Published December 22, 2015
Just a few days before the 2010 mid-term elections, the White House knew that things were going very badly for taxpayer-backed solar-panel firm Solyndra, newly released internal emails show.
The emails, part of a document dump late Friday, showed a White House aide wrote on Oct. 27, 2010, to the then-director of energy and climate change policy.
"Here's the deal -- Solyndra is going to announce they are laying off 200 of their 1200 workers. No es bueno," aide Heather Zichal wrote.
Though the news was kept quiet, the emails do not show evidence that the White House tried to delay the announcement for political reasons.
The emails, which were handed over to Republican congressional investigators, continued to paint a picture of what was going on behind the scenes in the months leading to Solyndra's collapse.
The company filed for bankruptcy in September 2011, triggering the congressional probes into why nearly $530 million was loaned to the company which exhibited problems early on.
The White House, in its letter to Republicans, continued to complain that the scope of the GOP probe is too wide, in explaining why some documents have not been turned over. The White House claimed the documents released Friday show that while the White House knew of the looming layoffs, "there is no indication" that the White House was involved in Solyndra's decision to delay the announcement.
But two top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in response, continued to suggest political meddling was involved.
"The sad truth is the Solyndra loan was tainted by stimulus politics from the outset, being rushed out the door over the protests of the administration's top experts, layoffs delayed until after the 2010 elections, and an indefensible loan restructuring, all of which has left taxpayers on the hook for half a billion dollars," said Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., chairman of the investigations subcommittee.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told Fox News that administration officials seemed "more concerned" that news about the Solyndra layoffs would come out before the midterms than they were about "whether or not their plan to finance companies like this, even if they weren't viable, was a good one or not."
In a letter to the energy committee, the White House counsel denied the claims.
"There is no support for the allegations of political favoritism and improper White House interference that were the initial focus of the Committee's concerns," wrote Kathryn Ruemmler, counsel to the president, and Cynthia Hogan, counsel to the vice president.
Fox News' Peter Doocy contributed to this report.