As we get ready for a Congressional hearing later today, news of money that Fisker Automotive owes to the US government is on the mind of regulators and the public. Therefore, the US Department of Energy has announced that it did recently collect $21 million from the struggling automaker. The DOE says that the $21 million was paid back April 11. The company's first repayment, of $10 million out of the roughly $192 million that the company took (it was originally granted a $529 million loan but never took all of the money), was due Monday but the company did not send that check. DOE spokeswoman Aoife McCarthy said in a statement that the agency is "taking strong and appropriate action on behalf of taxpayers," and that the $21 million came from a reserve account. Whether the money covers the payment due is not clear.

Today, the ever-positive-in-the-face-of-trouble co-founder Hekrik Fisker (since resigned), company CEO Tony Posawatz (maybe; reports differ) and COO Bernhard Koehler will be questioned by Republican Darrell Issa's (R-CA) Government Reform and Oversight Committee. Word is that Henrik will say the company could "survive and move forward if it can secure financial and strategic resources, to build on its achievements so far" and that Fisker's problems are the result of "a confluence of events," which sounds like we could be in for some testy testimony.

It's pretty clear Issa has got a negative attitude about the company, since the hearing's official title is: "Green Energy Oversight: Examining the Department of Energy's Bad Bet on Fisker Automotive." We'll have more later today.

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