Treasury Department Watchdog Investigating Solyndra’s Loan

Treasury Department’s Watchdog Probes Federal Bank Role
Jeffrey Zients, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), right, and Jonathan Silver, executive director of the Department of Energy Loans Programs Office, swear in to testify during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Solyndra LLC in Washingtonon Sept. 14, 2011. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The U.S. Treasury Department’s inspector general is investigating the Federal Financing Bank’s role in providing $527 million of federal financing to Solyndra LLC, a solar-panel manufacturer that filed for bankruptcy protection this month.

The watchdog is examining the circumstances of the loan, part of a process that occurs “whenever there are questions raised as to the efficiency or integrity of a Treasury program or operation,” Rich Delmar, counsel to the Treasury’s inspector general, said today in an e-mailed statement.

Solyndra, promoted by the Obama administration as a successful example of stimulus money spurring development of a clean-energy industry, filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 6. The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the company’s Fremont, California, headquarters two days later joined by the Energy Department’s office of inspector general, which has questioned the Obama administration’s documentation of loan guarantees.

The financing bank, part of the Treasury, loaned money to Solyndra under the administration’s guarantees. David Miller, a Solyndra spokesman, didn’t have an immediate response to the investigation.

An inspector general’s routine audit of the Federal Financing Bank for fiscal 2010, using an independent public accountant, reviewed whether some disbursements for the Solyndra loan were properly authorized and recorded, and “found that they were,” Delmar said.

Republicans on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee today released findings from a seven-month investigation into U.S. support for the company before a hearing where lawmakers questioned two administration officials about White House support for the company and its goals for clean energy.

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