ROMNEY: "If the business failed, as it did, it's the taxpayers that get stuck with losing a half a billion dollars. So it's heads and his cronies win, and tails and the taxpayers lose."
THE FACTS: Romney is right that taxpayers are on the hook for the $528 million loan to Solyndra and other losses from the loan guarantee program. But the Obama administration said such losses were expected when Congress created the high-risk program, which is intended to boost cutting-edge projects that would have trouble obtaining private financing.
An independent review indicates that the government could lose nearly $3 billion on green energy loans — just under one-third of the $10 billion Congress set aside.
The report by former Treasury Department official Herb Allison said the loan program needs more rigorous financial oversight and stricter performance standards to reduce the risk of future defaults.
The review did not involve Solyndra or Beacon Power Corp., a Massachusetts energy storage company that also went bankrupt after receiving a federal loan. The government has lost $567 million from those two loans so far, although officials say they could recover as much as $28 million from the sale of Beacon to a private equity firm.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu said administration officials "have always known there were inherent risks in backing innovative technologies at full commercial scale." But he said the "vast majority" of companies that received loans are still expected to pay them back in full, with interest.
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