As Andrew Stiles reported Tuesday on NRO, House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R., Texas) has written to Attorney General Eric Holder to seek the appointment of a special bankruptcy investigator in the Solyndra case. The operative word here is bankruptcy. The bankruptcy process conducted under the supervision of a trustee is very different from a criminal investigation conducted by a prosecutor. For those hoping for a full accounting of the $535 million Solyndra debacle, there is less to Representative Smith’s request than meets the eye.
In my weekend column, I explained that if the Solyndra case came walking into a competent prosecutor’s office, the theory of the investigation would be fraud. We have the loss of over half a billion dollars in public money (in the form of government credits), which was pledged to back a company that had a hopelessly flawed business model and that was gushing losses with no realistic prospect of a turn-around. We have grossly misleading rosy-scenario pronouncements by key players (including President Obama and Vice President Biden) at a time when Solyndra backers were gearing up an initial public offering of stock — and when Solyndra’s independent auditors had issued a dire warning that it was doubtful the company could continue as a going concern. In addition, we have executive-branch officials renegotiating the loan arrangement so that corporate insiders, including Obama administration cronies, would be given priority over taxpayers in the liquidation of assets when the company inevitably went belly-up — a novation that appears to be as illegal as it is inexplicable.
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