9. Solyndra (Energy Department IG, 2011)
On paper, the solar company Solyndra seemed like a solid investment: it claimed its cost-cutting solar panels were unlike any other product in the energy industry. The Department of Energy loaned Solyndra more than $500 million—then in September, the company filed for bankruptcy, resulting in the loss of 1,100 jobs. The Department of Energy and the Obama Administration may not have been able to explain this disaster—but the IG could. As reported by The Washington Post, in testimony intended to summarize “more than 100 investigations,” IG Gregory Friedman raised concerns about the federal loan program used to fund Solyndra and disclosed that the Energy Department was not adequately prepared to manage stimulus funds.
Image of solar panels by Flickr user Abi Skipp