Two Solyndra executives slated to testify before a House committee Friday have announced they will invoke their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and refuse to answer any of the committee’s questions. The two had previously told the committee they would not plead the Fifth if they could push back the date of their testimony.
Jan Little, the attorney representing Solyndra CFO W.G. Stover, said her client “looks forward to a time when he can assist the Subcommittee’s efforts, and make known his perspective about events at Solyndra. Unfortunately, the current circumstances do not permit it.” CEO Brian Harrison’s attorney said the decision was “dictated by current circumstances.”
Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has led the Solyndra investigation, were livid at the news. “We will not allow stonewalling by DOE, OMB, Committee Democrats, Solyndra, or anyone else to stop this investigation into what happened to half a billion dollars of the taxpayers’ money,” Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI), the full committee chairman, and Cliff Stearns (R-FL), chairman of the oversight subcommittee, said in a joint press release.
“We would encourage Mr. Harrison and Mr. Stover to reconsider this effort to dodge questions under oath and hide the truth from those American taxpayers who are now on the hook for their $500 million bust,” they added.
Just last week, Stearns said the two executives had agreed to refrain from taking the Fifth in exchange for the committee’s agreement push back the date of their appearance before the committee. Their announcement today violates that agreement.
Speaking at Heritage, Stearns had said that the committee would be “a little flexible if they’ll come next week and testify freely and openly and transparently.”
The hearing Friday will be the second of a series by the Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee on the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program, the Solyndra bankruptcy, and the potential roles of political cronyism in both. The first of the series focused on the federal government’s role, and saw officials from the Energy Department and Office of Management and Budget testify.
UPDATE: Matthew Boyle at the Daily Caller reports the law firms representing the Solyndra executives are major contributors to Democrats and havehelped President Obama’s political efforts, according to information retrieved from Center for Responsive Politics.