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Energy loan chief to leave job today

Associated Press / October 7, 2011

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WASHINGTON - The head of the Energy Department’s loan guarantee office, which approved the ill-fated $528 million loan to the solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, will leave his job today, the department said yesterday afternoon.

The department said that the official, Jonathan Silver, had said in July that he would leave soon after Sept. 30. In a statement he gave the House Energy and Commerce Committee dated Sept. 23, Silver gave no indication he was leaving.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said, “because of my absolute confidence in Jonathan and the outstanding work he has done, I would welcome his continued service at the department, but I completely understand the decision he has made.’’

Silver arrived in November 2009. Solyndra received conditional approval for the loan eight months earlier and final approval two months earlier.

Silver and the Obama administration have been grilled by Republicans on why the loan was approved despite internal warnings that the company’s prospects were uncertain, and whether the decisions were influenced by the fact that Solyndra’s investors included a fundraiser for President Obama.