A House panel is voting today on a resolution to subpoena thousands of White House documents related to the half-a-billion-dollar federal loan guarantee to the now-bankrupt solar company Solyndra. The House Energy and and Commerce Committee and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee have made multiple requests in an ongoing effort to negotiate the documents' production without a subpoena, but the White House has kept the lid sealed on the investigation, forcing the committee's hand. Some of the documents the committee already has reveal that the President's closest advisers were involved in the decisions surrounding Solyndra, making their refusal to hand over the documents seem even more damning.
The statement from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI):
“Sadly, despite our outreach, the White House still refuses to turn over internal Solyndra-related communications. We have exercised extraordinary restraint and patience these last eight months in the face of an administration that has fought our efforts to protect taxpayers every step of the way. Our document requests have been reasonable, yet the stalling tactics from the Obama administration have been prodigious. Document productions from OMB and DOE still remain unfulfilled to this day, and we are disappointed to see the same delay and diversion strategies being employed in response to our request for internal White House documents. We will continue to seek cooperation from the White House as our thoughtful and deliberate investigation continues and we remain committed to uncovering the truth in our effort to protect American taxpayers.”
Ouch. The White House continued to praise Solyndra as an exemplar of green energy and future technology even after they knew the company was having massive financial problems, and the Republican leadership of this committee isn't going to let this one slide. Updates to follow.
Update: The committee just voted 14-9 along partisan lines in favor of issuing a subpoena to the White House to obtain the Solyndra documents. Will the most transparent administration ever comply? White House reps had some testy words for the Republican-led panel:
Democrats argued the resolution was too broad and gave the committee chairman too much power. But Republicans said a subpoena was necessary because the White House has denied or delayed requests for thousands of documents related to Solyndra.
The White House immediately slammed the vote, saying it has "cooperated extensively with the committee's investigation by producing over 85,000 pages of documents, including 20,000 pages produced just yesterday afternoon."
"And all of the materials that have been disclosed affirm what we said on Day One: this was a merit based decision made by the Department of Energy," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.
"We'd like to see as much passion in House Republicans for creating jobs as we see in this investigation," he said. "We are disappointed that the committee has refused to discuss their requests with us in good faith, and has instead chosen a partisan route, proceeding with subpoenas that are unprecedented and unwarranted."
Actually, White House, since the administration's politicized decision-making resulted in millions of wasted taxpayer dollars and the loss of over one thousand supposedly 'green' jobs, not to mention the associated opportunity costs, the investigation is well worth the effort.
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