Skip to comments.House GOP: Energy isn't fully cooperating on Solyndra probe
Posted on 10/20/2011 2:40:27 PM PDT by Libloather
House GOP: Energy isn't fully cooperating on Solyndra probe
By Andrew Restuccia - 10/20/11 02:57 PM ET
Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee said Thursday that the Energy Department is not fully cooperating with its investigation of the $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra, the now-bankrupt California solar firm.
In a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu Thursday, top Republicans said the department has declined to allow key officials to sit for recorded interviews under oath with committee staff.
Republicans are hoping to question Susan Richardson, chief counsel of the Energy Departments Loan Programs Office, who wrote a memo arguing that it was legal to restructure the loan in February so that investors who provided additional funding to Solyndra would be repaid before the federal government if the company folded.
[W]e had hoped the DOE would allow Ms. Richardson to appear voluntarily and answer the Committees questions during an in-depth, transcribed interview, the letter from committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Oversight and Investigations subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) said.
While the documents provide some information about the DOEs decision on subordination, the Committee has many unanswered questions concerning its creation.
The letter says that DOE has nonetheless agreed to have Richardson and other DOE officials testify at an upcoming hearing on the Solyndra restructuring agreement.
We are therefore puzzled as to why DOE refuses to make her available for a transcribed interview on the same matters, and ask you to reconsider your position, the Republican lawmakers said in the letter.
A DOE spokesman said Thursday that the department is fully cooperating with the investigation.
We have consistently demonstrated our commitment to cooperating with the Committees investigation," Energy Department spokesman Damien LaVera said in a statement.
LaVera said the department has offered to have Richardson brief committee staff. He also said that Richarson has already briefed the staff four times.
"We also offered to work with them to make the appropriate legal staff from the Department available to testify under oath before the Committee if needed after the briefing," he said.
He added that the department is working to ensure that Chu appears before the committee at an upcoming hearing. Energy Department officials informed committee staff that the Energy secretary is available to testify on Nov 1 or Nov. 2.
Thursday's letter marks the second time this week that Republicans have accused the Obama administration of not fully cooperating with its investigation. Upton and Stearns sent a letter Tuesday blasting the White House for denying a request for all communications related to Solyndra.
But the White House countered that the administration has already provided more than 70,000 pages of documents to Republican lawmakers that should satisfy the committees stated objective.
Republicans on the panel have zeroed in on the February restructuring, arguing that the Energy Department violated the 2005 energy law that created the loan program when it subordinated the taxpayers' interest to those of private investors. GOP Lawmakers have unearthed a series of emails in which Treasury and White House Office of Management and Budget officials raise concerns about the restructuring.
But the Energy Department insists that it did not violate the 2005 energy law in restructuring the loan. The department says the move was aimed at protecting the federal investment by giving the struggling the best chance to stay afloat.
Republicans have alleged that politics played a role in the approval of the loan guarantee and the decision to restructure the agreement in February.
The White House strongly denies those allegations.
The investigation has not uncovered evidence of political favoritism. But emails show that the White House pressed administration officials to make a swift decision on helping Solyndra. They also show that there was disagreement within the administration on the wisdom of approving the loan guarantee.
Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in early September shortly after laying off 1,100 workers and suspending its solar panel manufacturing operations. The collapse came about two years after the Obama administration approved a $535 million loan guarantee for the company.
issue more subpoenas. The cards aren’t stacked high enough yet
Stop funding them.
Call George Kasier an watch him act like a Mafia Don.
Did they really expect anyone connected to 0’s underhandedness to cooperate? They must protect their Messiah at all cost.
gee.. that was... unexpected.
I wonder if the GOP will draw a line in the sand, followed by a strongly worded letter? They will then back completely away, and let the Rats off the hook, AGAIN. It's business as usual.
Defund them until they comply (and maybe even forever)!
Totally defund them.
Chu is a politically naive ivory tower academic who knows nothing about the real world. He’s apparently swallowed Gore’s bull$hit uncritically.
On Drudge now
ABCNEWS to break another SOLYDRA-like story, sources tell DRUDGE Developing