New internal White House emails reveal that a scathing critique of Energy Secretary Steven Chu by a former Obama political advisor was widely circulated at the highest levels of the administration.
The Feb. 25, 2011 email that sparked the deliberations landed on West Wing desks just as the solar energy firm Solyndra was starting to show outward signs of financial trouble. It was sent by Dan Carol, a former Obama campaign staffer and clean energy advocate who was described by Obama’s then-Chief of Staff Pete Rouse as someone whose views “reflect the President’s general philosophy on energy policy.”
Carol’s four-page proposal to restructure the Energy Department included the blunt recommendation that Chu be fired, and that his leadership team also be replaced, calling it time for “serious changes, even if they are uncomfortable to make.”
“I would respectfully suggest that the president be strongly encouraged to make major leadership changes as soon as possible,” Carol wrote.
Carol also predicted the political fallout that would result from what he saw as inevitable failures of the Energy Department’s now-embattled loan guarantee program. He made the dire predictions when advising that Obama replace Chu with someone who was not “too associated … with [the] Silicon Valley business elite.”
“Not because they aren’t talented,” Carol writes, “but because that appointment will be caught up in the wave of GOP attacks that are surely coming over Solyndra and other inside DOE deals that have gone to Obama donors and have underperformed. No reason to fuel that coming storm, and believe me it will come.”