By Stephen Lacey
The Koch-funded political advocacy organization Americans for Prosperity is unleashing another multi-million campaign to play up the Solyndra bankruptcy in key election states.
After the release of 180,000 pages of documents and months of a heavily-politicized Congressional investigation that included testimony from Energy Secretary Steven Chu, there is still no evidence that the loan guarantee issued to the now-bankrupt solar company Solyndra was a political favor, or that any official in the Administration did anything illegal.
In fact, an in-depth investigation of the Solyndra documents conducted by the Washington Post recently found: “The [email] records do not establish that anyone pressured the Energy Department to approve the Solyndra loan to benefit political contributors.”
But rather than stick to the known facts established by an ongoing investigation, AFP seems to believe it has greater insight into the issue than Congress, investigative journalists or the FBI — spending $6 million to spread lies and half truths about the Solyndra affair.
The ad is part of a desperate full-court press by conservatives to keep Solyndra at the top of the headlines:
This $6 million campaign follows a $2.4 million media blitz on Solyndra by Americans for Prosperity last fall. That ad was labeled “mostly false” by the fact-checking organization PolitiFact. But facts be damned, the Solyndra issue will continue to be a central piece of the GOP’s political agenda this year.
Typical of smear ads, this latest Solyndra spot is very “creative” with the truth.
Firstly, the ad grossly misrepresents the timeline of layoffs at Solyndra, claiming “1,100 workers had no idea that they would be fired, but the Obama administration knew. All that mattered was the 2010 election – ‘optics,’ not workers.”
There are still unanswered questions about the timing of the first round of 200 layoffs before the 2010 election. But it wasn’t until 9 months later that company declared bankruptcy and the 1,100 workers were laid off — meaning that event had absolutely nothing to do with the 2010 election.
The ad also features a quote from Barack Obama in an interview with ABC News, in which George Stephanopoulos asked Obama if he regretted touting Solyndra as “the true engine of economic growth.” The President is quoted as saying “No I don’t … overall it’s doing well.”
In fact, the original quote is cut up. The President actually said: “No, I don’t, because if you look at the overall portfolio of loan guarantees that have been provided– overall, it’s doing well.”
And the facts so far have backed that assertion up. An analysis of the loan guarantee program that supported Solyndra by Bloomberg Government found that “the focus on Solyndra is not proportional to its impact.”
But after reporting on the politics of the Solyndra bankruptcy non-stop, not a single major newspaper or television outlet reported on this piece of news — leaving organizations like Americans for Prosperity to fill the gap.