Scandal-plagued Solyndra has ties abroad -- and you'll never guess where
publication date: Sep 27, 2011
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Solyndra, the Fremont, California-based solar energy company that received a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. government in 2009 and a visit from President Obama in 2010, has a close relationship with some of Israel's top solar power companies. Solyndra's favorable loan guarantee, awarded to the firm after Solyndra's top Washington lobbyists met with Obama's top political adviser Valerie Jarrett, was followed by reports of massive internal fraud, bankruptcy, the laying off of 1,100 workers, and a raid by FBI agents.
Solyndra's main marketer of its products in Israel is Israsol, a solar and wind power firm headquartered in Jerusalem. Solyndra, in turn, has as its main supplier of small carbon footprint lighting, Metrolight, an Israeli company with its international headquarters in Netanya, Israel, U.S. headquarters in Dana Point, California; and U.S. operating center in Brentwood, Tennessee.
The Obama White House is being charged with applying political pressure on Department of Energy loan regulators, permitting Solyndra to bypass required evaluations of its corporate and product worthiness prior to being awarded the half-billion dollar government loan guarantee. Tulsa oil billionaire George B. Kaiser, a significant investor in Solyndra through his $4 billion George Kaiser Family Foundation, was a major fundraiser for Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. Kaiser contributed more than $50,000 of his own money to Obama's campaign.
According to The New York Times, Solyndra employed leading Washington lobbyists to grease the skids for its loan guarantee approval. Among them was the firm McBee Strategic Consulting. One of McBee's lobbyists who lobbied for Solyndra, Michael Sheehy, was a top aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Another lobbying group that went to bat for Solyndra at the White House was the Glover Park Group, whose staff includes its founding partner and managing director Joe Lockhart, former White House Press Secretary for President Bill Clinton. Other senior staff at Glover Park include Lockhart's press secretary predecessor, Dee Dee Myers; Arik Ben-Zvi, former Clinton and Gore advance man and election consultant in Israel, the United States, Bulgaria, and the British Virgin Islands; Jason Boxt, the former National Deputy Political Director at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC); Carter Eskew, chief strategist for the 2000 Gore campaign; and Beth Tritter, former legislative aide to Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) and board member for the Washington Chapter of the American Jewish Committee.
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