SEN. BARRASSO: The president claims he and his administration are promoting fairness—he talks about fairness an awful lot. There was a Thursday story in the Washington Post with a headline, “More than half of Obama’s big fundraisers got jobs in his administration.” The article explained how bundlers—those who collected at least $500,000 for his campaign—were given jobs in the administration. It says, one hired, Obama hired bundler Steve Spinner as a liaison in the Energy Department. According to internal emails, Spinner pressed for staff members to finalize a government loan for Solyndra, in which another campaign bundler was a major investor.
Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office released its own audit of the Department of Energy’s loan program; the report concluded that the DOE did not follow its own procedure for reviewing applications and documenting its decisions, potentially increasing the taxpayer’s exposure to financial risk from an applicant’s default. It seems like the administration’s doing a pretty good job looking out for its friends, but I want to know who’s looking out for the American taxpayers—and this sure doesn’t sound fair to most people.
SEC. CHU: Well, first, Steve Spinner was absolutely firewalled from making any decision or encouragement on what make for any loan, let alone the Solyndra loan. What he was pressing for was, after the conditional commitment was made, he was pressing to finalize things. But he was not part of the decision-making process.