Source: White House will not turn over all Solyndra documents
October 14th, 2011
09:18 PM ET

Source: White House will not turn over all Solyndra documents

The White House will not comply with requests to turn over documents related to the bankrupt solar company Solyndra, which received a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government, CNN learned Friday.

A government source provided a letter that White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler sent to House Energy and Commerce chair Rep. Fred Upton and subcommittee chair Rep. Cliff Stearns Friday afternoon responding to their request for internal White House communications related to the Solyndra loan guarantee.

Solyndra is a California solar panel manufacturer that had received $535 million in federal loan guarantees before it was forced to halt operations and file for bankruptcy at the end of August, putting more than 1,000 workers out of work.

Before its failure, the company had been touted as an example of the benefits of creating green jobs by the Obama administration. But since then, it has become the center of congressional criticism and a probe by the FBI.

Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison resigned Wednesday.

Citing precedent, the president's legal counsel is refusing to hand over all internal White House communications related to the energy firm, including President Obama's Blackberry messages, arguing that the president needs to protect open counsel from advisers and staff.

In part, the letter obtained by CNN says the request "implicates longstanding and significant institutional Executive Branch confidentiality interests. Encroaching upon these important interests is not necessary, however, because the agency documents the Committee has requested, which include communications with the White House, should satisfy the Committee's stated objective – to 'understand the involvement of the White House in the review of the Solyndra loan guarantee and the Administration's support of this guarantee.'"

The letter notes the administration in total has turned over 70,000 pages of documents from the Department of Energy, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Department of the Treasury, and over 900 pages from the White House itself. The letter also says the White House will continue to cooperate with the investigation.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Politics • Solyndra
soundoff (190 Responses)
  1. jordan scene©

    Something about this definetly doesn't smell like teen spirit. How can they make off with half a billion dollars and nothing to show for it? I wonder how big of a golden parachute the CEO and execs were able to secure before putting a fork in it? Just like the wall street bailouts, money down the drain that we will never see again!

    October 14, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • mfx3

      How? That's exactly how government contracts work. The only penalty for not delivering is to be rejected for future contracts.

      October 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • mercfan

      Well this is par for the course – 1/3 of the money spent on the Iraq and Afgan war was shelled out this way. Contractors agreeing to contract they knew they could never deliver – got paid for nothing, then they split up the contracts into smaller pieces and got paid again. This is what happens when there is no oversight

      October 14, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thomas Payne

      Why aren't the occupy wall street people demonstrating in front of the solyendra headquarters? Why aren't pursuing the company's executive management, demonstrating in front of their homes. 1/2 billion dollars could pay for a lot of scholerships. And the White House is not cooperating. What does obama have to hide? Pleanty.

      October 14, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • wordless

      First black president and he is already doing something unscrupulous to the point that he is unwilling to confess. i can't say he is making the road easier for his predecessors if there are ever going to be any!

      October 15, 2011 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. PJinChicago

    What's the fuss? Nothing to hide. Transperancy! Hope & Change! Road Ahead. Winning the Future. blah, blah blah.

    October 14, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • eric

      No doubt. Remember, that was "election speak" and he really didn't say it. The teleprompter made him do it!

      October 14, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hez316

      I am disappointed. The transparency message was a good one and I bought it. This action runs the wrong way.

      October 14, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • disco_fever

      Seriously, this has nothing to do with national security. And he said over and over and over again that he would make the government transparent. Too many lies out of this guy for me. Too much BS. But what can we expect? We knew NOTHING about this guy when we elected him President. He had NO record to judge him on.

      October 15, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. scot

    Cheney never did ! Bush never did ! And those were outting a CIA agent ! Whats worse,

    October 14, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al

      uhmmm. Bush and Cheney, nor ANYONE associated with the Bush administration outed a CIA agent, BTW, the person that admitted to it was a democrat...

      What's worse? I say not knowing your history.

      October 14, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ronin48

    first the enemies list among the press, then an attorney general who lies through his teeth to congress, then this. The Obama Administration is getting more and more Nixonian by the minute.

    October 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jack

    Transparency award?

    October 14, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patriot in West(By God) Virginia

      Al, this president campaigned on transparency. Well they are about as transparent as mudd.

      October 14, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Al

    For all the naysayers with short-term memory, George Bush even made the guest register at the White House off limits. Rick Perry has made his travel vouchers and expense accounts private and non-subpoenable. Executuve privilege for our leaders, remembert? Or is it just selective executive privilege?

    October 14, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • eric

      While I agree with you, remember that Holier Than Thou Obama PROMISED no more of that. He promised transparency. Only to have closed door meetings with the Dems on healthcare (because he didn't want to hear why it COULD be bad or overly expensive in an actual debate) and now this. It isn't so much of what others before him did, but rather that throughout his entire election progress the man promised to be transparent. Hipocracy is hipocracy no matter what politcal party you are.

      October 14, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • The other Al

      Executive privilege? This is shaping up to be a criminal investigation. Laws may have been broken, using the influence of your office to (presidency) to push through a loan for 1/2 billion is a BIT beyond unethical, and may cross over into illegal.

      Politicians shouldn't be given access to slush funds to pay back their cronies, no matter what the political party.

      October 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • CluelessLib

      We told you Pelosi was lying about openness in 2006. We told you Obama was lying about openness in 2008. You chose to believe them anyway. Plus I am still waiting for Bush's entire administration to be incarcerated. You guys were so insistent about it back then. Sorry to say, you were duped.

      October 14, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DC Observer

    Cover up in progress -- this stinks to the heavens -– As does Atty General Holder and Fast and Furious -– as does all the campaign contributions Obama got from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when those organizations were tanking -- This all sounds like Chicago style politics -

    October 14, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Patriot in West(By God) Virginia

    Can you say Transperancy, i knew that you could.

    October 14, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Allen

    Scot – Cheney and Bush did not run on promises of the most transparent government in history. Pres. Obama did. I do not recall Bush or Cheney criticizing the Clinton Administration for a lack of transparency (and God knows it was lacking). Obama did. Shall we also discuss that the only thing the current administration has issued more waivers for than their own healthcare bill, is candidate Obama's promise not to allow lobbyist in his administration. These now broken promises and criticisms coincided with Nancy the Great's promise to drain the swamp while pushing through the healthcare bill in backrooms with health industry executives. Guess she did not get to the part of the swamp that benefits her husband before those evil, unethical republicans took over.

    October 14, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Laura

    What a disappointment Obama has turned out to be. The only hope for this country is if the democrats come up with a candidate to challenge him for the nomination. It's sad that I'm not sure which would be worse...another Obama term or the repubs winning in 2012.

    October 14, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cajuntide

    Every political person is a disapointment no matter what party. Everyone should know that by now.

    October 14, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al

      But Obama has upped the ante.

      Disappointment is an understatement.

      This is the first time in my life, I truly feel that a president is not looking after the best interests of the country, beyond the normal want to get re-elected. Because of him and his politics, we actually have open hostility in the streets of our cities, and he's encouraging it.

      When it was against him, he sent his thugs to call them racists, when it's class warfare against Wall Street, he understands their frustration.

      What a crock!!!

      October 14, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Percy

    Hey Barry what do you have to hide? Whatever happened to that Transparency thingy , just more hot air like all your other promises!

    October 14, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Greg

    lol, I remember Bush being criticized for not giving up emails. We're in more wars, higher debt, more unemployment, while watching a POTUS involved in things like Solyndra (that Bush refused to give money to because of a faulty business plan and Obama started giving them funds in his 2nd month) and Fast and Furious. Obama is a piece of garbage POTUS, I hope he doesn't run again. What a disgrace to America.

    October 14, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ConcernedNetizen

    Won't give up the e-mails, eh? So much for Transparency in Government. Must be some homeland security solar secrets in there..

    October 14, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mercfan

    Still waiting to see Cheney's Energy summit notes – where they discussed how they were going to bail out Enron.

    October 14, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Enlightened1

      But Enron was not bailed out and it failed. What is your point? Democrat evil is okay Republican evil is bad. Doofus...

      October 14, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
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