White House Informed Committee that a Letter and Responsive Materials Would be Forthcoming by 5:00pm
WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) made the following statement today regarding the ongoing investigation into the $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra and efforts by the White House to comply with a subpoena issued by the committee last week.
“This morning, the White House Counsel’s Office informed the committee that it plans to begin providing responsive materials to the committee’s subpoena. As we have said before, we stand ready to work with the White House on its document production and believe it is entirely possible for the White House to produce information for an investigation that the White House Counsel herself has acknowledged is both legitimate and necessary. We remain hopeful that the White House will demonstrate some good faith efforts of compliance and provide the internal Solyndra-related communications we have been seeking.”
The committee’s request for documents is a reasonable one that centers around one specific company. Internal documents and emails produced as part of the investigation – some of them only delivered after being compelled by an earlier subpoena – show significant interest in and monitoring of the Solyndra loan guarantee by senior West Wing staff. 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 subpoena the committee issued to the Office of Management and Budget on July 15, 2011, should serve as a model for negotiations moving forward, particularly because OMB is contained within the Executive Office of the President. Likewise, that subpoena sought “all documents in possession of the Office of Management and Budget relating to the $535 million loan guarantee issued to Solyndra, Inc., by the Department of Energy including, but not limited to, notes, analyses, reports, memoranda, and all drafts of such documents.” Neither OMB nor the White House Counsel dismissed that subpoena as overly broad, and it is unclear why they are refusing the same dialogue and negotiation with this subpoena. Following issuance of the subpoena, OMB has turned over approximately 7,000 pages, including press clippings. OMB had a statutory role in approving the Solyndra loan’s credit subsidy, unlike the White House, which suggests that the Executive Offices of the President and Vice President would have fewer documents.
A copy of the motion authorizing the subpoenas and the text of the subpoenas are available online HERE.
View a copy of the White House Counsel’s November 4, 2011, response HERE.
View the Committee leaders’ November 9, 2011, letter to the White House Counsel HERE.
The Energy and Commerce Committee Action Has Significant Precedent. Congressional Democrats Subpoenaed Internal Documents Related to the Bush White House Alone at Least Four Times.
6-13-2007 – House and Senate Judiciary Committees subpoena Harriet Miers, John Bolton, and White House Political Director Sara Taylor for documents and testimony related to the U.S. Attorney firings.
6-27-2007 – Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenas Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and the custodians of records in the Executive Office of the President (EOP) and the Office of the Vice President (OVP) for documents related to NSA’s warrantless wiretapping.
7-26-2007 – Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenas Karl Rove and White House Deputy Political Director J. Scott Jennings for documents and testimony related to the U.S. Attorney firings.
6-16-2008 – House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Henry Waxman (D-CA), subpoenas Attorney General Michael Mukasey for FBI’s interview transcripts of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, related to the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative.