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Republicans plan to subpoena White House for Solyndra emails

Last Friday, Republican Congressional leaders announced their intention to subpoena the White House for internal communications about federal loan guarantees to failed solar firm Solyndra.

Solyndra received a $535 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy in 2010, but the California firm filed for bankruptcy in September of this year.

Fred Upton (R-MI), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman, and Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, wrote in a statement that the requested communications “are critical to fully understanding why now-bankrupt Solyndra initially received the loan and why it was restructured in violation of the law.”

Rep. Cliff Stearns Photo Credit: International Business Times

On NBC’s Meet the Press this past Sunday, White House senior adviser David Plouffe would not comment on whether the White House would comply with any potential subpoena. He noted concern that the loan had failed, but emphasized the need for such incentive programs.

“Protecting taxpayers is critically important but we also have to keep our eye on the ball. If we are going to have the kind of jobs where people can make $20, $22, $25 an hour in high-tech manufacturing around this country, which we have to have, we have got to make progress in the clean energy sector,” Plouffe said.

This potential subpoena comes after two prior requests for all White House internal emails and documents related to Solyndra were denied.

White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler wrote in a letter to the Committee on October 14 that the over 70,000 pages of documents provided by the Treasury, Department of Energy and Office of Management and Budget should be sufficient, and that the request for more information “implicates longstanding and institutional executive-branch confidentiality interests.”

Reps. Stearns and Upton accused the Obama administration of lacking transparency. “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?” they wrote.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is set to meet Thursday November 3 to consider a resolution authorizing the issuance of the subpoena.


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