The head of the Energy Department’s controversial loan program announced Thursday that he was stepping down effective Friday, amid an expanding probe of the agency’s $535 million loan to a now-shuttered solar company.
Jonathan Silver’s departure comes as the Obama administration faces intensifying pressure and questions about its vetting of the solar startup Solyndra before providing it with so much taxpayer money. Solyndra closed up shop August 31, after Silver and other administration officials received numerous warnings about the company’s worsening finances, leaving 1,110 workers out of a job and taxpayers obligated to repay the federal loan.
Silver took over as head of the program after the Solyndra deal went through, so he’s not on the hook for it and he was in charge when the department killed a second $469 million loan to the same company. If he’s guilty of anything, so far as I can see, it was a foolish devotion to the gossamer promises of “green jobs”. There are plenty of people who share his misplaced faith. On the other hand, we shouldn’t applaud him too much. He held on to that second Solyndra loan to the bitter end. The only thing that kept it from going through was a report from Solyndra’s own auditors that the company was on the verge of collapse.
He’s a minor player in SolyndraScam but he was highly-placed and on the way out (since the program expired at the end of September and was not renewed), which makes him a convenient place for what few MSM outlets that have dug into the scandal to stop. The bigger figures — Secretary Chu, Valerie Jarrett, Vice President Biden, and the President himself — are still out there, though, and I guarantee you that SolyndraScam goes through more than one of them. The MSM has little interest in pursuing this story that far, though I hope one or two ambitious and ethical journalists see it through to the end.
The White House abused our trust and launched what looks for all the world like an extensive money laundering scheme. Jonathan Silver is not the only person responsible for it, nor is he the most powerful. Michelle Malkin asks if he’ll stay quiet or give up what he knows about what really happened. I don’t know if the Republicans in Congress have enough leverage to make his testimony worth his while (and Democrats certainly have no interest in the truth) but whatever they have, they ought to use.