Committee Issues Subpoena After Obama Administration Refuses to Provide Documents 122 Days After Request
WASHINGTON, DC - The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations today voted to subpoena documents from the Office of Management and Budget relating to the Department of Energy's issuance of a loan guarantee to Solyndra, Inc. OMB is responsible for reviewing and approving the Credit Subsidy Costs of all DOE loan guarantees. The motion passed by a party line vote 14 to 8 and the subpoena must now be filed with the House Clerk before being served to OMB, which is expected within 24 hours.
Dating back to a March 14 request, the Committee leaders have pressed the Office of Management and Budget for key documents and information concerning the review of the Solyndra loan guarantee, but OMB has refused to produce the documents. The Committee has exercised extraordinary patience, and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Stearns (R-FL) reached out again last evening to OMB Director Jacob Lew, but OMB refused to comply and the subpoena meeting went forward.
During today's proceedings, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Upton said, "This Committee, and Congress as a co-equal branch of government, has an institutional obligation to obtain information from the executive branch so it can carry out its duties. The program we are investigating - the DOE Loan Guarantee Program - falls squarely within this Committee's jurisdiction. The program has so far issued over $11 billion in financing for loan guarantees. Solyndra, the recipient of the first guarantee, has faced some financial challenges. DOE was forced last March to modify the terms of the Solyndra deal, further raising concerns about whether this was an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. This Committee has never conducted oversight over the loan guarantee program before; it is our responsibility to do so."
Chairman Stearns added, "Voting to authorize this subpoena is a necessary step in carrying out this Committee's constitutional obligations. We simply cannot allow executive branch agencies to pick and choose what they will produce, or whether they will produce it at all. We are the stewards of the taxpayers' money, and we need to ensure that the billions of dollars appropriated for the DOE Loan Guarantee program are properly invested."
The subcommittee convened a hearing June 24 to hear directly from OMB Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients about the stimulus loan guarantee program and press for answers about why OMB refused to produce key documents for congressional investigators. Despite Chairman Stearns' urging Director Lew for cooperation, Zients did not even show up to testify, much less produce the documents. Although efforts have been made over the last two weeks to achieve a bipartisan resolution to obtain the documents, OMB still has not produced the documents in question.
For a detailed accounting of OMB's repeated delays, please visit the Energy and Commerce Committee website by clicking HERE.