Ex-Solyndra lobbyist gave last minute money to Vargas

Former advocate for bankrupt recipient of $535 million federal loan guarantee antes up in South Bay congressional race

Democrat Juan Vargas had an easy time of it in this year's general election bid to replace Bob Filner in congress. Having knocked off fellow Democrat Denise Ducheny in June, the former state legislator and insurance company influence peddler handily beat GOP opponent Brian Hendry in November.

But that didn't mean the ultimate victory was cheap.

According to a disclosure statement filed last week and posted online by the Federal Election Commission, Vargas raised a total of $987,617 in his election committee and spent $855,758 as of November 26, the end of the most recent reporting period.

The committee reported having cash in the amount of $113,533 on hand, with total debts and obligations of $105,000 remaining to be paid.

A big chunk of change was owed to Vargas himself, who made a $60,000 loan to the committee in June of last year and has since been repaid just $5,000.

Next in line is the Primacy Group, run by Larry Remer, the San Diego political consultant and longtime Vargas pal, owed $25,000 for campaign services.

Cash to juice the Vargas political machine has come from such unsurprising sources as the Dealers Election Action Committee Of The National Automobile Dealers Association ($5,000); Broadcom Corp ($2500); IPAA Wildcatters Fund ($2,000); and the National Beer Wholesalers PAC ($5,000).

One contributor of special interest is Gregg Rothschild, managing director of the Glover Park Group, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying outfit that performed $20,000 of work for Solyndra, LLC, the now-bankrupt solar panel maker at the center of last year's $535 million Energy Department loan guarantee scandal.

According to an October 2011 account in Bloomberg Businessweek, Rothschild, a former Democratic counsel for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was among a group of Glover staffers who helped Solyndra present a glowing picture of itself to a House committee investigating the firm in the days before its September 2011 collapse. Glover Park subsequently said it was never paid for its efforts and wasn't seeking to collect its money, according to the story.

The firm's biggest client, according to opensecrets.org, is the American Bankers Association, with $240,000.

Rothschild gave $500 to Vargas on October 29, according to the filing.

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