FACT CHECK: Romney Misses a Mark on Solyndra Claim
A look at some of Romney’s assertions and how they compare with the facts:
ROMNEY: “An independent inspector general looked at this investment (Solyndra) and concluded that the administration had steered money to friends and family — to campaign contributors.”
THE FACTS: There is no proof — and it appears unlikely — that Energy Department Inspector General Gregory Friedman was talking about Solyndra when he testified in March 2011 about stimulus contracts. Friedman said his office was investigating whether such contracts were steered to friends and family, presumably of government officials in charge of spending stimulus money. Romney cited a Newsweek article that referred to Friedman’s testimony.
But Friedman did not say that such claims had been proved, and there is no evidence he was including Solyndra in his comments. The testimony came nearly six months before the company declared bankruptcy. And there is no evidence that family members of top federal officials received any favors. Friedman’s office is among several federal agencies that are investigating Solyndra.
ROMNEY: “President Obama was here to tout this building and this business (Solyndra) as a symbol of the success of his stimulus. It’s a symbol not of success but of failure. It’s also a symbol of a serious conflict of interest (and) how the president thinks about free enterprise. Free enterprise to the president means taking money from the taxpayers and giving it freely to his friends.”
THE FACTS: So far, there is no indication of White House interference with the energy loan process. There is no question, though, that campaign contributors have ties to Solyndra and other energy companies that have received federal money. Romney appeared to be referring to possible political influence wielded by two major Obama campaign donors with ties to Solyndra.