By Justin Sink - 09/12/11 05:45 PM EDT
The bankruptcy of the solar cell-maker has been particularly embarrassing for the Obama administration, which touted the firm as emblematic of the success of the stimulus's green energy initiatives. The president toured the factory in 2009, and Solyndra executives have visited the White House at least 20 times since Obama took office. A prominent Obama donor was also a major investor in the company.
But the company's ties run across partisan lines - the company first was deemed eligible for DOE loans under the Bush Administration, and other Solyndra investors donated to Republican campaign committees. The company's CEO, whose home was reportedly searched as part of the FBI investigation, is a registered Republican.
Still, Priebus says that the company "is now the prime example of stimulus failure" and that the president's jobs plan should be put on hold until the Solyndra bankruptcy is investigated.
"With the President traveling the country touting his Stimulus II plan, it is important to understand the lessons from his first Stimulus, Priebus said. "Before taxpayers are forced to spend another dime of stimulus money, the White House must explain why they were so reckless the first time around."
But the White House is pushing back on the criticism, saying that the decision to fund Solyndra was made by career bureaucrats with no influence from the president, and that the DOE's green tech portfolio has, on the whole, been preforming well.
"This loan guarantee was pursued by both the Bush and Obama Administrations. The Department of Energy’s overall portfolio of investments – which includes dozens of other companies, continues to perform well, and is on pace to create thousands of jobs," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said. "While we are disappointed by this particular outcome, we continue to believe the clean energy jobs race is one that America can, must and will win."
This article was updated at 2:33 p.m. on September 12.