Steven Spinner, a senior official at the Energy Department, pushed for the $535 million federal loan to Solyndra even though he'd said he'd recuse himself from the loan application because of a conflict-of-interest: his wife's law firm worked for the company, The New York Times' Eric Lipton and John M. Broder report. Spinner was a fundraiser for Obama in 2008. His emails, beginning Aug. 28, 2009, show he was impatient with the time it was taking for the Office of Management and Budget to approve the loan. "Any word from OMB? I have the OVP and WH breathing down my neck on this," he wrote to another department staffer. "Just want to make sure we get their questions. They are getting itchy to get involved if needed. I don't want that." When the staffer said she needed more information, Spinner got testy, Politico's Darren Samuelsohn reports. "How -- hard is this? What is he waiting for?" Spinner replied. "Will we have it by end of day? If any risk of not, let me know ... How do OMB's questions look? What you were expecting? How long for us to respond? Just so I can be better educated, can you share with me?"
By some scholarly estimates, the Solyndra controversy -- did the troubled solar energy company really deserve that massive loan? -- has the potential to blow up into the first genuine scandal of President Obama's administration. Obama visited the company in 2010 (pictured above), against the advice of some staffers.