today in an interview with a 9News reporter Obama said “Well, Kyle, I think that if you look at our record that these loans that are given out by the Department of Energy for clean energy have created jobs all across the country and only about four percent of these loans were going to some very cutting-edge industries that are going to allow us to figure out how to produce energy in a clean, renewable way in the future and create jobs in Colorado and all around the country.”
Well Obama, if you’ve created all those jobs, then how do you account for the 23 million who are still out of