2008: Solyndra officials donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to Barack Obama.
George Kaiser, Solyndra investor holding 36.7 percent of the company, personally donates $53,500 to Obama’s presidential campaign and Karen Alter, senior vice president of marketing, gives $23,000. Solyndra executives and board members donate $87,050 total to Obama’s election campaign.
2008: Steve Spinner, a Silicon Valley investor, raises more than $500,000 for Obama. (see April 2009)
May 2008: Bush administration officials start the review of the Solyndra loan application.
January 9, 2009: Two weeks before President George W. Bush leaves office, the Energy Department's credit committee votes against a loan commitment for Solyndra.
January 12, 2009: Energy officials receive several emails from Solyndra officials pressing the department complaining about the Jan. 9 decision to do an independent market analysis.
An email to a department official marked "urgent" expresses outrage that Bush officials have decided a few days earlier that while the loan application has "merit" it needs further study before officials could move forward with a taxpayer-financed loan.
January 13, 2009: Bush Energy official Lachlan Seward Seward sends email to Energy Department colleagues saying it is time to stop engaging with Solyndra officials. "After canvassing the [Energy Department's credit] committee it was the unanimous decision not to engage in further discussions with Solyndra at this time."
2009: George Kaiser Family Foundation donates $10,000 to the Urban Health Initiative at the University of Chicago Medical Center. (Several of Obama’s senior inner-circle advisers worked with or for now-first lady Michelle Obama when she held a leadership post at the University of Chicago Medical Center and helped create the Urban Health Initiative program.)
March 2009: Office of Management and Budget official's e-mail: “DOE is trying to deliver on the first loan guarantee within 60 days from inauguration.”
Matthew C. Rogers, the Energy Department official overseeing the loan guarantee program, says Energy Secretary Steven Chu has been personally reviewing loan applications and urging faster action on them.“We had to knock down some barriers standing in the way to get these projects funded,” says Rogers just days before Solyndra gets its provisional loan commitment.
March 2009: David Prend, whose firm Rockport Capital was also a Solyndra investor, writes an e-mail to the WH two weeks before Solyndra won conditional commitment on its loan. Prend thanks Greg Nelson, a WH clean-technology aide, for meeting with him.
March 7, 2009: "If you guys think this is a bad idea, I need to unwind the W[est] W[ing] QUICKLY," wrote Ronald A. Klain, who was chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, in another email.
March 10, 2009: "This deal is NOT ready for prime time," one White House budget analyst writes.
March 12, 2009 - April 14, 2011: Solyndra officials and investors make 20 trips to the West Wing. Kaiser is responsible for 16 of the 20 meetings that show up on the White House logs.
March 12, 2009: In three meetings on George Kaiser meets with Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors Austan Goolsbee at 11 a.m., Senior Advisor Pete Rouse at 3 p.m., and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council Heather Higginbottom at 6:30 p.m.
March 13, 2009: Kaiser meets with Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Jason Furman at 9 a.m.
[Former Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel and Adviser Valerie Jarrett also take meetings with Kaiser.]
March 17, 2009: OMB informs Treasury’s Office of Government Financial Policy that DoE will be issuing a press release on Solyndra, and it is OMB’s understanding that the Credit Review Board has approved the project and that the energy secretary could sign off on the deal “at any moment.”
March 18, 2009: DoE sends draft press release to Treasury Department “announcing Solyndra’s conditional commitment planned for issuance later that afternoon”
March 19, 2009: Treasury requests more time for review but later agrees with DoE’s request to expedite the review, “so that the press release could be issued on the morning of March 20, 2009”
March 19, 2009: Treasury staff offers feedback in a conference call noting concerns that include the amount of equity in the project, a preference for a partial guarantee and the DoE’s claims on Solyndra’s intellectual property in the event of default.
March 20, 2009: Solyndra announces that it is the first company to receive an offer for a U.S. DOE loan guarantee under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Marh 23, 2009: Solyndra CEO visits the White House.
April 2009: Steve Spinner joins the administration after serving on Obama's transition team. He is named an advisor to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and is charged with helping oversee a loan guarantee program authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic stimulus program.
July 8, 2009: George Kaiser YouTube video: Our goal is to get as much stimulus money as possible...
August 2009 e-mails show White House officials repeatedly asking OMB reviewers when they would be able to decide on the federal loan.
August 17, 2009: Emails refer to Ron Klain, then Vice President Biden's chief of staff, suggesting that WH Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel wants President Obama himself to appear at the groundbreaking. "Ron said this morning that the POTUS definitely wants to do this (or Rahm definitely wants the POTUS to do this ?)," one WH official writes.
August 19, 2009: Aide to WH Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel asks Steve Spinner if he could discuss any concerns among the investment community about Solyndra. “I haven’t heard anything negative on my side,” Spinner replies.
August 19, 2009: Emails makes it clear to some administration officials that the solar company has shaky finances. "While debt coverage is robust under stress conditions, the project cash balance goes to $62,000.00 in September 2011."
August 25, 2009: Steve Spinner is the recipient of at least one of the email messages from Biden's office saying that "we would want the VP [to] satellite into the event on 9/4. It's the same day the unemployment numbers come out, and we'd want to use this as an example where the Recovery Act is helping create new high tech jobs."
August 28, 2009: “How [expletive] hard is this?” Spinner writes to a career staffer, asking for answers about final approval from an OMB official. “What is he waiting for? Will we have it by the end of the day?”
August 31, 2009: OMB officials express concern that they were being rushed to approve the company’s project: "We would prefer to have sufficient time to do our due diligence reviews and have the approval set the date for the announcement, rather than the other way around."
September 3, 2009: Solyndra enters into financing agreements with the Federal Financing Bank, a government corporation under the general supervision of the Secretary of the Treasury, and the DoE that provides for a $535 million loan to Solyndra Fab 2 LLC that is guaranteed by the DoE. The estimated aggregate project costs of Phase I are approximately $733 million.
September 4, 2009: White House video: VP Biden and Energy Secretary Chu celebrate Solyndra.
September 11, 2009: Solyndra submits Part 1 of an application for an approximately $469 million guaranteed loan to be utilized to finance the construction of Phase II.
September 22, 2009: Solyndra Chairman and Founder Christian Gronet has meetings at the White House at 9:30 a.m.
September 23, 2009: Steven Spinner takes steps to further disclose his potential conflicts. In the email Spinner writes "I will recuse myself from any active participation in any of these applications."
October 1, 2009: Solyndra CEO Chris Gronet email: “The Bank of Washington continues to help us!”
October 2, 2009: Solyndra CEO Calls Obama Admin. “Bank Of Washington”
October 3, 2009: "We have incurred significant net losses since our inception, including a net loss of $114.1 million in 2007, $232.1 million in 2008 and $119.8 million in the first nine months of fiscal 2009, and we had an accumulated deficit of $505 million at Oct. 3, 2009."
October 29, 2009 White House video: Jared Bernstein, VP's economic advsor, celebrates Solyndra.
October 30, 2009: Kelly Truman, then Solyndra's vice president of marketing and business development, asks for an edit in a White House-produced video documentary that features the company's growth as evidence of success via the economic stimulus law.
November 4, 2009: Solyndra is notified by the DoE that their Part 1 application is complete and that Phase II is determined to be a Section 1703 eligible project...
November 17, 2009: Solyndra submits Part 2 of loan guarantee application.
December 18, 2009: Solyndra applies for SEC approval to sell common stock. “If we are unable to obtain the DoE guaranteed loan in whole or in part, we intend to fund any financing shortfall with some combination of the proceeds of this offering, cash flows from operations, debt financing and additional equity financing.”
December 2009: Solyndra's SEC filing: "We expect to continue to incur significant operating and net losses and negative cash flow from operations for the foreseeable future."
2009-2010: During the period when Solyndra’s loan guarantee is under review and management by the Energy Department, the company spends $1.8 million on Washington lobbyists, employing six firms with ties to members of Congress and officials of the Obama White House.
January 2010: Solyndra executives and lobbyists presses Gregory S. Nelson, an aide to Ms. Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama, for a meeting to boast about progress at the plant financed with federal money and to discuss a possible second loan, according to White House e-mails.
January 15, 2010: Solyndra executives and lobbyists meet with Valerie Jarrett at the White House.
January 27, 2010: President Obama references Solyndra in his State of the Union Address.
February 10, 2010: Gronet emails Solyndra investors about DoE's Jonathan Silver being enthusiastic about sending another government loan Solyndra's way: "These images had a powerful impact on Jonathon, and he acknowledged that Solyndra is frequently cited as a success story by the DOE... Rather than challenge the merits of our application, he moved on to think through the political implications of a second loan guarantee. Jonathan asked us for assistance in crafting the message in response for four questions that he anticipated from various constituents."
February 11, 2010: Mitchell emails George Kaiser: "This sounds as if the meeting with the DOE went as well as we could have hoped for."
Late February 2010: George Kaiser and Ken Levit, director of Kaiser Family Foundation, meet with WH administration officials in charge of stimulus about Solyndra.
February 27, 2010: Ken Levit e-mail to Steve Mitchell, director of Argonaut Private Equity, Kaiser's venture capital firm, describes meeting with WH officials regarding stimulus and Solyndra: "They about had an orgasm in Biden's office when we mentioned Solyndra."
March 2010: Accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers issues a standard but stern warning about Solyndra.
March 1, 2010: “DOE’s ‘system’ for monitoring loans is quite problematic (barely any review of materials submitted, no synthesis for program management, inherent conflicts in origination team members monitoring the deals they structured, etc) and does not seem to be a program priority,” one OMB staffer emails.
March 5, 2010: George Kaiser e-mail informs his foundation members that Solyndra was discussed during meetings with the administration.
March 6, 2010: Kaiser emails Mitchell: “a couple of weeks ago, when Ken [Levit, the executive director of Kaiser’s foundation] and I were visiting with a group of Administration folks in DC who are in charge of the Stimulus process (White House, not DOE) and Solyndra came up, everyone of them responded simultaneously about their thorough knowledge of the Solyndra story, suggesting it was one of their prime poster children.”
March 16, 2010: The company discloses the “going concern” warning by PricewaterhouseCoopers, its accounting firm, in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
April 2, 2010: OMB official email: “DOE … has one loan to monitor and they seem completely oblivious to this issue – and to make it worse it was the key thing I said they needed to watch.” The OMB official seems to think Solyndra may be the tip of the iceberg. “(W)hat’s terrifying is that after looking at some of the ones that came next, this one started to look better,” the official emails. “Bad days are coming.”
May 4, 2010: Michael Froman, a top economic adviser to Obama, email to Joseph Aldy: "Isn't this the company Larry [Summers] asked questions about?"
May 7, 2010: Board Member Thomas Baruch goes to the White House at 8:40 a.m.
May 8, 2010: An internal Argonaut memo warns that the Solyndra would not make an initial public offering (IPO) in 2010 as planned. The Argonaut message said Gronet’s relationship with the government was one rationale for retaining him as CEO. “Gronet probably would not have survived this in a normal situation but with an IPO in the near term, his close relationship with the DOE and the fact that he is the founder and the face of the company, it is not practical to make any high level changes in the short term,”
[2010: Solyndra spends $550,000 lobbying Congress.]
May 21, 2010: OMB official's email regarding Obama's trip top Solyndra: “Hope [it] doesn’t default before then.”
May 23, 2010: Media-massaging is especially frenzied before and after President Barack Obama’s trip to Solyndra’s California headquarters as the company seeks to tamp down questions about its troubled finances, the U.S. solar industry's ability to compete with China, and unionized workers who had to take a day off without pay during the visit.
May 24, 2010: California businessman Steve Westley emails senior WH adviser Valerie Jarrett: “A number of us are concerned that the president is visiting Solyndra. There is an increasing concern about the company because their auditors, Coopers & Lybrand, have issued a ‘going concern’ letter. … Many of us believe the company’s cost structure will make it difficult for them to survive long term... If it’s too late to change/postpone the meeting, the president should be careful about unrealistic/optimistic forecasts that could haunt him in the next 18 months if Solyndra hits the wall, files for bankruptcy, etc.”
Jarrett reaches out to Ron Klain, chief of staff to VP Biden, saying that “we clearly need to make sure that they are stable and solid.”
Klain contacts DoE officials and then writes back to Jarrett, saying “It looks like it is OK to me, but if you feel otherwise, let me know.”
“I’m comfortable if you’re comfortable,” Jarrett writes back.
May 24, 2010: Energy Secretary Steven Chu's chief of staff Rod O’Connor raises the issue of more government support for Solyndra in an email: “Bottom line is that we believe the company is okay in the medium term, but will need some help of one kind or another down the road.”
May 25, 2010: Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s chief of staff, Rod O’Connor, tells a top adviser to Biden that the Solyndra warnings are exaggerated.
May 25, 2010: Jared Bernstein email to Herbert Ziskend, one of Biden’s domestic policy advisers: "But do you have a leverage # for Solyndra — how much pvt cap [private capital] they raised off of the loan guarantee?"
Elizabeth Oxhorn, a press aide in Biden's office, replies: "Solyndra raised $198m in private capital between selection in March 2009 and the loan closing in September 2009."
Bernstein responds: "Weird — so leverage is like 2/5 ($198 m leverage against loan guarantee of $535m)... best not to go there."
May 25, 2010: "A cautionary note. This is a classic problem with start-ups, but we have to be careful what POTUS says," Sally Ericsson, an associate director of the Office of Management and Budget, writes.
"FYI. We may want to be measured in how POTUS talks about Solyndra on his California visit," adds Joseph Aldy, a White House staffer who worked for both Browner’s Office of Energy and Climate Change and the National Economic Council.May 26, 2010: Greg Nelson, deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, explains in an email to Valerie Jarrett and other Obama aides why the visit has gotten the green light amid all the warnings.
"Before the decision was made to go to Solyndra, I had quietly reached out to some of the top cleantech firms to get their thoughts on potential locations, and Solyndra was a consensus choice because it has such a strong jobs story," Nelson writes. "There was awareness of their IPO filings and audit, but not a lot of concern."
May 26, 2010 White House video: President Obama speaks at Solyndra.
June 2010: Solyndra executives withdraw a planned $300 million initial public offering.
Questions about the Solyndra selection process are raised in a July 2010 audit by the Government Accountability Office.
June 17, 2010: Email from Solyndra CEO Chris Gronet to Argonaut’s Steve Mitchell. Subject: Re: Re: next steps, highlighting Solyndra’s interest in pursuing DOD contracts.
June 25, 2010: Internal Argonaut Email: From Ken Levit to Steve Mitchell. Subject: Re: Re: solyndra.jpg. During the exchange: Levit writes, [A picture of Obama touring Solyndra] “hanging in the White House, in the stair well in the West Wing. Gosh … no pressure.” Mitchell writes to Levit, “Get them to buy our panels. All they have to do is do some US content type of requirements for DOD procurement.”
July 2010: Solyndra and its lobbyists continue to provide assurances to the White House and the Energy Department, which can still stop the flow of federal money that is being given out for construction of a new factory. “We have no intention of going out of business,” David Miller, a Solyndra executive, wrote to Mr. Nelson, the White House aide.
July 2010: Report by the Government Accountability Office finds that the DoE committed to back the loans without completing required studies of market, legal and technical issues.
July 6, 2010: A report in Greenwire, an online news outlet that covers the environment, says the company is hemorrhaging cash. Greenwire story headline: "Did solar startup's financial crunch catch the White House napping?"
July 6, 2010: Solyndra spokesman David Miller calls the report “total crap,” in an e-mail to Gregory Nelson, deputy director of the White House office of public engagement.
July 12, 2010: Chris Fish, a lobbyist with McAllister & Quinn LLC in Washington, writes to the White House Energy and Climate Change office to request a meeting between Solyndra executives and Browner, who is director of the office.
July 14, 2010: Jonathan Silver, executive director at DoE email to GSA: "One of our loan guarantee recipients is a company called Solyndra. They received a $500 million loan guarantee from us to build a state of the art manufacturing plant in California. Solyndra makes an advanced solar roof top array for large commercial facilities and is now installed in locations all over the United States and Europe. Would you be willing to meet briefly with them? More on them below. I would personally appreciate it... The company would like to work with you to promote policies that increase the use of solar energy technology throughout the government, and especially in the military, as a key driver to grow a domestic solar panel market for U.S. manufacturers."
Silver forwards this email to then-Solyndra CEO Chris Gronet--whom Obama had met with at the Solyndra plant.
July 15, 2010: GSA response to Silver: "Would be better for these people to meet our hands-on green project management people. I'll try to arrange it. Can you give me a point of contact for the Solyndra people and we'll contact them directly?"
Silver responds to the GSA official's request with an email that he carbon-copies to Solyndra CEO Chris Gronet--thus putting Solyndra's top executive directly in contact with the federal government's purchasing arm.
"Thanks for your note," Silver writes to the GSA official in this email. "You and your team are doing amazing things! I am copying Chris Gronet here. Chris is the CEO of Solyndra and I know your two teams will have a lot to discuss."
The same day Gronet received this email chain from Silver at the Energy Department, he forwarded it to Mitchell of Argonaut: “FYI below, 260 green projects in the process for U.S. gov’t buildings. Jonathon Silver is trying to help.”
Mitchell responds, “He better be! How on earth have we not been part of these projects from the beginning? Lots of catch up to do here. Let’s get all over it.”
Gronet agrees: “Yes, lots of catch up. Meeting with GSA is now set for next Wed. [Redacted] will attend. I am hosting some French dignitaries on the same day.” That Wednesday would have been July 21, 2010.
July 17, 2010: Steve Mitchell forwards email regarding meeting for week of July 19.
July 20, 2010: While White House officials initially suggested a meeting with Browner’s deputies, climate-office official Stephen Moilanen writes back on rejecting the request.
July 21, 2010: The Energy Department’s Silver assures OMB leaders in a meeting that the Solyndra project was “on time and on budget.”
July 26, 2010: First news reports that Brian Harrison is replacing Gronet as CEO of Solyndra.
July 27, 2010: Solyndra replaces its chief executive officer.
August 10, 2010: Argonaut Private Equity &Solyndra Email: Cc: Brian Harrison; Steve Mitchell. Subject: RE: RE: NCPV Hotline “Getting business from Uncle Sam is a principal element of Solyndra’s channel strategy... When Obama visited Solyndra in June, 2010, Chris Gronet spoke very openly to Obama about the need for installation of Solynra’s rooftop solar on U.S. government buildings. I heard Obama actually promise Chris [Gronet] that he would look into it when he returned to Washington. The point is that the government has to pay for energy no matter what. The capital funding to deploy a lot of rooftop solar on government buildings (say $300 million) just falls off the table in Washington anyway.”
September 3, 2010: Redacted investor from 8/10/2010 email receives email from "Recos" [WH Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel]: “Hey, [redacted name], it’s Rahm—great seeing you the other day, apologies it was so short. If you are ever in D.C. please let me know.”
September 9, 2010: Redacted investor email to redacted recipient w/ CC to Brian Harrison: "I will be back in Washington DC on September 21 and 22. If I do schedule a meeting at the White House, are there some specific agenda items I can pursue on behalf of Solyndra? I am sure the subject of Solyndra will come up in any event. Please give me your guidance."
September 18, 2010: Redacted investor email to Steve Mithcell: "I will be at the White House helping some of our other portfolio companies this coming week."
September 20, 2010: Board Member Baruch visits White House at 1 p.m.
September 21, 2010: Board Member David Prend visits White House at 9:15 p.m.
October 2010: Solyndra donates $7,500 to the California Democratic Party and $1,000 each to three Democrat California State Assembly candidates.
October 6, 2010: George Kaiser e-mail to associates details ways to phrase Solyndra information when dealing with WH.
October 12, 2010: Terry McAuliffe and three top GreenTech advisers meet with the key White House "green energy" aide responsible for helping Solyndra win federal loans and high-profile presidential support, Greg Nelson.
Late October 2010: At a White House meeting Lawrence H. Summers, director of the National Economic Council, and Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, express concerns that the selection process for federal loan guarantees aren't rigorous enough. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, also at the meeting, has a different view. Under pressure from Congress to speed up the loans, he wants less scrutiny from the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget.
October 25, 2010: Administration officials take their opposing views of the loan guarantee program directly to Obama. A memo is drafted by Summers, who is wary of the program, and two others who are supportive: energy advisor Carol Browner and Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden.
October 25, 2010: Solyndra’s chief executive Brian Harrison e-mails DoE loan staff that the story of Solyndra's financial problems "is starting to leak outside Solyndra." Harrison warns DoE that he intends to announce worker layoffs: "I would like to go forward with the internal communication [to employees regarding layoffs] on Thursday, October 28.”
Harrison’s e-mail is forwarded to the DoE’s loan program director, Jonathan Silver. Silver forwards the e-mail to Chu’s chief of staff, who then alerts White House climate change czar Carol Browner and Ron Klain, Biden’s point person on stimulus efforts. Browner reportedly asks for more information, and Chu’s chief of staff explains that he has left a voice-mail message on her cellphone.
October 27, 2010: White House climate change adviser Heather Zichal sends out e-mail to director of Energy and Climate Change Policy Carol Browner and several other officials warning of a layoff announcement: "Here's the deal -- Solyndra is going to announce they are laying off 200 of their 1200 workers” and added, “No es bueno.”
October 28, 2010: No layoffs are announced...
October 30, 2010: Advisers to Solyndra’s primary investor, Argonaut Equity, explain in an email that DoE is pushing "very hard" to delay the company's layoff announcement until Nov. 3, the day after the midterm elections are held.
October 30, 2010: Internal Argonaut Email: From Steve Mitchell to Ken Levit and George Kaiser. Subject: One more DoD contact idea.
November 2010: Solyndra informs the DoE it needs $150 million to make it through early 2012.
November 2, 2010: Midterm elections
November 3, 2010: Solyndra announces it will lay off 40 workers and 150 contractors and shut down its Fab 1 factory.
November 24, 2010: Internal Argonaut Email: From Steve Mitchell to George Kaiser, Cc. Ken Levit. Subject: Re: Solyndra Update. George Kaiser writes, “What about DOD (and other governmental entity) sales efforts? Do the DOE people focus at all on how a Buy American plan could be a win win win for them and do they have any influence?”
December 2010: Solyndra is a month away from running out of cash, according to a government document.
December 1, 2010: Solyndra is unable to make a $5 million payment to its subsidiary and technically defaults on its loan.
December 8, 2010: White House energy and climate adviser Carol Browner and her top deputy agonize over Solyndra's pending collapse: "You hear solyndra is in a severe liquidity crises and we areent likely given next doe loan? Banner week," Heather Zichal writee. Browner’s reply is quick: "Yep. Ugh"
December 24, 2010: Email exchange between National Economic Council Director Larry Summers and Brad Jones of Redpoint Ventures, an investment firm with financial connections to Solynda asking for his “year-end views,” adding that he is “interested in left coast perspectives on economy markets and econ policy and especially advice.”
Jones writes back: “The allocation of spending to clean energy is haphazard; the government is just not well equipped to decide which companies should get the money and how much. One of our solar companies with revenues of less than $100 million (and not yet profitable) received a government loan of $580 million; while that is good for us, I can’t imagine it’s a good way for the government to use taxpayer money.”
December 26, 2010: Summers emails Jones: “I relate well to your view that gov is a crappy vc [venture capitalist] and if u were closer to it you’d feel more strongly. But suppose we think there are all kinds of externalities to renewable investments. What should we do?”
December 31, 2010: Solyndra has so far drawn $475 million of its US loan.
January 5, 2011: Daniella Gibbs Léger, director of White House message events, bats down the idea of a State of the Union invite to Solyndra executives before it could be raised among her superiors. "Can't do Solyndra ... they've run into some issues recently. :(," she writes in an email.
January 31, 2011: “The optics of a Solyndra default will be bad,” an Office of Management and Budget staff member writes in an e-mail to a co-worker.
February 2011: The Energy Department agrees to restructure Solyndra's loan.
February 2011: House Energy Committee opens investigation into Solyndra.
February 10, 2011: Gary Burner, the chief financial officer at the Treasury Department's Federal Financing Bank, urges DoE staffers to contact DoJ as they consider restructuring the Solyndra loan guarantee. Burner writes to Susan Richardson, chief counsel in DoE’s Loan Programs Office, and Frances Nwachuku, director of portfolio management in the same office. DoE officials push back a few hours later. David Frantz, the director of DoE's Loan Guarantee Office, speaks up in an email that shrugs off the Treasury official's concern. “I think his point was just a heads up," he writes. "I do not believe there is an issue here and fear Gary may have some misunderstanding.”
February 17, 2011: House Republicans notes Solyndra’s financial troubles in a letter to Energy Secretary Chu announcing their investigation into the loan-guarantee program.
February 25, 2011: Dan Carol, an Obama campaign staffer and clean energy advocate, sends out West Wing email proposal that restructures DoE and recommends firing Secretary Chu.
March 2011: Concerns about the program are raised once again in a report by the DoE's inspector general, Gregory Friedman.
March 14, 2011: WH Chief of Staff Pete Rouse sends email requesting input from senior officials regarding Dan Carol's DoE restructuring proposals.
May 2011: Solyndra spokesman David Miller notifies Gregory Nelson of the White House's Office of Public Engagement that Washington Post reporter Joe Stephens "has been poking at us for several months... He seems to be focused on whether one of our investors used influence to get us the presidential visit and beyond that influenced the DoE in any way."
May 2011: Mr. Nelson writes back to Mr. Miller: “Fantastic to hear that business is doing well,” he says, “Keep up the good work.”
May 6, 2011: Credit Paper submitted to DoE regarding Project Amp (Project Photon): solar panels for first pahse of project to be supplied solely by Solyndra.
June 12, 2011: Political appointee Jonathan Silver writes to David Lane, counsel to White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, arguing that approving a loan to a solar-generation facility called Project Amp would help Obama politically.
June 17, 2011: Solyndra email sharing information from Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) senior investment banker: "On three occasions this week he thought that [Project Amp] was dead, but Secretary Chu pulled it off. Chu shared with the team that this deal went to higher levels in the Obama Administration to gain approval than any other transaction in the Loan Guarantee Program..."
June 18, 2011: Meeting minutes of the DoE Credit Review Board for Project Amp: "Secretary Chu had requested the CRB convene to consider Project Amp."
June 22, 2011: DoE announces $1.4 billion loan guarantee for Project Amp, a large-scale rooftop generation project.
June 22, 2011: DoE press release: Project Amp's application submitted by BAML under the Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP).
July 13, 2011: A letter from Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison to the Energy committee says "revenues grew from $6 million in 2008 to $100 million in 2009 to $140 million in 2010. For 2011, revenues are projected to nearly double again."
July 13, 2011: Steve Spinner, who has since left the DoE, writes an op-ed with Richard Caperton, a senior policy analyst at Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank where Spinner is a senior fellow. The article posted on ThinkProgress urges Congress to appropriate more money to the loan guarantee effort, calling it "an outright success. Even the most controversial loan guarantee recipient — Solyndra, a solar manufacturer — is seeing an operational turnaround," he writes.
July 18, 2011: Glover Park, having had a communications relationship with Solyndra for about a year, files with the Clerk of the House to conduct lobbying. The stated purpose on that filing is to provide an "introduction of the company to [House] Energy and Commerce Committee Members."
July 21, 2011: Glover Park hosts a media event in Washington at which Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison seaks to convince reporters that his company is fiscally sound. At that meeting, Harrison tells reporters that he is in town to brief several members of Congress about the health of his company.
[2011: Solyndra spends $480,000 to lobby Congress, according to Senate records.]
August 2011: Glover Park Group's Ryan Cunningham, contracted to do outside public relations for Solyndra, sends the White House communications team an email with suggested talking points in response to a National Review “Planet Gore” blog item calling for an investigation of DoE and Solyndra.
August 9, 2011: OMB career staff mocks supportive comments offered by Jonathan Silver, head of Energy’s loan program. Silver had been quoted in an article saying that Solyndra was “significantly misunderstood” and experiencing the normal “bumps in the road” for a startup company.
August 11, 2011: The White House and OMB are told by DoE that Solyndra is “experiencing difficulties and that a bankruptcy or restructuring is imminent,” according to an internal OMB email.
August 11, 2011: Concerns about Solyndra’s viability are shared all the way up to then-White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley a full six months before the company went bust.
Mid-August 2011: DoE urges Argonaut, Solyndra's largest investor, to inject additional money into Solyndra so that it could stay in business while DoE and Solyndra determined if there was a way to restructure the company. Solyndra also negotiates with Prologis on terms to supply panels for Project Photon, the first phase of Project Amp.
August 16, 2011: Over at the Treasury Department, Mary J. Miller, assistant secretary for financial markets, is unhappy with information coming from the Energy Department.
“We are hearing increasingly dire news about Solyndra and have asked DoE for information on this with no response,” Miller writes.
August 17, 2011: Dan Utech, an energy special assistant in the WH, writes in an email that DoE has learned Solyndra is beginning to shut down operations.
August 17, 2011: Mary Miller, assistant Treasury secretary, writes to Jeffrey D. Zients, deputy OMB director, expressing concern. She says that the deal could violate federal law because it puts investors’ interests ahead of taxpayers’ and that she has advised that it should be reviewed by the Justice Department.
“To our knowledge that [DoJ review] never happened,” Miller writes in a memo to the OMB.
August 17, 2011: Investment firm Lazard writes memo to DoE: Solyndra will fail.
August 18, 2011: Email to senior Argonaut advisor from Solyndra CEO Harrison: "I believe DoE is desperate to get AMP to happen. I think they have linked Phase I of AMP (which is Photon) to the project success. Solyndra has asked several months ago to ensure Photon happens... DoE is urgently trying to avoid [negative implications to AMP].
August 21, 2011: Jonathan Silver, a political appointee who oversaw the Energy Department’s $38 billion program: “Don’t ever send an email on doe email with a personal email addresses,” Silver wrote Aug. 21, 2011, from his personal account to a program official’s private Gmail account. “That makes them subpoenable.”
August 26, 2011: Senior Argonaut advisor emails colleagues stating that further investment in Solyndra is "dependent on the Prologis order..." Another Argonaut offical responds: "[Will] DoE put pressure on Prologis to sign?"
August 26, 2011: One high ranking energy official in the White House warns shortly before Solyndra's bankruptcy that what's coming is a "*#~@ show" and "a mess."
August 28, 2011: After considering additional bailout money, DoE officially rejects refinancing plan.
August 29, 2011: Heather Zichal, a senior energy policy aide, and Deputy OMB Director Jeffrey Zients brief other officials on Solyndra's collapse, including Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes and Nancy-Ann DeParle, another senior adviser to the president.
end of August 2011: White House memo: OMB [Office of Management and Budget], DPC [Domestic Policy Council] and NEC [National Economic Council] have been working with press and OLA [Office of Legal Affairs] to be prepared for this news to break.
August 31, 2011: Solyndra shuts its doors and announces its intent to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
September 6, 2011: FBI raids Solyndra headquarters seizing files and computer records.
September 2011: The California Democratic Party is listed as a creditor that is owed money on Solyndra's bankruptcy creditors list.
September 30, 2011: DoE finalizes commitment for Project Amp [see June 22, 2011] on the deadline for awarding Recovery Act stimulus funds.
January 19, 2012: Solyndra is caught destroying brand new parts.
August 6,2013: Report: GreenTech courted Obama’s Solyndra aide.