Despite Solyndra and Beacon Power's bankruptcies, DOE Slow to Hand Over Documents Pertaining to Overall Loan Guarantee Portfolio
WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) are seeking collaboration from former Treasury official Herbert Allison as he concludes his 60-day review of DOE’s 1705 loan guarantee program. Two out of the first three loan guarantee recipients, Solyndra and Beacon Power, have filed for bankruptcy, leaving taxpayers on the hook for over half a billion dollars. The Committee leaders have been concerned with the health and management of the overall program. They initially requested information from DOE on the entire portfolio in mid-September, as DOE was poised to rush out the remaining $9 billion in loan guarantees before the September 30, 2011, deadline set by the stimulus. The leaders followed up on their request the first week of October, but DOE has been slow to cooperate. Upton and Stearns believe it “makes sense” to attempt to collaborate with Allison to ensure taxpayer dollars are not wasted.
In the letter to Allison, the Committee leaders write, “During September, as DOE rushed to award almost $8 billion in loan guarantees before the stimulus deadline, we expanded our investigation to examine DOE’s management of the DOE Section 1705 Loan Guarantee portfolio generally. On September 20 and October 6, we asked DOE to provide the Committee with certain information about the Section 1705 loans so that the Committee can examine the health of the portfolio and how DOE has mitigated the risks presented by these loan guarantees. To date, DOE has yet to provide the bulk of these materials. Since the date that the Committee requested this information, another DOE loan guarantee recipient, Beacon, has filed for bankruptcy.”
The leaders continued, “According to public statements made by White House Chief of Staff William Daley, the White House has asked you to analyze “the current state of the Department of Energy loan portfolio, focusing on future loan monitoring and management” and to produce a report or evaluation setting forth your findings within 60 days. It is our understanding that this report will be issued in the near future. It is our hope that we can work collaboratively, given the Committee’s extensive investigation of the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program to date. We were told that you are not accepting meetings with “˜outside groups.’ As the Committee has been looking into the same matters that are the subject of your review, we respectfully submit that it would make sense to attempt to work collaboratively.”
During his State of the Union address last week, the President proclaimed, “Some technologies don’t pan out; some companies fail,” indicating that the President expects taxpayer-funded companies go bankrupt, further wasting taxpayer dollars. The investigation continues and Committee leaders are working to ensure taxpayers are never again stuck paying hundreds of millions of dollars because of the Obama administration’s risky bets. Last week, Upton and Stearns pressed the Department of Defense for Solyndra related documents after materials gathered during the investigation revealed that Solyndra officials and investors were seeking DOD contracts as a lifeline for the company.
View the letter to Herbert Allison HERE.