Rep. Joe Barton (R-Ennis/Arlington) gave the following statement at Thursday's business meeting of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. They passed a resolution to authorize the issuance of two subpoenas by the Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce to the White House and the Office of the Vice President for documents relating to the Department of Energy loan guarantee to Solyndra, Inc.
"Thank you Mr. Chairman. We are here today to vote to issue subpoenas to the Obama White House because that is where the facts of this investigation have lead us. In January of 2009 the Bush Administration recommended against the loan guarantee to Solyndra, and two months later, after President Obama took control of the White House and the Executive Agencies, the loan to Solyndra was approved. We want to know what happened at the White House and at the Department of Energy (DOE) during those two months and we need the documents from the White House to get the facts.
"This Committee has been investigating the Department of Energy loan guarantee program and the specifics of the Solyndra guarantee since February of this year. For the White House to now claim that they have not had enough time to look into the documents originating from or sent to the White House regarding Solyndra is just not true.
"The truth is that after reviewing the documents that we now have, many of which were only given to this Committee due to a subpoena that we issued, that not one Democrat voted for, in July to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), this Committee has discovered some of the mischievous dealings by Solyndra executives, DOE representatives, personnel at the Office of Management and Budget, and staff at the White House itself. The facts illustrate that Solyndra was a bad bet, a bad deal, and now a failed enterprise financed on the backs of honest taxpayers who will not be repaid.
"I support Chairman Upton and Chairman Stearns continued investigation into the Solyndra scandal and so do the American people. Over 500 million dollars of taxpayer money went to Solyndra and that is lot of incentive to get to the bottom of this sink hole and figure out exactly what was going on at the White House, at DOE, and what communications Administration officials had with Solyndra Executives and investors.
"We know that former executives and other investors of Solyndra met frequently with the White House. We know that DOE ignored the law when restructuring the loan to Solyndra to repay company investors and Obama donors first before hard working taxpayers. Evidence has surfaced that indicates that DOE and the Administration ignored numerous warnings regarding the financial viability of Solyndra and in fact should never have made the loan in the first place. This Committee will continue its investigation until we discover exactly why and who at the Administration and DOE were determined to get this deal done.
"I want to remind my friends on the other side of the aisle that they had the opportunity to vote with us in July and join our investigation into the Solyndra scandal then and they declined. I urge them now to vote with us today and join our investigation into the DOE loan guarantee program.
"The White House Counsel met with Committee staff yesterday for the first time after several requests for meetings, briefings and documents over the past month. I know my Democrat friends would like us to believe that now the White House and the Administration will be cooperative and that a subpoena is unnecessary. I disagree. What has this Administration done to date that demonstrates that they are willing to be voluntarily cooperative? It took a subpoena to get documents from OMB. The DOE documents that were requested over 6 months ago continue to trickle in the Committee just received a dump last night. The White House refuses to let the Committee know if they have responsive documents or not. And President Obama himself is still claiming that Solyndra was a good bet that just didn't work out.
"Congress is an equal and independent branch of government and it is part of our job to conduct stringent oversight of the Executive branch. This Committee will do what is necessary to get the facts and protect the taxpayers from any waste, fraud, and abuse even if that means we subpoena the White House.
"I will be a yes vote today and I want to remind the current Subcommittee Ranking Chairwoman, former Chairman Waxman, and Chairman Emeritus Dingell that they have the chance to vote yes with us."