Solyndra: A Cautionary Tale - Eric Thorson, former Inspector General of the U.S. Treasury Department
As many environmentalist know, fraud, abuse and waste can be a killer for important government programs and be used by climate antagonists, such as U.S. Senator Barrasso, as an excuse to limit spending on the climate crisis. Soylyndra, a federal loan guarantee program to manufacture solar panels during the Obama Administration was one such project. Senator Barrasso released a report last year using Solyndra as an excuse to not fund future climate projects. Although the federal loan program under Obama's Recovery Act overall ended up making the federal government more money than what they spent, the government lost $535 million when Solyndra went bankrupt.
This week the Climate Money Watchdog podcast will talk with Eric Thorson, the former Inspector General for the Department of Treasury, who actually did oversight on the Solyndra project. He sees the Solyndra failure as waste because the federal government, in a hurry to get the money spent and jobs created, did not do the due diligence on the project. In this podcast episode, he explains this and other reasons that federal programs can fail, before and after the government loans or appropriates the money. He also explains oversight needed before a project is approved and what to do if there is a problem after has started. Since the current climate money programs will include partnerships with state, local and private industry, the process is complicated and needs constant oversight all the entities involved, including informed and active climate advocates.
Eric Thorson served as the Inspector General of the U.S. Treasury through three presidents; George W. Bush, Barrack Obama, and Donald Trump. He also worked as an investigator for two U.S. Senate committees, served as the Inspector General for U.S. Small Business Administration as well as serving twice as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Air Force. Eric also ran his own small business for executive jet services. He is currently an Executive Partner at the William and Mary College School of Business.
We hope that you will listen to this informative episode either through this website or you podcast portal of choice and will inform other climate people about this podcast episode on social media.