Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan might have supported full disbursement of the U.S. Energy Department's planned $529 million loan to extended-range plug-in vehicle maker Fisker Automotive. Then again, he might not have. Ah, politics.

Recently, Ryan has joined fellow Republicans in blasting DOE loans to "green" technology companies like Fisker and solar-panel producer Solyndra. But, in a 2008 letter, he appeared to support giving the DOE enough "flexibility" to make its planned $529 million loan to the California-based automaker, according to Delaware Online.

Of course, Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck denied that the candidate changed his views, saying that the funding would've been contingent on Fisker being "approved as a viable recipient." We're not sure what that means either, since the DOE loan was, indeed, originally approved. The DOE granted Fisker the $529 million loan in 2010 but has since frozen all but about $200 million of it because Fisker failed to meet certain predetermined production quotas for its Karma model.

In late June, Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Chuck Grassley (R-IO) sent a letter to DOE secretary Steven Chu questioning the $529 million loan in part because of Qatar's ownership stake in the company. Two months earlier, ex-Fisker chairman and current investor Ray Lane blamed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for the delays in the DOE funding, saying Romney, the son of former American Motors chief George Romney, mistakenly grouped Fisker with Solyndra. Fisker had planned to take over an old GM factory in Delaware to produce the Fisker Atlantic, but those plans have been put on hold, in part because all the loan money did not come through.


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