Isakson bill aims at new Solyndras

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson

ATLANTA — The U.S. Senate is poised to pass legislation this week that Sen. Johnny Isakson introduced to prevent another energy company from getting a sweetheart deal like the now-bankrupt solar-panel maker Solyndra.


The Georgia Republican won agreement from both the GOP and Democratic leadership to include his measure in the appropriations bill for the Department of Energy, the agency that approved a $545 million loan guarantee for the California company in 2009.

In February, the department restructured the guarantee so that two investors would get their money back before any was returned to taxpayers after the company’s assets are sold.

It was the restructuring that Isakson sought to stop. His amendment would prohibit the department from making similar arrangements in the future.

He and Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, are drafting a separate bill that would apply the prohibition to all federal agencies.

“When this came out about Solyndra, this occurred to me that this was the perfect time for this amendment,” Isakson said.

Republicans have used revelations of the loan guarantee and the adjustment for the investors as ammunition against President Obama since Solyndra backers contributed to his campaign.

The fact that the startup company was on shaky financial footing made it appear that the guarantee was a political favor, they said.