House Committee Subpoenas White House on Solyndra

By Published On: November 4, 2011

In voting to subpoena all White House communications concerning the $535 million loan guarantee to Fremont-based Solyndra, the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations reflected a deeply partisan move. In its continuing investigation into the Aug. 31 Solyndra bankruptcy, the committee took the severe and unusual step of issuing the subpoena to the White House by a 14-9 vote. “We can’t let the administration pick and choose what it releases,” said Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), author of the subpoena resolution. “It’s justified only if there’s an unbridgeable impasse that has been reached,” Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) responded. “Apparently what the committee really wants is a confrontation with the President.” Concerned about the potential breadth of the subpoena, Democrats said that the committee is allowing an open-ended authorization for a subpoena with no specific language involved. “The subpoena asks for just about damn near everything,” Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) said. An alternative motion to delay issuing a subpoena until Nov. 15 was voted down 13-9 along party lines. Department of Energy secretary Steve Chu is to testify to the committee on the matter Nov. 17. The administration already produced “over 70,000 pages of documents” for the committee in the Solyndra matter, according to White House counsel to the President Kathryn Ruemmler. Both the Department of Energy and Office of Management & Budget divulged an additional 10,000 documents the night before the hearing. By the end of 2011, the U.S. Treasury is set to evaluate 30-plus loan guarantees for “green” energy, the White House declared Oct. 28. The review covers $36 billion in federal support. The White House stated that the review is not connected with the potential subpoena. In related news, dispensation of economic stimulus funds faced controversy--such as finding shovel-ready projects in which to invest and dealing with thousands of local governments--according to DOE inspector general Gregory Friedman. In a hearing before the House oversight panel Nov. 2, Friedman noted the administration now faces laying off a part of the workforce who were hired under the stimulus program.

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