Mitt Romney’s criticisms of the $535 million tax-payer backed loan to solar firm Solyndra could be losing some of their punch. A Massachusetts solar company which the former governor gave a $1.5 million state-backed loan to has filed for bankruptcy.
Konarka Technologies, along with four other renewable energy companies, received the loan in January 2003, less than three weeks into Romney’s term as governor. One of the companies, Evergreen Solar, filed for bankruptcy last year.
On Friday, Konarka Technologies announced plans to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, stating it would lay off more than 80 workers and liquidate assets. President Barack Obama’s campaign immediately pounced on the news, particularly in the wake of his recent visit to Solyndra headquarters to criticize the quick review of the company’s loan application and subsequent bankruptcy filing.
Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said it was “a new example of Mitt Romney’s hypocrisy. Just one day after he pulled a political stunt outside Solyndra, we learned even more about his record of picking winners and losers in Massachusetts when one of the companies he gave a loan to went bankrupt.”
Romney’s campaign noted that the loans were approved in December 2002, a month before he took office, and were greenlighted by an agency not under Romney’s direct control. Also noted were the fact that Konarka Technologies did pay back its loan, and that there are no political ties between Konarka’s founders and Romney.
This contrasts with Republican criticism of the Solyndra loan. One of Solyndra’s largest private investors was a family foundation run by an Obama bundler, and another Obama fundraiser monitored the loan guarantee while working as an Energy Department advisor.
For more on this story, check out this Politico article.
–Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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