Committee Ramps Up Investigation into President's Flagship Stimulus Jobs "Success Story" that Filed For Bankruptcy - Leaders Press White House For Documents

September 1, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) are seeking additional documents and information from the White House regarding the $535 million Department of Energy loan guarantee awarded to now-bankrupt Solyndra, Inc. Despite partisan roadblocks by Committee Democrats and repeated pushback, protest, and misleading claims on Solyndra's viability by Administration officials and company executives, the Energy and Commerce Committee has continued investigating the highly publicized loan guarantee.  Solyndra was awarded the first stimulus DOE loan in the Spring of 2009 and has been widely promoted as a stimulus jobs "success story" ever since, with President Obama visiting the plant in May 2010.

In the letter to White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, Upton and Stearns write, "We have learned from our investigation that White House officials monitored Solyndra's application, and communicated with DOE and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) officials during the course of their review in 2009 and when those officials were restructuring the Solyndra deal this year.  Documents received by the Committee also show that DOE and OMB officials were aware of the White House's interest in the Solyndra loan guarantee.  In addition, we are also aware that a major investor in Solyndra, George Kaiser, was a bundler for President Obama's 2008 campaign."

The Committee leaders go on to write, "President Obama and other Administration officials have repeatedly touted Solyndra and its prospects in visits to its manufacturing facility and in speeches. When President Obama visited the company in May 2010 to tour its manufacturing facilities, he noted that "˜the true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra.' Despite these statements on its prospects, Solyndra has experienced serious financial setbacks since receiving the DOE loan guarantee.  Just after the President's visit to Solyndra, the company cancelled a planned initial public offering.  In November 2010, Solyndra announced that it was postponing a planned expansion of its facility and laying off 135 temporary or part-time workers and 40 full-time employees.  In February of this year, DOE was forced to restructure the terms of Solyndra's loan guarantee due to the company's financial problems." 

Upton and Stearns also reference an October 25, 2010, briefing memorandum addressed to President Obama from Carol Browner, then-Director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy; Ron Klain, then-Chief of Staff to Vice President Joe Biden; and Lawrence Summers, then-Director of the National Economic Council that raised several concerns about the implementation of the DOE loan guarantee program.

To view the full text of the letter, click HERE.
 

BACKGROUND
Commencing in February 2011, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has been investigating the Department of Energy's $535 million loan guarantee that was awarded to Solyndra in the spring of 2009. Committee Democrats have continually refused to cooperate, instead protesting investigative efforts at every opportunity.  The Committee was forced to issue a subpoena to the Obama OMB on July 14, 2011, for documents related to approving the Credit Subsidy Costs of all DOE loan guarantees. Every Democrat on the Oversight Subcommittee opposed issuing the subpoena. 

Despite missing the subpoena's July 22, 2011, deadline, OMB has since produced, and continues to produce, hundreds of pages of documents relating to the Solyndra loan guarantee and the restructuring of that agreement just this year. The Committee expects OMB's continued and timely compliance with this subpoena. 

For a timeline of the Energy and Commerce Committee Investigation into the Solyndra loan click HERE

 

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