This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 29, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The process of the DOE which has been evaluated and improved over the course of the whole time we've been in office, is merit-base and done --it reflects extensive due diligence on the projects you're referring to, the new solar generation, large scale solar generation facilities that received loan approvals.
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BRET BAIER, HOST: Talking about the loan approval process Department of Energy. Fox News confirmed that several top Obama campaign fundraisers had influence in that process at the Department of Energy as it passed out billions of stimulus money to green jobs companies, as they called them, including Solyndra.
One of those fundraisers was Steven Spinner, a former NBC executive, clean tech consultant. He also was an adviser to Steven Chu. His wife Allison's law firm received $2.4 million for representing a number of the companies in the DOE loans.
This is what the White House put out about Spinner. "He started at the Department at the end of April 2009 -- after the decision to offer Solyndra conditional commitment was already made -- and returned to the private sector before the loan deal was resurrected." They go on to say that he was responsible for monitoring the loan program. Even in that capacity he was recusing himself from the specific loan applications in which the spouse's law firm was involved.
This is getting pretty specific. There are more developments in the case. We're back with the panel. Charles?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: One development is a guy called Steve Wesley. He raises half a million for Obama in '08 and he becomes a member of a high level advisory committee to the secretary of Energy, Secretary Chu. Now it turns out he has investment in five of the companies that received government money.
The problem here is the problem with all crony capitalism. It's inefficient and it's resistance ultimately to being corrupted is almost zero. Inefficient because experts or insiders who pick winners and losers are inevitably and almost always less efficient and wise in choosing investments than the market is. But apart from inefficiency is corruption. There are billions of dollars being shoved out the door very quickly to meet deadline in the stimulus package.
BAIER: Which is tomorrow by the way.
KRAUTHAMMER: Right. Even now we're getting a quarter of a billion, three- quarters of a billion handed out to another company. And there is no way in which proximity to power and having supported the president is not going to influence decisions in who gets the money and who is at the table when money is changing hands. Corruption is inherent to the process.
BAIER: We talked about this, Steve. One of the company's, Solyndra's chief investors,George Kaiser is also a major bundler for the Obama administration. Obviously, does a lot of charity work with the Kaiser Foundation. He had four meetings at the White House before the Solyndra loan $535 million went through. Four meetings right before that. Here is what the White House has said about those meetings.
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CARNEY: He did not lobby the administration officials in regard to this, with Solyndra. He was involved in a lot of charitable efforts. It's our understanding while we haven't looked in every meeting that we have had here, that that was the focus of his conversations generally speaking, at the White House.
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BAIER: So charity efforts. He met with Valerie Jarrett, Austan Goolsbee , Pete Rouse, and then he visited the White House a dozen times immediately after the loan went through. What about all that?
STEPHEN HAYES, WEEKLY STANDARD: I find the claim almost preposterous and I think it deserves more discussion. Who told Jay Carney that the discussions were about charitable, his charitable work? This is a guy who had, as you mentioned had four meetings in days leading up to the approval of the loan, the first approval of this loan of its kind. It was clearly expedited. We now know that Steven Chu was pushing hard to have it accelerated.
BAIER: Energy secretary.
HAYES: The Energy Department boasted about rushing it through. Vice President Biden shows up at a groundbreaking via satellite. Chu is there in person. We know the discussion were taking place at the loan program between Timothy Geithner, the former top economic adviser Larry summers, the president of the United States. All of the people having been part of these discussions.
And we're now to believe this person, George Kaiser, who raised, who was a high dollar bundler in the Obama campaign, had the four meetings to talk about his charitable work? That doesn't even pass the laugh test. So I would be interested in understanding why they were able, why was Jay Carney making that claim? I don't think Jay Carney goes out as a matter of process and lies to the American people. Who told him those were charitable meetings?
BAIER: A.B., let's talk about the impact of all of this. Look at the polls here, we asked a question, do you think this loan to Solyndra is either unethical behavior or good faith loan that went bad? It's 46-46. But you dig in, Republicans think 75 percent something unethical happened, 51 percent of independents say it involved unethical behavior. How big of a deal is this? How far do you think it can go?
A.B. STODDARD, THEHILL.COM: That is what's so interesting. The facts are the facts. They don't pass the laugh test. It's truly the administration's sort of first, you know, real scandal. The president is in so much political peril, however, with the economy and the debt crisis that I just don't know how much this is going to galvanize persuadable voters.
Who cares what Republicans think? Independent voters two-to-one are turning against the president and they don't believe he steered the economy in the right way and that he is addressing the debt crisis. They are only going to take a look at the Solyndra scandal after these other major issues. So it's hard to imagine this really sinking him with people who are on the fence about his economic record.
KRAUTHAMMER: I think it might because people will grant that Obama, he may not be a good manager, but at least he is acting in good faith. If you get a scandal in which it looks like they're covering up and they're corrupt, I think that is going to undo that narrative.
BAIER: Energy Secretary Chu is scheduled to testify on the Hill next week. We will follow all of that.
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