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Loan Guarantees

October 8, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee and Matea Gold, Los Angeles Times
A top fundraiser for President Obama was far more involved in the $535-million loan guarantee to now-bankrupt solar equipment maker Solyndra than the administration had previously disclosed, according to newly released emails. Steven Spinner, a former Energy Department official, was supposed to be recused from the decision to select Solyndra to participate in the agency's $25-billion program to back loans for renewable energy projects because his wife's law firm represented the company.
October 7, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
The director of the controversial Energy Department program that guaranteed a $535-million loan to the now-bankrupt solar equipment maker Solyndra stepped down Thursday, hours after President Obama defended the program at a news conference. Obama asserted that the loan guarantees helped new technology companies compete with heavily subsidized rivals in Europe and China. The Energy Department, meanwhile, said Jonathan Silver had told Secretary Steven Chu earlier in the year that he planned to leave when it became clear the program would be finished with its loan guarantees by the end of September.
September 26, 2011 | By Tom Hamburger, Kim Geiger and Matea Gold, Washington Bureau
Long before the politically connected California solar firm Solyndra went bankrupt, President Obama was warned by his top economic advisors about the financial and political risks of the Energy Department loan guarantee program that boosted the company's rapid ascent. At a White House meeting in late October, Lawrence H. Summers, then director of the National Economic Council, and Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, expressed concerns that the selection process for federal loan guarantees wasn't rigorous enough and raised the risk that funds could be going to the wrong companies, including ones that didn't need the help.
September 23, 2011 | By Ken Bensinger and Alexa Vaughn
The Department of Energy granted final approval to three new loan guarantees for green energy projects, even as it faced continued scrutiny over $528 million in government loan assurances to solar panel maker Solyndra, which went bankrupt. The new guarantees were announced Friday after executives of Solyndra invoked their 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination before a congressional subcommittee investigating the loan guarantee process. Meanwhile, two other solar companies said they would probably not get funding under the same program, despite earlier promises from the government.
September 20, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said that he plans to launch an investigation into government loan programs, in response to the implosion of solar equipment maker Solyndra, which got a $535-million federal loan guarantee in 2009. Solyndra was the first recipient of a loan guarantee under a program authorized by the Bush administration in 2005 and beefed up under President Obama's stimulus act.  But in the last few weeks, the company has shuttered its operations, laid off nearly all of its 1,100 workers and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
September 20, 2011 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
Two House Democrats want to question two major investors in solar panel manufacturer Solyndra about the failure of the Fremont, Calif., company. Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) asked that executives from two of Solyndra's largest private investors, Argonaut Private Equity and Madrone Capital Partners, be called to testify at a hearing Friday or in the near future. Solyndra Chief Executive Brian Harrison and Chief Financial Officer W.G. Stover Jr. are expected to testify Friday about the failure of the company, which received a $535-million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy in 2009 as part of the Obama administration's economic stimulus plan.
September 15, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times
The Treasury Department has opened an inquiry into the role one of its units played in granting a $535-million federal loan guarantee to solar equipment maker Solyndra, which collapsed into bankruptcy 10 days ago. Once heralded by the Obama administration as the kind of innovative manufacturer that could help revive the economy, Solyndra laid off nearly all its 1,100 workers at the end of August and ceased operations. After it filed its Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Court petition, the FBI raided its offices in Fremont, Calif., and the homes of its executives.
September 8, 2011 | By Stuart Pfeifer and Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times
Federal agents executed a search warrant at the Northern California headquarters of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra Inc., which filed for bankruptcy protection this week despite receiving $535 million in federal stimulus loan guarantees. The FBI and Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General confirmed that their agents were involved in the raid Thursday at Solyndra's offices in Fremont but declined to discuss what they were investigating. FBI spokesman Peter D. Lee said documents related to the search had been sealed.
September 2, 2011
When Solyndra, a Bay Area maker of industrial solar panels, announced plans to file for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, it wasn't just a blow for the company's 1,100 laid-off employees or the investors who have pumped millions into the venture. It called into question the Obama administration's entire clean-energy stimulus program. Solyndra was the first company to be awarded a federal loan guarantee under the stimulus, worth $535 million. Taxpayers are likely to end up on the hook for much if not all of that amount, a highly embarrassing development for President Obama because he was among the company's biggest cheerleaders.
September 1, 2011 | By Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times
The California solar panel manufacturer that received a high-profile $535-million Energy Department loan guarantee said it was ceasing operations, laying of 1,100 workers and preparing to file for bankruptcy protection. Solyndra of Fremont, Calif., said it had been rocked by stifling global economic conditions and faced heavy competition from Chinese firms that were undercutting it on costs. It was quite a fall from late 2009, when Solyndra received a $535-million federal loan guarantee as part of the $787-billion economic stimulus package.
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