Bankrupt solar panel manufacturer Abound Solar's troubles are about to get a whole lot worse. The Washington Examiner is reporting that U.S. House investigators are asking executives and former executives of Abound Solar to testify before Congress regarding its $400 million taxpayer-backed loan.
Reports The Examiner:
The House Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending invited the Abound Solar CEO and former CEO to testify, along with some Energy Department officials after the company announced it is filing for bankruptcy, despite drawing about $70 million of the $400 million available from the DOE loan guarantee.
The bankruptcy announcement comes after Abound laid off 280 employees in March. The DOE loan guarantee was projected to create 1200 permanent jobs.
As in the case of Solyndra, which declared bankruptcy last year, a bundler for President Obama’s campaign has a financial stake in the solar company.
Bohemian Companies, founded by Democratic mega-donor Pat Stryker, invested in Abound Solar in 2008. A year after the investment, but a year before Abound received a loan guarantee, Stryker apparently visited the White House. “The White House did not confirm that the visitor was the Pat Stryker in question and did not provide details about the meeting,” the Sunlight Foundation reported.
Stryker has still not confirmed publicly that she met with the White House, or what might have been discussed. Now that Congress is investigating the defunct deal, it’s something worth unraveling.
As Todd Shepherd has exhaustively reported, Abound Solar had major problems before they got the loan, leading many to question how political connections helped the ailing company secure the loan.
If Congress is looking for a suggestion of people to subpoena, we might also suggest former one-term Governor Bill Ritter. According to The Denver Post, Ritter "hand delivered two letters of support" for Abound Solar directly to Obama's Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu. After Ritter left office, Stryker's Bohemian Companies helped fund a $300,000 salary for Ritter at a new renewable energy center at CSU.
The more that comes out about Abound Solar the more it reeks of pay-to-play. It sure would be nice to put Pat Stryker and Bill Ritter under oath to find out exactly how taxpayers were put in a position to cover a $400 million loan to a politically connected company.
(Photo Credit: NREL)