The U.S. Department of Energy said it plans to push ahead with as much as $5.3 billion in potential additional alternative energy loans by Friday, despite Republican complaints the money is going out too quickly to untested firms.
That comes against a backdrop of increasing political controversy over the ill-fated loan recipient Solyndra, the company whose bankruptcy has prompted questions of who inside the Obama Administration knew of the company’s weak financial position and why they continued to pour taxpayer money into it.
The DOE has made seven conditional commitments for additional funding by the time the loan guarantee legally expires on Sept. 30. So far, it has made 23 loans totaling $11.2 billion, said a spokesman.
But Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said Wednesday he’s worried DOE is rushing the loans out the door with too little oversight.
“The administration’s flagship project Solyndra is bankrupt and being investigated by the FBI, the promised jobs never materialized, and now DOE is preparing to rush out nearly $5 billion in loans in the final 48 hours before stimulus funds expire. That’s nearly $105 million every hour that must be finalized until the deadline,” Stearns said.