Obama Administration Caught Redistributing Stimulus Dollars to Chinese Solar Firms

September 25, 2012

"If we want to compete with China, which is pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into the space, if we want to compete with other countries that are heavily subsidizing the industries of the future, we’ve got to make sure that our guys here in the United States of America at least have a shot.”President Barack Obama, ABC News, October 3, 2011

A recent article in The Washington Times has brought to light a little-publicized report by a government watchdog that revealed the Obama administration used stimulus dollars to purchase Chinese solar panels – a clear violation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The GSA Inspector General discovered that Chinese solar panels were installed on the rooftop of the Senator Paul Simon Federal Building in Carbondale, Illinois.

In addition to violating the “Made in the USA” provisions of the stimulus, the revelation is also a stunning contradiction as China has been the Obama administration’s oft repeated scapegoat for the bankruptcy of its highly touted stimulus “success story” Solyndra. The California solar manufacturer received over a half billion dollars in stimulus support despite the administration’s experts’ warnings that the company was doomed for failure.  

The Obama administration quickly pivoted from hailing Solyndra as a hallmark of its stimulus jobs program to decrying it as a victim of China’s gaming of the global market. In his first public comments on Solyndra’s bankruptcy during an October 2011 ABC News interview, President Obama lamented China’s heavy solar subsidies in making the case for supporting the American solar industry.

What is of particular interest in the China blame game, as the West Wing was rushing for the Solyndra loan guarantee to be finalized, an Obama budget analyst sounded the alarm over China’s impact on the market and argued for the loan to be postponed.

Committee investigators discovered that in August of 2009, the OMB Energy Chief argued for postponing the loan guarantee announcement, writing, “Recent developments in the solar market, in particular, pricing pressure from China from silicon wafer plants scheduled to come on line . . . raise concerns about how strong Solyndra’s position will be in the face of rising competition.” (The Solyndra Failure, footnote 274)

The Obama White House ignored the very warnings of Chinese subsidies that they now blame for Solyndra’s demise. And as the White House was busy trying to prop up failing companies, others in the administration were subsidizing the Chinese solar power industry, in violation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Watch President Obama Repeatedly Sound the China Alarm HERE.

Read the GSA Inspector General’s report HERE.

To view more on the committee’s Solyndra investigation, click HERE.

Read The Washington Times story, “Feds ignore rules and use stimulus cash to buy Chinese solar panels” HERE.