The Obama administration has agreed to a complete third-party review of all the Department of Energy loans that have recently kept the electric teapot on the boil.
Of course, the star of the show will be the half billion bucks that swirled with stinky solar startup Solyndra. Also under the mediascope will be loans to carmakers Fisker, Tesla (half a bill each), Ford ($5.9B) and Nissan ($1.9B), as well as – this should be interesting) loans for nuclear energy projects. During the 60-day review period, pending loan applications will proceed apace, including Chrysler’s request for three and a half billion.
Already running hot over the Solyndra scandal, the right really started to overheat last week after an ABC news feature raised questions about the Fisker and Tesla loans. GOP candidate Mitt Romney has alleged some shady connections between Democratic donors and investors in the automakers, including big bad greeny Al Gore.
All (well, most) of those concerned should welcome an investigation, and a full airing of the facts. Reasonable minds may differ as to whether government goodies for private companies are a good idea at all (or whether they’re only a good idea for oil companies and defense contractors). But we probably all agree that such lucky little companies should be selected with a bit of care, and certainly not for their connections with political rainmakers.