Kathryn Ruemmler, White
House: Solyndra Subpoena Driven By Partisan Politics
November 7, 2011
White House is rebuffing a subpoena from House Republicans seeking
documents on the solar panel company, Solyndra, which received a
half-a-billion-dollar federal loan guarantee then went bankrupt.
White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler responded Friday to two Republicans
on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, one day after the
subpoena was authorized on a party-line vote.
In her correspondence, Ruemmler said the request was driven more by
partisan politics than a legitimate effort to conduct a responsible
investigation. She described the scope of the investigation as
“burdensome and intrusive,” saying it encroached on longstanding and
important Executive Branch confidentiality interests.
said none of the more than 85,000 pages of documents produced to date
evidences any favoritism to political supporters or wrongdoing by the
She did say officials remain willing to work with the committee to
accommodate its legitimate oversight interests in a balanced manner. The
letter was written to Fred Upton, the committee chairman, and Cliff
Stearns. In response, Upton said the request for the communications was
reasonable and would help answer questions about the failed loan.
Last week, the White House ordered an independent review of U.S. Energy
Department loans in the wake of the Solyndra issue. Officials say a
former Treasury Department official, Herb Allison, will lead the 60-day
Solyndra received the loan in
2009. In July, top executives testified to Congress that the company was
prospering. But a few weeks later, the California-based company laid off
more than 1,000 workers and filed for bankruptcy. The firm said it could
not cut costs fast enough to keep up with Chinese solar panel makers.
One lawmaker compared the lost loan funding to a train robbery.
The case has been embarrassing for the Obama administration, which has
held up the company as an example of desirable “green” technology and
Republicans have questioned whether Solyndra received the loans unfairly
because one of its key investors was also a major donor to the 2008
Obama presidential campaign.