Published November 11, 2011
The White House has turned over several dozen pages of documents pertaining to the controversial Solyndra loan guarantee, in a bid to comply with a Republican-authorized subpoena that the administration earlier criticized as politically motivated.
After missing the Thursday deadline Republicans had set, the White House on Friday released emails dating back to 2009 regarding the $535 million taxpayer guarantee to the solar-panel firm that later filed for bankruptcy, in September. Fox News obtained the documents from a government source.
In a letter to House Republican lawmakers, White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler maintained the documents “do not contain evidence of favoritism to political supporters or any wrongdoing by the White House in connection with the Solyndra loan guarantee.”
Ruemmler continued to criticize the GOP-issued subpoena as “overbroad and overreaching.”
The White House earlier had pressed Republicans to narrow down their request, after they demanded from the White House documents “referring or relating in any way” to the Solyndra deal.
Ruemmler said the White House was, “in the short time available to us,” able to pull together certain emails, but it excluded such documents as correspondence with other agencies and correspondence with the media.
“It’s a start,” a House GOP aide told Fox about Friday’s White House release of documents. The aide signaled that House Republicans are willing to negotiate with the White House on whether some documents are reviewed “in camera” as mentioned below.
But the House GOP aide also made clear Republicans still want more documents produced.
“It’s clear – they say it in the letter – there’s more,” the aide said, and the committee wants to see the documents.
A series of emails provided earlier this week to the House Energy and Commerce Committee from individuals tied to Solyndra offer striking characterizations about running strategy with the White House to secure assistance for the now-bankrupt solar energy firm.
Emails among George Kaiser, head of the George Kaiser Family Foundation; Ken Levit, the executive director of the Foundation; and Steve Mitchell, who manages Argonaut Private Equity and was a member of Solyndra's board; show that Vice President Joe Biden's office were very gung-ho.
"They about had an orgasm in Biden's office when we mentioned Solyndra," reads a Feb. 27, 2010, email from Levit to Mitchell. A follow-up email from Mitchell to Levit later that day responds with: "That's awesome! Get us a (Department of Energy) loan."
According to exchanges obtained by Fox News, in an email from Mitchell to Kaiser on March 5, 2010, Mitchell writes that "it appears things are headed in the right direction and (Energy Secretary Steven) Chu is apparently staying involved in Solyndra's application and continues to talk up the company as a success story."
In a Feb. 27, 2010, message from Levit to a party whose name has been redacted, Levit writes that there was a meeting with a group of people in "Biden's office -- they seemed to love our Brady Project -- also all big fans of Solyndra."
In an email from Mitchell to Kaiser on March 5, 2010, Mitchell writes that "it appears things are headed in the right direction and Chu is apparently staying involved in Solyndra's application and continues to talk up the company as a success story."
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said the document dump from the House Energy and Commerce Committee offers only "cherry-picked" emails.
"Even the documents cherry-picked by House Republicans today affirm what we have said all along: this loan was a decision made on the merits at the Department of Energy. Nothing in the 85,000 pages of documents produced thus far by the administration or in these four indicate any favoritism to political supporters. We wish that House Republicans were as zealous about creating jobs as they were about this oversight investigation," he said.