During Mitt Romney’s “secret” press conference outside the former offices of Solyndra yesterday, he claimed the inspector general admitted that the Obama administration had steered money to friends and family. And that would be news to the rest of the world, because that’s not actually what Inspector General Friedman said. It was a lie.
ROMNEY: “An independent inspector general looked at this investment (Solyndra) and concluded that the administration had steered money to friends and family – to campaign contributors.”
THE FACTS: There is no proof – and it appears unlikely – that Energy Department Inspector General Gregory Friedman was talking about Solyndra when he testified in March 2011 about stimulus contracts. Friedman said his office was investigating whether such contracts were steered to friends and family, presumably of government officials in charge of spending stimulus money. Romney cited a Newsweek article that referred to Friedman’s testimony.
But Friedman did not say that such claims had been proved, and there is no evidence he was including Solyndra in his comments. The testimony came nearly six months before the company declared bankruptcy. And there is no evidence that family members of top federal officials received any favors. Friedman’s office is among several federal agencies that are investigating Solyndra.
Six months before the Solyndra witch-hunt became a thing, the inspector general listed allegations his office was investigating which did not specifically include allegations against Solyndra.
Team Romney simply chose to associate the inspector general’s words with Solyndra, even though the inspector himself was not referring to Solyndra.
The Romney campaign has to lie. He has to say anything. Running on the record as it stands isn’t an option.