There’s blood in the water and the sharks are circling — the Solyndra story just keeps getting deeper. Two newspapers — the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post — are carrying front-page stories today about the Solyndra debacle, each covering a different aspect of the story. This is bad news for an Obama Administration hoping the worst was over — newspaper editors smell blood and now the hunt is on. The Journal’s story about the Solyndra-Navy relationship is particularly damaging:
A major investor in Solyndra LLC was instrumental in helping the troubled solar-power firm compete for a potentially lucrative U.S. Navy deal, a previously unreported connection that will likely fuel controversy surrounding the company.
Solyndra was promoted to the Navy by RockPort Capital, one of the firm’s largest investors and board members, which has a seat on a Pentagon panel that helps the government find emerging technologies.
RockPort recommended Solyndra to the military, along with four other companies. In the end, the negotiations for Solyndra’s inclusion in a $1 million pilot program fell apart when the Navy learned about the company’s pending bankruptcy filing. [...]
Mr. Kopczynski said RockPort disclosed its $47.5 million investment in Solyndra to the Pentagon panel, though it didn’t disclose that Solyndra was in financial trouble and said it wasn’t required to under the panel’s rules. Gaining the Navy as a customer could have helped Solyndra’s shaky financial state, and by extension RockPort’s $47.5 million investment in the Fremont, Calif., firm.
That the Obama Administration wasted millions of dollars of stimulus money chasing a green unicorn is already clear, but the idea that the company’s promoters attempted to mislead the armed forces to bail them out of a sticky situation will leave a particularly bad taste in people’s mouths.
The administration’s goal has to be to get this story off the front page and fast. With the Gunwalker mess at the Justice Department boiling briskly, the White House could find itself mired in the kind of interminable and damaging scandal stories that have dogged so many of its predecessors. This is not the kind of background noise that the President needs as he looks toward a tough race in 2012.