Nightly News   |  September 14, 2011

White House ignored red flags in Solyndra case

Solyndra, a solar energy company championed by President Obama, received more than $500 million in government funding, then went bankrupt last month. NBC’s Lisa Myers has more.

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>>> in washington, an effort to investigate an effort by the obama administration to create green jobs . this one went bad. a solar energy company championed by the president himself received half a billion in government loans and then it went bankrupt last month. today, republicans were looking for answers here. the story from our senior investigative correspondent lisa myers .

>> reporter: the president visited the company solyndra last year, hailing it as a stimulus success story.

>> the true engine of economic growth will always be companies like solyndra.

>> reporter: today the company is bankrupt. 1,100 workers laid off. taxpayers stand to lose as much as $500 million.

>> i think everyone must agree that there is some scandal involved in this.

>> reporter: house republicans today hammered the white house , revealing e-mails which suggest the administration was in a hurry to provide taxpayer money despite red flags about the company's viability.

>> yeah. there was pressure. but it was pressure applied in pushing this thing out the door.

>> reporter: just days before the deal was approved, a staffer warns that one model shows the project runs out of cash in september 2011 , which it did. another questioned the government's assumptions but said given the time pressure we are under to sign off on solyndra, we don't have time to change the model. why the rush? e-mails showed the white house wanted the vice president to announce a final deal the next week, which he did. still, administration officials insist everything was handled properly.

>> due diligence was done across multiple years.

>> reporter: they blame the collapse on market conditions which caused solar prices to plummet this year.

>> at the end of the day , the taxpayer loses big time . it stinks to high heaven.

>> reporter: still, the white house argues it was a necessary risk for the u.s. to compete in a high tech global economy . lisa myers , nbc news, washington.