White House rebuffs subpoena on failed solar firm
Associated Press (AP) — The White House on Friday strongly rebuffed a subpoena from House Republicans seeking all communications about a failed solar panel manufacturer that received a half-billion dollar federal loan guarantee.
In a letter to two top Republicans on the House energy panel, White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler said the request "was driven more by partisan politics than a legitimate effort to conduct a responsible investigation."
The White House and the Energy Department have already turned over 85,000 pages of documents on Solyndra Inc. The California-based company filed for bankruptcy and laid off 1,100 workers after receiving $528 million in federal backing.
Ruemmler said those documents show no wrongdoing or political favoritism by the administration. She added that curiosity alone is not a justification to encroach on the Executive Branch's longstanding confidentiality interests.
House Republicans have used Solyndra to highlight what they see as President Barack Obama's failure to create clean energy jobs. The company was the first to receive a federal loan guarantee under the 2009 stimulus law, which greatly expanded the program. Obama visited the company last year to praise it publicly.
Documents already obtained by the committee show that the administration knew the firm had problems, yet continued to support it.
On Thursday, a subcommittee of the energy panel voted on party lines to issue the subpoena, calling the White House "obstructionist."
House Energy and Commerce chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said in a statement issued Friday that he was disappointed that the White House and House Democrats were continuing to put up "partisan roadblocks to hide the truth from taxpayers," when, he said, the investigation so far has shown that the GOP is on the right track.
"Solyndra was a jobs program gone bad, and we must learn the lesson of Solyndra as we work to turn our economy around and put folks back to work," he said.
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