Did Obama Look Into It?

- August 7, 2012

Obama Promised Solyndra's CEO He Would Look Into Putting Their Solar Panels On Government Buildings

Solyndra Investor: "Getting Business From Uncle Sam Is A Principal Element Of Solyndra's Channel Strategy." (Tom Baruch, Email From Tom Baruch To Steve Mitchell And Brian Harrison, 8/10/10)


During His June 2010 Visit, A Solyndra Investor Heard Obama Promise Solyndra's CEO That He Would Look Into Putting Their Panels On Government Buildings. "When Obama visited Solyndra in June 2010, Chris Gronet spoke very openly about the need for installation of Solyndra's rooftop solar on U.S. government buildings. I heard Obama actually promise Chris that he would look into it when he returned to Washington." (Tom Baruch, Email From Tom Baruch To Steve Mitchell And Brian Harrison, 8/10/10)

In August 2011, Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison Wrote An Email To Obama Officials Stating That "Solyndra Has Had A Significant Engagement With GSA Over The Past Year." "Thanks for this introduction. Solyndra has had a significant engagement with GSA over the past year, including a recent meeting with Administrator Johnson at the GovEnergy Conference in Cincinnati. I have have [sic] copied [REDACTED], Managing Director Of Government Sales. [REDACTED] will be directly in contact with [REDACTED]." (Brian Harrison, Email To Jonathan Silver, Steve Mitchell, And [REDACTED], ft. 866, 8/29/11)

  • A [REDACTED] Director For The GSA Emailed DOE Loan Program Chief Jonathan Silver, Stating That He "Will Put Together A List Of Projects And Associated GC's That Have Not Yet Purchased The Solar Panel Equipment Of Our Projects" For Solyndra. "Jonathan - feel free to have someone from this company contact me; my contact info is below. We will put together a list of projects and associated GC's that have not yet purchased the solar panel equipment of our projects." ([REDACTED], Email To Jonathan Silver, ft. 866, 8/29/11)

In An Email With George Kaiser, Solyndra Investor Steve Mitchell Said "We Do Have A Contact Within The WH That We Are Working With" Concerning Government Contracts. "Understood. The WH meeting is more about assistance in selling panels to the government than it is about getting the DOE loan revised. The WH has offered to help in the past and we do have a contact within the WH that we are working with. I think the company is hoping that we have some unnatural relationship that can open bigger doors-I've cautioned them that no one really has those relationships anymore." (Steve Mitchell, Email To Ken Levit And George Kaiser, ft. 437, 10/6/10)

  • After Expressing The Deteriorating Financial Condition Of The Company, Mitchell Wrote That "The Current Thinking Is That The White House Chief Of Staff Is The Right Person To Approach" To Sell Solar Panels To The Department Of Defense For Their Rooftops. "We are also planning to ask the DOD to execute a purchase order to buy our panels - DOD has 3X the rooftops of Wal-Mart and is the biggest consumer of electricity in the US (and wants to buy solar panels). We are still exploring the right way to approach this without getting bogged down in all of the government pitfalls (the US needs a Premier for just one day). The current thinking is that the White House chief of staff is the right person to approach - obviously big changes in that role and they have asked who has strong connections there." (Steve Mitchell, Email To George Kaiser, f. 417, 10/3/10)

Ex-GSA Head Martha Johnson Was Supposed To Visit Solyndra To Talk About Putting Solar Panels On Government Building During The Week Of The Infamous GSA Las Vegas Conference. "Ex-General Services Administration head Martha Johnson was scheduled to visit Solyndra the week of the now-infamous Las Vegas GSA conference, according to internal agency emails released Wednesday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. … On Oct. 26, a meeting was scheduled with at least Brita and GSA White House liaison Michael Robertson to discuss the planned Solyndra visit. GSA spokesman Adam Elkington told POLITICO he wasn't immediately sure the meeting occurred. The purpose of the proposed visit was unclear, but a DOE official earlier in 2010 had suggested a meeting to help Solyndra get a contract to provide solar panels for government buildings. As it happens, the Solyndra visit would have coincided with the Las Vegas conference that cost Johnson her job." (Dan Berman, "GSA Chief Was Scheduled To Visit Solyndra, Emails Show," Politico, 4/11/12)

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