Committee Presses Energy Secretary for All Communications between Department and White House Related to Half Billion Dollar Solyndra Bust

September 22, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and every member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations are seeking additional documents from the Department of Energy regarding now-bankrupt Solyndra's $535 million loan guarantee. In a letter to Secretary Steven Chu, Members are seeking all materials related to communications between the DOE and White House, as well as all communications between DOE and the Treasury Department. Despite concerns over the company's financial viability, the Obama administration restructured Solyndra's loan in February 2011, and put venture capitalists at the front of the line, ahead of taxpayers, in the event of bankruptcy, which was in violation of the plain letter of the law.

Referencing last week's hearing on "Solyndra and the DOE Loan Guarantee Program," the Committee Members wrote, "Members of the Subcommittee asked Jonathan Silver, Director of the DOE Loan Programs Office, to describe the DOE's contacts with the White House during the review of the Solyndra loan guarantee in 2009 and during its restructuring this year.  Mr. Silver acknowledged that the DOE and the White House did have discussions about the Solyndra guarantee; however, he was not able to identify the particulars of these communications with White House officials and personnel, including which officials in the White House communicated with DOE about Solyndra, the substance of those communications, and when those communications occurred."

The Committee Members went on to request that Secretary Chu provide all documents containing communications between DOE and the White House (including, but not limited to, the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the National Economic Council) related to the half billion dollar loan to now-bankrupt Solyndra, setting a deadline of September 28, 2011.

With the Treasury Department recently becoming the latest cabinet level agency to officially open an investigation of Solyndra, the Committee Members also reminded Secretary Chu of their February 17, 2011, request for all documents containing communications related to Solyndra between DOE and the Treasury Department and also asked that he provide those communications no later than September 28, 2011.

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on "From DOE Loan Guarantee to Bankruptcy to FBI Raid: What Solyndra's Executives Knew" this Friday, September 23, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Despite earlier pledges that the Solyndra CEO would voluntarily answer the Subcommittee's questions, lawyers for Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison and CFO W.G. Stover have now declared that the executives will take the Fifth Amendment and decline to answer questions at Friday's hearing.

View a copy of the letter to Energy Secretary Chu HERE.