By Silvio Marcacci, energyNow!
Controversy surrounding solar panel manufacturer Solyndra’s recent bankruptcy filing just won’t go away, and could imperil the White House. The company’s federal stimulus loans are at the center of a widening investigation into clean-energy technology funding by House Republicans, and may lead to subpoenas of White House records.
U.S. Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL), chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, recently told energyNOW! that he may expand the initial investigation into loan guarantees Solyndra received from the U.S. Department of Energy to cover other clean energy companies. “We’re trying to understand how this stimulus package of $60 billion dollars is going to work,” said Stearns. “Is most of the money going to companies like Solyndra, or is it actually going into companies that will succeed in manufacturing and create jobs for this country?”
The House Energy Committee has already subpoenaed the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and Department of Energy for documents related to the Solyndra loan guarantee but is expanding its’ search to the White House. “I think the President would find it in his best interest to cooperate and give us all the information so it does not appear to be a politically oriented decision,” said Stearns. He also said the committee would issue subpoenas for documents related to the decision if President Obama blocks the request through executive privilege.
Even though many industry analysts have said the bankruptcy filing news is a byproduct of market forces, and Solyndra an acceptable contender for federal funding, Stearns feels the funding had political undertones. “It looks like the people involved in this were tied politically to the White House,” he said.
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