It was bad enough that Solyndra, a solar energy company, abruptly closed its doors recently, after receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in federal loan guarantees as part of a federal government effort to promote “green jobs.” Today, the news got worse.
The media is reporting that the FBI agents, working in conjunction with the Department of Energy Inspector General’s office, served search warrants on Solyndra and fanned out to scour buildings on the Solyndra campus, looking for . . . something. In addition, Congress is investigating what happened, and two Democratic Representatives, Henry Waxman and Diane DeGette, have disclosed that less than two months ago they met with Solyndra’s CEO, who assured them the company was in strong financial position and in no danger of failing. They urge the Republican chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is conducting the investigation, to also look into why the CEO did not disclose the perilous condition of Solyndra.
I’m glad that Republicans and Democrats alike are interested in getting to the bottom of the Solyndra story, because investigating the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds is not a partisan issue, but rather is a straightforward “good government” issue. Every Member of Congress should want to know how this happened, and then use that information to assess whether the Department of Energy program, with its risky practice of providing substantial financial support directly to specific companies, should be continued — or should be ended in order to protect against misuse of tax dollars.