Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee pressed the White House Thursday to fully comply with a subpoena for all internal communications related to the $535 million Solyndra loan guarantee.
“[Y]ou have simply ‘cherry-picked’ a small number of documents for production,” top Republicans on the committee said in a letter to White House chief counsel Kathryn Ruemmler Thursday. “The committee needs to see all the relevant documents in order to conduct a thorough investigation of the loss of over half a billion dollars of the taxpayer’s money.”
Ruemmler, in a series of letters to the committee in recent weeks, said the committee’s subpoena, which was approved in a party-line vote without Democratic support, was overly broad. Complying with the subpoena would require a massive commitment of time and resources, she said.
But Republicans on the committee, who have uncovered more than 185,000 pages of documents from the administration during the course of their multi-month investigation, said Thursday they believe the White House has yet to provide key Solyndra documents.
Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee, said Ruemmler should not have narrowed the scope of their request.
“First, the recipient of a duly authorized subpoena from the Congress of the United States cannot simply redefine the scope of the subpoena,” the lawmakers said in the letter.
“Second, the language you utilized to redefine the Committee’s documents request carefully excludes documents in your possession which are relevant to the Committee’s inquiry and responsive to the subpoena.”
Upton and Stearns said they believe the White House has more documents related to the involvement of key officials in the loan guarantee and the decision to restructure the loan in February.
The White House said Thursday it would review the letter.
“White House counsel is reviewing today’s letter but we are entering month ten of this investigation and everything disclosed in the 185,000 pages of documents, nine committee staff briefings, five Congressional hearings, emails from Solyndra investors, and Committee interview with George Kaiser, affirms what we said on day one: this was a merit based decision made by the Department of Energy,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement.
In a separate letter Thursday to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Upton and Stearns said they “are concerned that the Committee has not yet received all of your communications and documents relating to Solyndra.”
Energy Department officials allowed committee staff to review Chu’s internal emails on Solyndra before he testified in front of the investigative panel Nov. 17.
Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in September about two years after receiving a $535 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration. The bankruptcy set off a firestorm in Washington, with Republicans raising questions about President Obama's green-energy agenda and alleging that the administration approved the loan to please campaign donors.
The White House strongly denies the allegations of political favoritism. The committee's investigation has not uncovered evidence that the approval of the loan guarantee was issued for political reasons.