Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations have renewed their request for all internal White House communications relating to failed solar company Solyndra, including President Obama’s e-mails and BlackBerry messages.
This is the second time Republicans have requested such information. The White House rejected a previous request last week, arguing that the administration has already produced enough documents to “satisfy the Committee’s stated objective.”
“Your most recent request for internal White House communications from the first day of the current Administration to the present implicates longstanding and institutional Executive Branch confidentiality interests,” wrote White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler in a letter to Reps. Fred Upton (R., Mich.), the full committee chair, and Cliff Stearns (R., Fla.), chairman of the subcommittee.
Upton and Stearns wrote back today to reject the White House argument that their objective had been satisfied. Agencies like the DOE, OMB and the Treasury Department have provided a substantial number of documents, they said, and the White House ought to do the same. “The fact that other agencies are in the process of attempting to comply with our request for documents does not excuse the White House from producing its own responsive documents,” the chairmen wrote.
Upton and Stearns are seeking clarification on the involvement of senior White House officials during the review and approval process for Solyndra’s $535 million loan guarantee, as well as the extent to which the White House was warned about the company’s viability. The committee has already uncovered evidence strongly suggesting that White House officials pressured other agencies to swiftly approve the loan guarantee in time for a press event featuring Vice President Biden.
Meanwhile, the subcommittee continues to hold hearings on the Solyndra scandal, and the questions keep piling up.