Friday, October 24th, 2014

Fact-checking Solyndra

Americans for Prosperity launched this TV ad Nov. 2, 2011.

With the collapse of Solyndra generating bad headlines for the Obama administration, White House officials are defending the program that helped fund the solar power company's now-shuttered Silicon Valley factory. Meanwhile, the controversy has provided fodder for a new ad from Americans for Prosperity, a group that works closely with tea party activists.

If you’re new to the Solyndra story, start with our fact-check of the Americans for Prosperity ad. The ad says that President Barack Obama gave "half a billion in taxpayer money to help his friends at Solyndra, a business the White House knew was on the path to bankruptcy." We rated that Mostly False.  Part of what the ad says is correct, but the charges of political cronyism aren’t supported by the existing evidence.

In defense of the program, White House senior adviser David Plouffe said the loan guarantee program that helped Solyndra "was a program that was supported by President Bush." We rated his statement Mostly True. The program was started under President George W. Bush, but Obama expanded it through the economic stimulus of 2009.

Finally, Mitt Romney mocked Solyndra as a company  that had "robots that whistled Disney songs." Romney said this was an example of how government doesn’t know how to run a business. We rated his statement Half True. The whistling robots were actually driverless forklifts that played music as a safety feature.

Hear any other facts about Solyndra that you would like checked? Drop us a line at truthometer@politifact.com