Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Solyndra execs invoke Fifth Amendment more than a dozen times
The Hill ^ | 9/23/11 | Andrew Restuccia

Posted on 09/24/2011 3:01:09 AM PDT by Libloather

Solyndra execs invoke Fifth Amendment more than a dozen times
By Andrew Restuccia - 09/23/11 11:17 AM ET

House Republicans pressed top executives at the failed solar company Solyndra Friday for answers regarding the company’s decision to declare bankruptcy just two years after receiving a $535 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration.

But the executives, surrounded by photographers, invoked their Fifth Amendment rights more than a dozen times during the hearing of a House Energy and Commerce Committee investigative panel.

“On the advice of my counsel I invoke the privilege afforded to me by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and I respectfully decline to answer any questions,” Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison told lawmakers, a phrase he and Chief Financial Officer W.G. Stover Jr., repeated 20 times throughout the hearing.

Democrats on the panel criticized Republicans for peppering the executives with questions, arguing it was simply an effort to gain the attention of the press.

“What we have instead heard today is a line of questions that seem designed to create catchy sound bites,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee.

“I think it’s unseemly and inappropriate for members to be asking questions they know they will not answer.”

The Solyndra bankruptcy has ignited a firestorm in Washington, with Republicans alleging that the Obama administration missed a series of red flags that hinted at the company’s financial troubles as it worked to approve the $535 million stimulus-law loan guarantee.

“Congress and the American taxpayer have a right to know whether this loan guarantee was rushed out the door before it was ready for prime time, whether the administration doubled down on a bad bet after knowing of the company’s dubious commercial prospects or, even worse, whether $535 million taxpayer dollars were wasted on false or incomplete information,” Oversight and Investigations subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) said Friday.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle pummeled the Solyndra executives Friday for painting a rosy picture of the company’s finances during a July meeting in Washington with members of the committee.

“He looked me in the eye and assured me that everything was just fine and the company was on track to be cash-flow positive,” Stearns said.

“It was an airtight scheme that trumps the Bernie Madoff scheme,” Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) said to the executives. “It appears you knew the Titanic was sinking and you got to the lifeboat first.”

Less than two months after meeting with the panel, Solyndra announced that it would file for bankruptcy, suspend its solar panel manufacturing operations and lay off 1,100 workers.

“Solyndra has left taxpayers holding the bag for a $535 million loan guarantee and we still can’t get answers,” full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said.

Republicans on the committee, led by Upton and Stearns, have launched an investigation into the Solyndra loan guarantee, releasing a series of emails they say show that the White House tried to rush a final decision on the company’s financing so that Vice President Biden could publicly announce approval of the loan guarantee at the September 2009 groundbreaking for the company’s new factory.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has launched a separate investigation into federal loans, and several federal agencies, including the Justice Department, are also probing the Solyndra loan.

The Solyndra debacle has revived long-time Republican criticisms of the economic stimulus law, as well as the White House’s clean-energy agenda.

“We have concerns about the stimulus passed in 2009 and we have concerns now that it failed to create the jobs that were promised,” Upton said at the hearing.

The White House, for its part, has aggressively defended its clean-energy investments, denying any wrongdoing related to the Solyndra incident.

Administration officials have pointed to a series of letters sent by Republicans on the committee, including Upton, pressing for Energy Department loan guarantees in their home districts.

Upton defended the efforts of GOP lawmakers to push for loan guarantees in their states, arguing that the Republican investigation is not about the merits of clean-energy projects but the “use of taxpayer dollars on a company that was known to pose serious risks before a single dime went out the door.”

Democrats on the panel blasted Republicans Friday for cutting $100 million from the Energy Department’s loan guarantee program for advanced energy projects to offset the cost of emergency disaster aid in a stopgap spending measure that was approved by the House early Friday morning.

“That’s not an economic plan for the future, it’s a job-killing strategy that keeps us tied to our fossil fuel past,” Waxman said.

Still, even after the spectacle of Friday’s hearing, lawmakers said Friday that their investigation is far from over.

“Let me just warn you and the other folks involved in this taxpayer rip-off,” Upton told the executives. “We’re not done. No, we’re not.”


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: amendment; fifth; fraud; solyndra
The White House, for its part, has aggressively defended its clean-energy investments, denying any wrongdoing related to the Solyndra incident.

Put them on the stand.

1 posted on 09/24/2011 3:01:16 AM PDT by Libloather
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Libloather
Democrats on the panel criticized Republicans for peppering the executives with questions, arguing it was simply an effort to gain the attention of the press. “What we have instead heard today is a line of questions that seem designed to create catchy sound bites,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee. “I think it’s unseemly and inappropriate for members to be asking questions they know they will not answer.”

There are so many layers of mind-boggle in that quote I don't know what to say, except I don't recall Harry Waxman being so sensitivere to those testifying the last time oil company reps were being questioned.

2 posted on 09/24/2011 3:05:51 AM PDT by Darkwolf377 (undecided)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Libloather

waxman like many on the hill need jail time!


3 posted on 09/24/2011 3:12:26 AM PDT by ronnie raygun (V)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Libloather

Exactly, shoulda had the DOE guys involved at the same table. Ask a Solyndra guy a question then a DOE guy the same. They either would have been fighting to get their side of the story out or they would all look like the crooks they are.


4 posted on 09/24/2011 3:20:01 AM PDT by Feckless (I was trained by the US << This Tagline Censored by FR >> ain't that irOnic?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Libloather

If the government only performs those functions specifically enumerated in the Constitution, opportunities for this kind of corruption are severely limited.


5 posted on 09/24/2011 3:40:25 AM PDT by wolfpat (Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to be always a child. -- Cicero)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Libloather

I imagine the White House has informed the attorneys of the Solyndra execs to make sure those people keep their mouths shut or else.


6 posted on 09/24/2011 3:43:00 AM PDT by Right Wing Assault (Dick Obama is more inexperienced now than he was before he was elected.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Libloather
"I think it’s unseemly and inappropriate for members to be asking questions they know they will not answer."
Desperation time. He knows, as does everyone, that is standard practice. A pathetically weak response, but the only one available to him. This story is going to have legs for a long time.
7 posted on 09/24/2011 3:59:47 AM PDT by expat1000
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Darkwolf377
Funny, when Ken Lay of Enron appeared before Congress in February 2002, he also pleaded the 5th. I don't recall Democrats calling it unseemly *then* to pepper him with questions they knew in advance he wasn't going to answer.

In fact, here is a sampling of some of their comments at the time:

Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND): Mr. Lay’s attorneys have told us that he will invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and he certainly has that right. I must say I’m disappointed by that decision. I think Mr. Lay has a story to tell. We and the American people would like to hear that story.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR): I strongly support the constitutional protections afforded Mr. Lay and all witnesses, but respectfully submit that the question shouldn’t be what do the Enron executives have to gain by testifying, but rather it is what they owe the American people at this point.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA): Mr. Lay, my state was bled dry by price gouging. Many pension plans went under—I shouldn’t say went under—lost hundreds of millions of dollars because there was a limit on what they could put into Enron—I might say, a limit that I support in 401(k)s as well. And what you did to the employees was without conscience. That’s how I feel.

Senator Jean Carnahan (D-MO): Somehow, Enron got off course, and I’m sorry you have chosen not to help us uncover what went wrong, because in failure, there are always lessons to be learned. But despite your unwillingness to speak, I will continue to ask the question that I find so terribly haunting, a question that gets to those core values that define us as Americans; I want to know why no one in authority at Enron stood up and said, “This is wrong.”

Such disgusting hypocrites.

Mrs. Prince of Space

8 posted on 09/24/2011 4:05:37 AM PDT by Prince of Space ("...raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure." Sen. Obama, 3/16/06)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Darkwolf377

“I think it’s unseemly and inappropriate for members to be asking questions they know they will not answer.”

What I think is unseemly is a congressman publicly whore themselves out in such a blatant fashion that even a political neophyte would have their bs meter pegged, tuning in on this tripe. *snort*


9 posted on 09/24/2011 4:07:14 AM PDT by Flotsam_Jetsome (He's "Too Black to Fail")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Flotsam_Jetsome

you have to wonder what Waxman was up to as committee chairman before nov 2010 when the GOP took over on Solyndra. Maybe there is a story to tell there that Waxman is scared of coming out.


10 posted on 09/24/2011 4:17:14 AM PDT by sunmars
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Libloather

Somebody please make this into a political ad. Juxtaposing the Sun King’s hopeychangey Solyndra speech with, one year later, Soltndra officials taking the Fifth one after the other.


11 posted on 09/24/2011 4:26:55 AM PDT by denydenydeny (The moment you step into a world of facts, you step into a world of limits. --Chesterton)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Libloather
they invoked the 5th on advise of “their” attorneys or the “Obama” attorneys?
12 posted on 09/24/2011 5:09:06 AM PDT by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda" and its allies.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Libloather
Solyndra execs invoke Fifth Amendment more than a dozen times

But the "All News" radio station I listen to said nothing about it this morning. (Top story, I think, was that some blowhard said that Tea Party folks were racists.) In fact, thinking about it, I don't think I've every heard the word "Solyndra" on any of their broadcasts. (I listen at least every morning while I'm getting ready for a new day.)

ML/NJ

13 posted on 09/24/2011 5:34:36 AM PDT by ml/nj
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Libloather
the Obama administration missed a series of red flags that hinted at the company’s financial troubles as it worked to approve the $535 million stimulus-law loan guarantee. <<

Gee...U think http://www.google.com/imgres?q=red+flag+picture&hl=en&sa=X&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&tbnid=iWK0z3ScVtse6M:&imgrefurl=http://shitbaggery.blogspot.com/2010/12/waving-red-flag.html&docid=iSpN9uG4NK0QyM&w=300&h=244&ei=z899Tt7IGOfD0AHYkvXvDw&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=685&vpy=220&dur=78&hovh=195&hovw=240&tx=133&ty=113&page=8&tbnh=170&tbnw=205&start=69&ndsp=9&ved=1t:429,r:8,s:69&biw=1010&bih=559

14 posted on 09/24/2011 5:49:28 AM PDT by M-cubed
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Right Wing Assault
There's nothing conspiratorial about any of this, and there's no reason to even think the White House has any involvement at all. Any half-@ssed lawyer would advise his client to do exactly what these guys have done. That's why anyone who is put in this position asserts his rights under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and refuses to offer any testimony at all. The only way a person or government body with prosecutorial powers can compel such testimony in a case like this is to do so in exchange for immunity from criminal prosecution.
15 posted on 09/24/2011 5:59:46 AM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Right Wing Assault
I imagine the White House has informed the attorneys of the Solyndra execs to make sure those people keep their mouths shut or else.

--------------------------


16 posted on 09/24/2011 6:33:53 AM PDT by BobP (The piss-stream media - Never to be watched again in my house)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Libloather

Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that the current administration was bragging that they got the Soyndra loan guarentee going after tha application had been shelved by the previous administration?

Sheesh. You think the previous administration could see something in Solyndra that the present administration turned a blind eye on?


17 posted on 09/24/2011 6:36:22 AM PDT by CPOSharky (The only thing straight, white, Christian males get is the blame for everything.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Right Wing Assault

Paging DEEP THROAT !!!... Where is another DeepThroat when we need them, possible he/she is in the wings. Just a matter of how much $$$, perhaps.


18 posted on 09/24/2011 6:51:37 AM PDT by annieokie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Libloather

bump.


19 posted on 09/24/2011 9:41:10 AM PDT by ken21 (ruling class dem + rino progressives -- destroying america for 150 years.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Prince of Space
"Such disgusting hypocrites."

Disgusting hypocrites? Look into a mirror.

The article quotes several Congresscritters as posing questions they know won't be answered.

But then you quote Senator's STATEMENTS, not questions, to make your point.

I find you guilty of hypocrisy, albeit softened by good intent.

20 posted on 09/24/2011 10:02:03 AM PDT by diogenes ghost
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: diogenes ghost

Excuse me, but...duh! I was pointing out the Dems’ obvious hypocrisy when they claimed it was a dog and pony show....which it is....but that sure didn’t stop them from playing the same tricks in an effort to make Bush look bad. Hopefully, this clarifies my statement. Have a nice day....

Mrs. Prince of Space


21 posted on 09/24/2011 12:21:20 PM PDT by Prince of Space ("...raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure." Sen. Obama, 3/16/06)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson