FBI Raids Solyndra The Show Piece Of Big Govt. Just Prior To Obama's Speech Wanting More.
Paul Chinn / The Chronicle
An agent parks her car in front of the main entrance after the FBI and Department of Energy investigators served search warrants at the Solyndra solar company offices in Fremont, Calif. on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011. Last week, Solyndra laid off all of its 1,100 employees after filing for bankruptcy.
What better example of why government should not get involved in "picking winners" with tax payers money.
That this collapse, with potential criminal activity involved, should come on the day of President Obama's address to congress setting out the case for even more government intervention in the economy is classic. *************************************
FBI agents served search warrants this morning at Solyndra, the Fremont solar company that abruptly closed last week, two years after receiving more than $500 million in federal stimulus money, an agency official said.
The search is part of a joint investigation involving the FBI and the Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General, said FBI spokeswoman Julianne Sohn, who declined to elaborate.
Solyndra spokesman Dave Miller said today, "We are cooperating, that is all I can say."
Solyndra was the first company to receive a multi-million-dollar loan guarantee from the federal government as part of the Obama administration's effort to create green jobs. The company, founded in 2005, received $528 million in federal loans to help build a factory in Fremont for making tube-shaped solar modules.
But Solyndra closed its doors on Aug. 31, saying it couldn't compete against cheap solar cells flooding into the market from new, heavily subsidized factories in China. The company filed bankruptcy papers earlier this week, listing $784 million in secured loans, including the government's money.
Solyndra's abrupt collapse has turned into a political embarrassment for the Obama administration. Last year, Obama toured the company's new plant and said that "The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra." Critics have seized on the closure to brand Obama's green-jobs initiative a waste of taxpayers' money.
The company closed without warning and without giving the advance notice to its workers that many large companies must provide under federal and state law. The company has said it believed it was exempt from notifying its 900 full-time and 200 contract workers under a loophole in the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act.
The company's biggest lender was the federal government, which loaned Solyndra $528 million in 2009 to build a factory near its Fremont headquarters as part of an effort to boost renewable power companies.
In February, a congressional panel started investigating how Solyndra won approval for the loan guarantees. The House Energy and Commerce Committee's oversight and investigation subcommittee subpoenaed records about the Solyndra loan from the Energy Department.
Department officials have said that although Solyndra's application was vetted, investing in startup companies always carries risks. The loan program was created under the Bush administration in 2005 but became part of the federal stimulus effort under Obama. Solyndra first applied for the loans in 2006.
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