Committee Leaders Respond to Release of DOE Loan & Loan Guarantee Audit
WASHINGTON, DC - House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns expressed concern with today's release of former Treasury official Herbert Allison's audit of DOE's stimulus loans and loan guarantees. Two out of the first three loan guarantee recipients, Solyndra and Beacon Power, have already filed for bankruptcy. The committee leaders are concerned with the health and management of the overall program, and have repeatedly requested financial information on the entire portfolio.
Chairmen Upton and Stearns made the following remarks upon release of the audit:
"The first step on the road to recovery is overcoming denial, and this audit is a long-overdue acknowledgement that the Obama administration has a problem. But when taxpayers are the ones paying the price, this sort of managerial soul searching should take place before billions of dollars are doled out, not after.
"It would be a stunning case of bureaucratic disregard to declare victory because the government is expecting to lose 'just' $3 billion. One key lesson is that taxpayers should not have been placed in the position to lose one dollar, let alone billions, all because the stimulus allowed companies with shaky finances to apply for and receive taxpayer support without putting up any money.
"The very suggestion of an early warning system misses the point given that the internal warnings on Solyndra were abundant well before the half a billion dollar loan guarantee was finalized. What use are early warnings if they are ignored? Every warning on Solyndra fell on deaf ears - while the experts understood Solyndra was doomed for failure, they were overruled every step of the way.
"If the Obama White House is indeed sincere about protecting taxpayers, its team of lawyers should swiftly comply with our subpoena for West Wing Solyndra documents. It has been 100 days since we were forced to subpoena the White House, and they continue withholding documents and shielding key staff from our investigators. This report reveals broad-based weaknesses, but it does not answer some of the most fundamental questions about how these risky bets were made over the objections of experts. Our investigation continues as we work to ensure taxpayers are never again stuck paying hundreds of millions of dollars because of the Obama administration's risky bets."
View the committee leader's September 20, 2011, letter to DOE Secretary Chu seeking details on the 1705 loan portfolio HERE.
View the committee leader's second request from October 6, 2011, to DOE Secretary Chu for details on the financial condition of all loan guarantee recipients HERE.
View the committee leader's January 30, 2012, letter seeking collaboration with Herbert Allison HERE.