WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns responded this evening after the Obama White House failed to meet another deadline to produce internal Solyndra-related documents. The White House has failed to comply with committee subpoenas that were issued on November 3, 2011. On December 12, 2011, committee investigators went to the White House for good faith negotiations and presented administration lawyers with a proposed list of eleven narrowed categories. Despite expressing a willingness to comply, the White House has only provided a fraction of the documents responsive to the subpoena. In a February 9, 2012, letter to White House lawyers, the committee had given the White House a February 21, 2012, deadline to turn over all Solyndra related documents.
Chairmen Upton and Stearns made the following statement:
“The White House’s failure to comply with today’s document deadline is a sad milestone on the path chosen by this administration to obstruct and delay our investigation rather than cooperate and help deliver answers for taxpayers. From day one, Obama administration officials attacked our investigation, proclaiming that Solyndra was a smart investment unworthy of scrutiny, destined for success. But after exposing even a small portion of what happened behind the scenes, we now know those at the highest levels were scrambling to keep Solyndra afloat, pursuing a doomed restructuring that favored wealthy investors over taxpayers.
“Despite an all star cast of presidential aides that have their fingerprints on Solyndra – Larry Summers, Carol Browner, Ron Klain, Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod, Jim Messina, Dan Pfeiffer, Jay Carney, Cecilia Munoz – the White House is having great difficulty turning over relevant internal documents.
“We waited four months before issuing the subpoena that finally compelled OMB to comply with our repeated requests for information, and it was those documents that blew the doors off the Solyndra investigation. Now, it has been 140 days and nights since we first asked the White House for their internal West Wing Solyndra communications. How much longer does the White House believe the truth needs to wait? The deadline has come, and we will do what is necessary to answer the many outstanding questions surrounding Solyndra. We must learn the lessons of Solyndra as soon as possible to identify and fix the problem.”
The Committee members identified several specific unanswered questions in their letter – questions that are fundamental to the investigation into Solyndra’s loan guarantee. Those questions remain unanswered:
- What was the extent of the White House’s involvement in the restructuring of the Solyndra loan guarantee in late 2010 and early 2011 (and the related subordination of the taxpayer’s money to two private investors)?
- Was the White House aware that OMB and Treasury had questioned the advisability of the restructuring?
- Who instructed Solyndra to delay its announcement of job layoffs until after the 2010 midterm elections?
- Who made the decision that such a directive should be given to Solyndra?
- What was the extent of the White House’s involvement in the discussion relating to that issue?
- Why did a relatively small company like Solyndra receive so much attention from the White House, including discussions by many of the most senior advisers to the President?
- How did this high level of White House attention affect the management of the 1705 loan guarantee program?
- What factors contributed to the White House’s decision to go forward with a presidential visit to Solyndra’s manufacturing facilities in May 2010?
A copy of the committee letter to the White House setting the February 21, 2012, deadline for cooperation can be found HERE.
A copy of the committee’s December 12, 2011, proposed prioritization of document requests presented to the White House can be found HERE.
A copy of the committee memo chronicling the White House’s repeated delays can be found HERE.