White House turns over 432 pages of documents in Solyndra inquiry

Posted at 11:58 AM, Mar 24, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-24 11:06:14-04
By Michael Martinez and Adam Aigner-Treworgy, CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Obama administration turned over 432 pages of e-mail communications and other documents Friday to congressional Republicans investigating the collapse of the solar energy firm Solyndra, the White House said.

The hard-copy and electronic documents include e-mail communications from the offices of the president and vice president, the White House said in a letter to Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan and Cliff Stearns of Florida.

“These documents, like the over 187,000 pages previously provided by Executive Branch agencies, demonstrate what we have said throughout the course of this investigation: decisions on the Solyndra loan guarantee were made on the merits by the Department of Energy,” wrote Kathryn H. Ruemmler and Cynthia C. Hogan, counsels to the president and vice president, respectively.

“None of the documents support the committee’s allegations about favoritism to campaign contributors or improper White House involvement in the decision-making process,” the counsels wrote.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Upton, and its investigating subcommittee, chaired by Stearns, are investigating the failure of Solyndra, which received an Energy Department loan in 2010.

Solyndra used the loan to build a factory in Fremont, California, that produced state-of-the-art solar panels. President Barack Obama touted the company in a widely publicized visit after the loan guarantee came through.

But Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in August and closed its doors, putting more than 1,000 people out of work, after it received $535 million in loan guarantees.

The bankruptcy leaves the federal government unlikely to get the loan money back.

The House panel is looking into whether a key Solyndra investor and Obama fundraiser, George Kaiser, received preferential treatment in the loan guarantees approved by the Department of Energy.