Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Chairman Emeritus and senior Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, submitted for the record the following opening statement Friday at Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing entitled "Continuing Developments Regarding the Solyndra Loan Guarantee."
"When Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that included the Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Program, I can assure you, we never thought we would be sitting here investigating the very first company to receive one of these loans. Solyndra, a company that has suspicious ties to the White House, has now closed its doors, filed for bankruptcy, burned through over 500 million dollars of taxpayer money and its top executives refuse to answer our questions.
"Today, our investigation into the Department of Energy's (DOE) loan to Solyndra focuses on particular pieces of the law. The law was written to ensure that loans from DOE to private companies are structured so that the taxpayers are paid back first in the event of a default. The Solyndra deal was restructured so that the taxpayers were subordinate to private investors--the same private investors who contributed to the current Administration. Let me put this in plain English. This Administration placed Obama's campaign donors at the front of the repayment line. A move that if not illegal, is certainly questionable.
"The law was written to ensure that DOE consult with the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Justice when even considering restructuring a loan. DOE failed to effectively communicate with the Treasury Department and, as far as we can tell, never communicated with DOJ regarding restructuring Solyndra's loan.
"Not only did DOE blatantly ignore the law when restructuring the loan to Solyndra, evidence has surfaced that indicates that DOE and the Administration ignored numerous warnings regarding the financial viability of Solyndra and in fact should never had made the loan in the first place. Simply stated, this loan stinks. It stinks badly enough that this Committee will continue its investigation until we discover exactly why and who at DOE and the Administration were determined to get this deal done."