After ripping President Obama for allegedly picking "winners and losers" with federal stimulus money, Rep. Darrel Issa, R-Calif., now finds himself on the defensive after it was revealed he too has been trying to steer federal money for green jobs in his own home district.
Letters obtained by Fox News show that in 2010, Issa pressed Energy Secretary Steven Chu to back a federal loan for an electric-car maker based in Carlsbad, California.
"Awarding this opportunity to Aptera Moters will greatly assist a leading developer of electric vehicles in my district," Issa wrote in a Jan. 14, 2010 letter to Chu, which was first reported by Bloomberg News. The letters were revealed after Issa said in an C-SPAN interview that in cases like Solyndra and Lightsquared, the Obama administration has used a "dangerous" approach.
"There's been this attitude that somehow government can weigh in with loan guarantees and money and pick ... winners and losers," said Issa, who has been aggressive about investigating the White House from his perch as chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the top Democrat on that panel, said Thursday it is stunning that Issa would publicly bash Energy Department loan programs after pushing for his own share of the federal pie.
"Mr. Chairman, in terms of this loan program, it seems like you were for it before you were against it," Cummings said at a committee hearing that Issa convened on Thursday to scrutinize whether green jobs have panned out the way the Obama administration has promised.
"They can't have it both ways -- either they are for green energy jobs or they are not," Cummings said of Republicans. "It seems hypocritical to write letters in support of the program one day and then criticize it the next. The truth is the program works, which is why they want the money for their districts."
A spokesman for Issa responded to the criticism by saying, "Creating jobs in all sectors is a priority Chairman Issa and President Obama share-but they differ significantly on how to achieve it. Chairman Issa supports an all-of-the-above policy: creating jobs in green businesses as well as in other traditional sectors like energy production, manufacturing and small businesses. President Obama, has focused on promoting green jobs even at the expense of jobs in other sectors through special deals like Solyndra."
Solyndra, a California-based solar panel manufacturer, received a $535 million loan from the Obama administration in 2010 but recently filed for bankruptcy. The move resulted in 1,100 employees losing their jobs, and the FBI has since raided the company amid a federal probe.
Two company executives, Brian Harrison and W. G. Stover, are scheduled to testify before another House committee on Friday. But the two men have signaled they will invoke their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, drawing the ire of top Republicans.
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., has noted that the company's counsel had initially said the executives would testify voluntarily, but he vowed Thursday that "their failure to testify will not deter this investigation."
Ed Henry currently serves as Fox News Channel's (FNC) chief White House correspondent. He joined the network in June 2011. His latest book is "42 Faith: The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story."