The weekly watchdog: Sept. 12 - Sept. 16

This week's top investigations from iWatch News

By

 Updated:

From left: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Energy Secretary Steven Chu break ground for Solyndra's new plant in 2009, a crowd seeks work in Los Angeles.

Solyndra Inc., Reed Saxon/AP

Is LightSquared the New Solyndra?

There are some troubling similarities between bankrupt Solyndra's troubles and LightSquared, a wireless company with deep connections into the Obama administration. The emails first obtained by iWatch News and ABC News this week don't look so great either. On the day that LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja made a $30,400 contribution to the Democratic Party, two of his deputies appealed to the White House for meetings with top technology advisers to Obama.

Outside Campaign Money Pours In

This is the new normal. Outside groups and national party committees spent $1.65 million on the special congressional elections in New York and Nevada, according to an analysis by iWatch News. Nearly half the total poured into the races in the final week. In both races, the Democratic candidates led in terms of direct campaign contributions (so-called hard money) but lost on Election Day, after big infusions from outsiders. Mark Amodei won in Nevada and Bob Turner was the victor in New York. Party and non-party groups favoring the Republicans outspent their pro-Democratic counterparts $978,000 to $676,900, helping to partially offset the hard-money fundraising gap enjoyed by the Democrats.

Solyndra Saga Continues

The ill-fated and bankrupt solar company Solyndra is still in the news, thanks to more exclusive coverage from iWatch News. This week, the Center and partner ABC News obtained emails that showed White House officials had been closely watching the company‚s fortunes in 2009 and indicated it may not be the best bet for federal loan guarantees. Too late, by then the Department of Energy had jumped to make Solyndra the poster child for the Obama administration‚s new green-jobs stimulus program. Last week, we discovered the California-based outfit had received a special 1 percent loan, backed by $535 million in taxpayer-funded guarantees.

Working Families in Crisis "The Raw Deal"

The Center is starting a major new investigative project looking at the plight of American working families. Raw Deal: How Wall Street and Washington broke faith with working families will tell the story with the help of those most affected by hard times: the members of American working class clans, struggling to cope with debt, unemployment and other unyielding pressures. These are the Americans who paid the heaviest price of the Great Recession. But even before the latest economic crunch, they were facing dire straits as factories closed, the cost of education and health care soared, and income inequality rose. Have an experience to relate, or a tip? Let us know at rawdeal@publicintegrity.org.

Until next week,

Bill Buzenberg
Executive Director

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