Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Why Solyndra Won't Go Away

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the ongoing congressional investigation of Solyndra, the failed solar company that received a $535 million federal stimulus loan. To Republicans, the Solyndra episode is an egregious example of White House perfidy and cronyism, such that they’ve built a whole catechism around it that candidates routinely pay obeisance to on the campaign trail. But despite all the hysteria, Solyndra’s failure was fairly routine — costly and unfortunate, sure, a political nightmare, yes, but hardly scandalous. Solyndra was a promising company that suddenly went bust when the price of silicon plummeted and wiped out its competitive advantage in the marketplace (more about that here).

But it’s embarrassing to President Obama, not least because he personally touted Solyndra as a beacon of “American ingenuity and dynamism” at a 2010 campaign stop, and a few of his big donors had financial stakes in the company. And so Republican investigators have pursued it with a vengeance, hoping to turn up the proverbial smoking gun that confirms their darkest suspicions — so far, with no luck.