Politico Continues Hyping False Romney-Solyndra Comparison

Matthew Sheffield's picture

After being pilloried for months for the half-billion dollar Solyndra debacle, Obama Democrats are desperately trying to push a the idea that Mitt Romney has a Solyndra like failure of his own to answer for.

Upon further inspection, this claim has been shown to be false but that hasn’t stopped DC newspaper Politico from repeating the false notion and crafting headlines implying the charge is true.


Monday, Politico ran the breathless headline, “Romney-backed solar firm flops, Dems pounce.”

The headline was false and misleading as the premise of the story was that because Massachusetts loaned $1.5 million to a solar company when Romney was governor, and that company has now filed for bankruptcy protection, that leaves Romney “vulnerable to the same ‘picking winners and losers’ charges that he’s been lobbing at President Barack Obama over Solyndra.

The problems with the comparison are myriad, and well outlined by John Nolte at Breitbart.com.

In short, the $1.5 million loan to Konarka Technologies was approved two months before Romney became governor of Massachusetts. His administration had no role in the decision, and Romney later tried to defund the state’s green energy program that made the investment. Also, Konarka long ago repaid the loan – Massachusetts taxpayers didn’t lose a dime.

By comparison, the Obama administration insisted in increased funding for green energy “investments” as part of its economic “stimulus” package, and then fast-tracked a $530 million “loan” to Solyndra despite warnings that the company was on shaky ground. The administration also changed the terms of the deal so that, if the company went bankrupt, a private investment fund run by a big Obama bundler would be in line to get its loan to Solyndra repaid before taxpayers.

That would be one of the company’s largest private investors, a family foundation run by Tulsa oilman and Obama campaign donations bundler George Kaiser. (By contrast, a review of state and federal donation records turned up no contributions between top company officials and Romney — either for his 2002 gubernatorial or his 2008 and 2012 presidential bids.)

U.S. taxpayers lost $530 million.

You can’t blame Democrats for pouncing on the Konarka bankruptcy to try to mislead the media into thinking it undercuts Romney’s Solyndra line of attack – attacking Romney is their job, even if they don’t have actual facts to support their charges. but you CAN blame the media for falling for it given the actual facts.

Once it had the facts — which it did yesterday thanks to Breitbart.com — Politico should have published a correction, a clarification or some kind of new article explaining that Konarka is NOT like Solyndra in any meaningful way, and, no, being a solar company doesn’t count. A $1.5 million loan, since repaid, is not like $530 million in taxpayer money flushed down Solyndra’s toilets.  

Romney delivering a check approved by a state agency before he became governor is a photo-op, nothing more. Obama and Biden rushing the administration’s approval of the $500 million loan to Solyndra because they wanted it done in time for Obama’s photo-op at the Solyndra factory — that’s a scandal, and nothing less.

The facts had no bearing on the Politico, however, which essentially repeated the exact same story Tuesday, this time with the headline “Konarka could undercut attacks on Solyndra.”

Well, that’s technically true. If a compliant, pro-Obama media functioning as Obama’s Palace Guard, plays along.

And, when it comes to Politico on this story, they are most certainly playing that role.

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