House Republicans plan White House subpoena over solar loan guarantee

But OMB says it is trying to work cooperatively with the subcommittee to provide information it is looking for, and has already provided substantial amounts of documents.

In a letter to Stearns Tuesday, OMB Deputy General Counsel William Richardson, Jr. notes that OMB "made available" 1,400 pages of emails and attachments this week, which follows hundreds of other pages made available earlier.

Republicans, however, want to be able to take possession of these documents rather than simply viewing them.

In 2009 Solyndra received an Energy Department loan guarantee to support construction of a new manufacturing plant, the first company selected under the loan guarantee program authorized in a 2005 energy law that received backing in the big 2009 stimulus law.

President Obama toured the company in May of 2010 to tout White House efforts to jumpstart domestic green energy industries.

But Solyndra subsequently canceled a planned initial public offering as U.S. solar companies faced stiff Chinese competition, and later closed down an existing factory, prompting questions about whether the loan program was properly vetting recipients.

Solyndra, however, has noted that the newer plant built with federal assistance is more efficient and cost effective than the old plant. 

Greenwire reported in April that the head of the Energy Department’s loan guarantee office called the Solyndra aid “completely appropriate,” and that “Things have not gone wildly awry, though they have somehow been reported that way.”

More recently Time magazine’s Michael Grunwald, an expert on the stimulus, visited the company in late June and reported its outlook is now healthier, writing, “I can report to the Republicans who seemed so concerned about the company’s viability that it no longer seems to be on the verge of a humiliating collapse.”

But Upton and Stearns said their efforts to check up on the White House oversight of the loan guarantee program have been rebuffed over several months.

“We now have no choice but to pursue a subpoena so that we can move forward with our investigation and ensure the public’s best interests are protected,” they said.

This post was updated at 1:15 p.m.

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