House GOP looks to subpoena White House officials over Solyndra

A House subcommittee will vote Friday on whether to issue a subpoena compelling White House officials to testify on the $535 million loan guarantee to failed solar panel firm Solyndra.

The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations announced the vote Wednesday. The subcommittee will consider a resolution authorizing subpoenas to two White House and three White House Office of Management and Budget officials.

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Friday’s vote marks the one-year anniversary of the Republican investigation into the Solyndra loan guarantee. The probe began before the California-based solar panel maker filed for bankruptcy and laid off 1,100 workers in September.

“The level of White House obstruction goes so far that they have blocked the committee from having a simple conversation with those executive branch employees who know the most about Solyndra’s loan guarantee,” committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and investigative subcommittee chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) said in a news release.

The GOP lawmakers sent a letter to the White House’s top lawyers last week warning of the possibility of issuing the subpoenas if the officials are not made available to the committee for interviews. The letter gives the White House until Feb. 17 to agree to the meetings.


The officials include Kevin Carroll, energy branch chief at OMB; Kelly Colyar, branch chief at OMB; Fouad Saad, program examiner at OMB; Heather Zichal, deputy assistant to the president for energy and climate change; and Aditya Kumar, deputy assistant to the vice president and senior adviser to former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Republicans have already issued two subpoenas during the months-long Solyndra investigation. The subcommittee voted last July to subpoena OMB for documents related to the 2009 Solyndra loan guarantee. GOP lawmakers then voted in November to subpoena the White House for all its Solyndra communications.

Republicans have alleged that the White House has not been responsive enough to the November subpoena. They threatened last week to pursue contempt charges against the White House if officials do not provide additional Solyndra documents by Feb. 21.

The White House turned over 313 pages of internal emails earlier this month in response to the subpoena.

The emails added to the 200 pages of documents the White House previously provided the panel in response to the subpoena, as well as more than 1,000 pages sent before the subpoena was issued.

Federal agencies, including the Energy Department and OMB, have separately sent the committee more than 180,000 pages of documents.

Republicans have alleged that politics influenced the administration’s decision to issue the Solyndra loan guarantee, but the investigation has not uncovered evidence to support that claim. The probe has, however, uncovered details that are likely uncomfortable for the White House, including that administration officials questioned the wisdom of issuing the loan guarantee.