Report: Solyndra backers could get more tax breaks

“One year after Solyndra filed for bankruptcy, we continue to learn the ugly truth of Solyndra’s sweetheart restructuring deal,” House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) said in a Friday statement to The Hill.

The Internal Revenue Service plans to dispute the bankruptcy plan, Reuters noted.

The Energy Department (DOE), which is in charge of the loan guarantee program, referred The Hill to the Justice Department (DOJ) on the matter. DOJ did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The news comes as the House is set to vote on the “No More Solyndras Act” next week. The bill would sunset the clean energy program that awarded the California company a $535 million loan guarantee in 2009.

Solyndra has become the symbol for GOP attacks against Obama’s energy policies. They contend it shows how government intervention in the marketplace is ill advised, and that clean energy technology is not ready to compete with cheaper fossil fuels.

The GOP and presidential nominee Mitt Romney have adopted an energy platform that includes expanded fossil fuel drilling as its centerpiece.

Despite the possibility of tax breaks, the California firm has recently said it might not be able to repay the federal government for its loan guarantee.

“With Solyndra’s investors potentially emerging from bankruptcy with over $300 million in tax breaks while taxpayers will see over half a billion dollars in losses is the harshest of reminders that Solyndra was a bad bet from day one and the Obama administration let us all down,” Upton and Stearns said.

Those tax breaks would redeem venture capital firms Madrone Partners and Argonaut Ventures, the latter being the investment company tied to Democratic fundraiser George Kaiser.

Though Republicans have long painted the Solyndra debacle as an improper reward for campaign contributions, an 18-month investigation of the administration’s actions revealed little to confirm that. But the probe did note that a restructuring plan in 2011 put private backers ahead of taxpayers if the company collapsed.

Upton and Stearns said Friday’s news recalled the administration’s missteps.

“In Solyndra, the Obama administration delivered a raw deal to taxpayers, who stand to lose over half a billion dollars while billionaire Obama backer George Kaiser and Solyndra’s other investors could walk away from the bankruptcy with hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks,” they said.


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