House Republicans on Friday called on the Justice Department to intervene in the ongoing fight over the Obama administration’s $535 million loan guarantee to failed solar firm Solyndra.
The GOP lawmakers pressed Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderOregon legislature on the brink as Democrats push gerrymandered maps Christie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group Democrats look to state courts as redistricting battle heats up MORE to invalidate a 2011 Energy Department restructuring agreement that ensured private investors who agreed to inject more capitol into Solyndra would be repaid ahead of the taxpayer if the company collapsed.
Republicans have blasted the Energy Department for “subordinating” the taxpayers’ interest in the agreement, arguing that it violates the terms of a 2005 energy law that established the Energy Department loan guarantee program.
“It is our belief that the subordination of the taxpayer’s interests was illegal,” the 24 Republican lawmakers wrote in a letter to Holder. “In order for the Department of Justice to protect the taxpayer and intervene on their behalf, we hereby call on the Department of Justice to take whatever measures necessary to vitiate the loan subordination and protect the taxpayers’ interests.”
The Energy Department has defended its decision to restructure the loan agreement in February 2011, when Solyndra was struggling financially, arguing the move offered the best chance for the company to avoid bankruptcy.
The department released a memo authored by Energy Department Loan Programs Office Chief Counsel Susan Richardson in October that justifies the restructuring, insisting that it did not violate the law.
Republicans intend to continue probing the restructuring agreement in the coming weeks. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), who is heading up the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Solyndra investigation, said Friday he hopes to hold more hearings on the issue.
Stearns, the chairman of the committee’s investigative panel, signed Friday’s letter. Other signatories include Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), who organized the letter, and Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas).