Committee Leaders Expand Investigation into West Wing Involvement with Solyndra Mess
WASHINGTON, DC - Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) are seeking all communications between White House staff and officials regarding now-bankrupt Solyndra's $535 million loan guarantee. The Committee leaders have requested all documents dating back to President Obama's inauguration on January 20, 2009. Recently produced documents reveal the President's closest confidantes closely monitored the Solyndra loan and wealthy donors also weighed in on Solyndra to those officials closest to the Oval Office.
Subcommittee Chairman Stearns made the following statement:
"Nearly eight months into our investigation, documents provided to the Committee last Friday confirm those closest to the President - top advisors like Valerie Jarrett, Larry Summers, and Ron Klain - had direct involvement in the Solyndra mess. In addition to the cast of West Wing characters with access to the Oval Office, documents reveal a startlingly cozy relationship between wealthy donors and the President's confidantes, especially in matters related to Solyndra. While the President claims "˜hindsight is always 20/20' and the loan went "˜through the regular review process,' the facts tell a much different story with some of the loudest alarm bells on Solyndra's viability coming from within his very own administration."
In the letter to White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, the Committee leaders write, "On May 24, 2010, a DOE official emailed Ron Klain, Chief of Staff to Vice President Biden, to say that "˜we believe the company is okay in the medium term, but will need some help of one kind or another down the road.' Mr. Klain forwarded that email to Valerie Jarrett and stated that, based on DOE's evaluation, "˜there are some risk factors here - but that's true of any innovative company that POTUS would visit. It looks like it is OK to me, but if you feel otherwise, let me know.' Ms. Jarrett responds that, "˜I'm comfortable if you're comfortable.' Later that same day, OMB staff traded emails about Solyndra. Their outlook on Solyndra's prospects, however, was less positive. In one email, an OMB staff member stated, "I am increasingly worried that this visit could prove embarrassing to the Administration in the not too distant future, given 1) what we heard today about DOE that Solyndra is delaying their IPO at least until the end of the year, and 2) what the auditors said about Solyndra making it through the year absent new financing . . . . It might be worth flagging to policy officials given this high-profile visit." Other emails produced by OMB also show that OMB staff did not believe that DOE was adequately monitoring the loan guarantees it had issued."
View a copy of the letter to White House Counsel Ruemmler HERE.