Committee Leaders Press DOD for Answers About Contacts with Solyndra
WASHINGTON, DC - House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) are pressing the Department of Defense for Solyndra related documents. Documents gathered during the investigation reveal that Solyndra officials and investors were seeking DOD contracts as a lifeline for the company. The request comes on the heels of a similar document request to the General Services Administration.
In a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Committee leaders write, "Documents produced to the Committee during the course of the investigation show that administration officials attempted to help Solyndra as it was struggling financially by contacting other federal agencies about purchasing the company's solar panels. In addition, other documents show that certain Solyndra investors were in contact with the Department of Defense (DOD) on behalf of the company. For example, we know that Solyndra investors specifically discussed the company with individuals in the Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Installations and the Environment and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP). In addition, we understand that one of Solyndra's in-house lobbyists had an ongoing dialogue with an official in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs."
As the Committee seeks to fully understand the nature and extent of Solyndra's contacts with DOD, and whether individuals within the Obama administration assisted in these efforts, Upton and Stearns have requested all communications between DOD and Solyndra, Solyndra's investors, DOE, and the Executive Offices of the President and Vice President, as well as all internal DOD communications or documents related to Solyndra. The Committee leaders set a February 7, 2012, deadline.
View the letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta HERE.
The following documents that highlight Solyndra's interest in pursuing DOD contracts can be found HERE:
June 17, 2010 - Email from Solyndra CEO Chris Gronet to Argonaut's Steve Mitchell. Subject: Re: Re: next steps.
June 25, 2010 - Internal Argonaut Email: From Ken Levit to Steve Mitchell. Subject: Re: Re: solyndra.jpg. During the exchange, Mitchell wrote to Levit, "Get them to buy our panels. All they have to do is do some US content type of requirements for DOD procurement."
August 10, 2010 - Argonaut & Solyndra Email: Cc: Brian Harrison; Steve Mitchell. Subject: RE: RE: NCPV Hotline - August 10, 2010. "Getting business from Uncle Sam is a principal element of Solyndra's channel strategy."
October 30, 2010 - Internal Argonaut Email: From Steve Mitchell to Ken Levit and George Kaiser. Subject: One more DoD contact idea.
November 24, 2010 - Internal Argonaut Email: From Steve Mitchell to George Kaiser, Cc. Ken Levit. Subject: Re: Solyndra Update. George Kaiser writes, "What about DOD (and other governmental entity) sales efforts? Do the DOE people focus at all on how a Buy American plan could be a win win win for them and do they have any influence?"