GOP weighs contempt charges against White House on Solyndra

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), who is heading the GOP probe of the failed solar company Solyndra, said Republicans are meeting this week to discuss contempt charges against the White House over its response to last year’s subpoena for documents.

“We are meeting this week to look at a very serious charge, which would be contempt of Congress, because they are slow walking,” Stearns said on the Fox Business Network Monday, according to a transcript. Stearns leads the investigations panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

ADVERTISEMENT
Republicans allege the White House has not provided enough internal documents to satisfy the GOP probe of Solyndra, the California solar panel manufacturer that received a $535 million Energy Department loan guarantee in 2009 and went bankrupt last year.

White House officials say they have been responsive to the subpoena that Energy Committee Republicans issued in November, as well as earlier document requests. More on that here.

Stearns, in the Fox segment, also took aim at David Axelrod, President Obama’s senior campaign strategist.

Axelrod on Sunday compared GOP White House front-runner Mitt Romney's work as CEO of private equity firm Bain Capital unfavorably to federal investments in green energy companies.

"Leveraged buyouts of the sort that Gov. Romney profited off of are quite different," Axelrod said on NBC’s "Meet the Press."

“Where you buy a company, load it down with debt, strip it down, let it go bankrupt and then make money off of fees on the bankruptcy, that's quite different. That's a different approach,” he said.

Stearns challenged Axelrod’s comments.

“[I]t is hard to believe that Mr. Axelrod would make the comparison because of course taxpayers' money were at risk in Solyndra, and private investment was at risk at Bain venture equity firm. So the difference is night and day because private people put up their capital. It's not taxpayer money. That is the fundamental difference,” Stearns said, according to a transcript.

He accused Axelrod of trying to “demagogue” the matter.