Committee Prepares to Seek Subpoena of White House Documents
WASHINGTON, DC - Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today announced the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations is preparing to hold a business meeting on Thursday, November 3, 2011, to consider a resolution authorizing the issuance of a subpoena for internal White House communications relating to the Solyndra loan guarantee. The authorization for the subpoena is the next investigative step in ensuring congressional access to documents that are specifically relevant to the Solyndra investigation. The meeting comes only after the White House has denied requests for internal White House documents related to Solyndra, refusing to turn over information or engage in discussions with the committee about identifying relevant documents. Recently produced documents revealed that the President's closest confidantes in the White House participated in decisions regarding the Solyndra loan.
Chairmen Upton and Stearns made the following statement:
"Subpoenaing the White House is a serious step that, unfortunately, appears necessary in light of the Obama administration's stonewall on Solyndra. What is the White House trying to hide from the American public? It is alarming for the Obama White House to cast aside its vows of transparency and block Congress from learning more about the roles that those in the White House and other members of the administration played in the Solyndra mess.
"While we of course respect Executive Privilege, the White House Counsel - in two separate letters to the Committee - has not asserted it. Moreover, we fail to see why internal White House communications about a loan guarantee to a solar panel manufacturer would implicate issues of national security or the other foundations upon which the Supreme Court has recognized the Privilege.
"Since we launched the Solyndra investigation over eight months ago, the Obama administration has unfortunately fought us every step of the way, even forcing us to subpoena documents from OMB. We have conducted a thoughtful and deliberate investigation since day one, the facts have proved we are on the right trail, and it is time for the White House to cooperate fully. Communications between senior officials in the West Wing are critical to fully understanding why now-bankrupt Solyndra initially received the loan and why it was restructured in violation of the law.
"American taxpayers who are now saddled with a half billion dollar I.O.U. to Uncle Sam deserve to know the truth behind Solyndra. We remain committed to uncovering the facts in an even-handed way, and maintain some hope that the White House will change course and begin to cooperate."
NOTE: Internal documents and emails produced as part of the investigation - some of them only delivered after being compelled by a subpoena - show significant interest in and monitoring of the Solyndra loan guarantee by senior West Wing staff. However, the documents produced thus far only reveal the involvement of White House staff when directly contacting outside agencies. To determine the extent of the West Wing's involvement as critical decisions were being made about whether to proceed with the loan, it is essential to consider White House staff's communications with one another. The purpose of a possible subpoena for White House documents would be to secure access to these internal communications among White House staff discussing their knowledge of the Solyndra loan and any efforts they made to secure the guarantee. The committee hopes to work with the White House to secure relevant communications from key personnel such as former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, former National Economic Council Director Larry Summers, and Ron Klain, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Biden.
View a copy of Upton's and Stearns' October 5, 2011, letter to the White House HERE.
View a copy of the White House Counsel's refusal to cooperate HERE.
View a copy of Upton's and Stearns' October 18, 2011, follow-up letter to the White House HERE.
View a copy of the White House Counsel's second refusal to cooperate HERE.
View a timeline of the Energy and Commerce Committee's eight-month investigation HERE.