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. lliam

    Oh come on turn over the emails even if they have a naked butt crack xeroxed on a copy machine.

    October 15, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. s kel


    October 15, 2011 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. s kel


    October 15, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. Nancy

    I congratulate the President's staff in citing precedent for not turning over all that Congress thinks they want. After all, how much did Dubya turn over, EVER? If I recall, he was asked to be more forthcoming about intelligence leading up to 9/11, Iraq, and a host of other things – and thumbed his nose at every single one.

    Still, because it's Obama, the Republicants and TeaPers will be out in force, howling to the skies about COVER UP, and lack of transparency. Too bad. Go suck an egg, kiddies, cuz yer HERO, Dubya set the bar for this one. 😉

    October 15, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • tinhat

      Deranged... back on the meds, Nancy.

      October 15, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      Sorry, tinhat... already on 'em and feeling great – and certified sane. 🙂

      October 15, 2011 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
    • suebon

      Sort of like the Dems were all the time with Bush? Out in force, howling to the skies about COVER UP and lack of transparency? Both sides are the same. All that differs is which group is saying what when. That depends on which party is in charge.

      October 15, 2011 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Andy K

      Nancy mud slinging and stating what has happened in the past is nit a fair deflection of the point. The current admin stated "change" and "transparency". Your potential voter regret does not make it ok to do what I see all too often... Trash the previous admin instead of staying with the current int of fact...

      October 15, 2011 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      Can't argue with that, suebon. Just felt the need to put the other side out there in view of all the howling on the previous pages... but you're absolutely right.

      October 15, 2011 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      So, Andy, did you take all the previous 4 pages worth of mudslingers to task as well, or was I just special?

      No matter... I railed against the previous administration while it was in office. I have railed against the current administration's overly conciliatory tone with what I view as intransigence and obstructionism on the "other side of the aisle." My comment stemmed from reading too many "worst president ever" comments prior to typing, but (as suebon pointed out) the only difference is who's running the ship.

      October 15, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      You can't actually be serious. Obama promised transparency in this administration. Right now, it looks like he has little to zero control of his cabinet. Please don't take this as a personal attack on your views; I just disagree with your assessment.

      October 15, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      Thank you, John, honest disagreement with healthy discussion is, in my experience, a rarity on the internet. We can certainly agree to disagree.

      I believe that Mr. Obama came into office fully believing that he could transform the Presidency into some open, transparent, fully forthcoming thing. I believe that he had every intention of closing Guantanamo, removing us from Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as possible and repairing the country's standing in the world. Then reality hit him and it was too late to say "Well, I guess I miscalculated."

      There are always things that, perhaps, the American public doesn't NEED to know... like who had what for lunch, for example. There are some things that aren't a good idea to release to the public – but we'll probably never know if the things that Bush DIDN'T release or the things that Obama doesn't release are serious enough to merit the silence. In this case, I believe it's possible that Congress will have what they need to assign "blame" for the Solyndra debacle without every last detail of the President's involvement. But that's just my opinion.

      As far as losing control of the cabinet, are you referring to Holder? Who else do you feel might be running amok?

      October 15, 2011 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
    • oh really O.O

      When you don't like where the facts point then try to change the subject.

      October 15, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
    • DustOfLife

      Nancy, how could you forget that it was Obama who promised to have the most transparency administration in history???

      October 15, 2011 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      @DustOfLife – see my 1:45am response to John... I didn't forget... no one is going to forget that, are we?

      I am suggesting that he got hit upside the head with reality once he took office – and figured out that not everything can, or should, be made public. I've never been President of the U.S., I wouldn't have the va guest idea if there are things that could be considered a breach of confidentiality between the President and others. I wouldn't know if any of the things he's being asked to disclose are sensitive. I would have no clue if any of those things could be considered proprietary information.

      In fact, we might never know – then again, we don't know if the same was true for Bush. Like suebon pointed out, the only difference is who's in charge.

      October 15, 2011 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
    • haha no

      so obongo said he would be transparent in office and therefore didn't keep his promise. he's no better than any other windbag politician who essential lies to the people to get a vote. anyone who defends him, or brings up previous presidents who've done the same and deduces that it's ok (what kinda logic is that?), has been brainwashed by the mass media.

      October 15, 2011 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. s kel


    October 15, 2011 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. s kel


    October 15, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  7. Steven Beauchamp

    So much for transparency!

    October 15, 2011 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. browntree

    Government transparency my ass

    October 15, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. clark1v

    the most transparent administration ....
    I will be glad when this immoral administration is out of office ....

    October 15, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  10. Susan Booth

    This actually is disappointing. Come on Obama! Don't pull a Republican, Bush/Cheney stunt like this! Just hand over the emails. Nothing is going to happen. Nothing happend to them when they lied about weapons of mass destruction or broke the rules of the Geneva Convention. Just hand them over already, or the same loser birther people will think you have something to hide. Hand them over, already!

    October 15, 2011 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Good point Susan. I'm losing my mind with Obama on this one.

      October 15, 2011 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  11. j

    I faintly remember some president saying "everything I do will be open and transparent!"

    October 15, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Susan Booth

      I guess Obama has changed his mind about being transparent and now thinks it is acceptable to be like the last president. Bummer.

      October 15, 2011 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jason

    To bad the cops did not get to "Pry that gun from his cold dead hands" as Im sure that was a favorite saying of his judging from his bumper sticker.

    October 15, 2011 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. Andy

    Funny congress going after obama on this, but not w bush for iraq.

    – A

    October 15, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
    • oh really O.O

      Yeah, since it is so "clear" that what Bush did was criminal why didn't the Dem controlled Congress go after Bush during the 2 years they controlled both houses? Oh, probably because they don't believe their own rhetoric. They just use it to get all their sheep steamed up and behind them.

      October 15, 2011 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. Henry Miller


    What did Obama promise a couple years ago? The most open administration in history?

    Just 15 more months until we're rid of this clown...

    October 15, 2011 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. Richard Crainium

    When you are in charge of investigating the cover up its easy to just cover it up.

    October 15, 2011 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
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