Republicans on a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel on Thursday overrode vigorous Democratic objections and took the apparently unprecedented step of authorizing subpoenas for internal White House communications related to a half-billion dollar taxpayer loan guarantee for the failed solar company Solyndra.
The move followed a last-minute attempt by the White House to fend off the move, with officials meeting with committee members and delivering several boxes of e-mails and other documents to committee investigators on Wednesday afternoon.
Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.), ranking Democrat on the panel, called it a “sad day” for the committee and “an act of irresponsible partisanship,” stressing that the committee had never before subpoenaed the White House. She noted the administration had already turned over thousands of pages of documents and said a subpoena should be issued only after all alternative routes have been abandoned.
Republicans said they had hoped to avoid the step, but that the committee’s long-running investigation had failed to get to the bottom of why Solyndra, which collapsed in August and is now under criminal investigation, was selected to receive the Obama administration’s first loan guarantee under the stimulus act. President Obama last year visited the company’s California operation, whose biggest investors were venture capital funds linked to Tulsa billionaire George Kaiser, a major Obama fundraiser.
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