In a move that is sure to intensify the already testy exchanges between the White House and congressional investigators, the House Energy and Commerce Committee today released a series of emails showing that Obama donor and Solyndra investor George Kaiser explicitly mentioned the now-bankrupt solar company in talks with administration staffers.
The emails suggest that Kaiser, who bundled $50,000 for the president’s 2008 campaign, was more involved in Solyndra’s loan guarantee process than either he or the administration would care to admit.
The White House had previously insisted that Kaiser had never broached the subject in his 17 visits. But in one of three email threads released by the committee, Kaiser notes that “Solyndra came up” during his meeting with White House staffers. Other Kaiser employees also mention discussions with administration staffers about the company.
According to a report from ABC News, the White House insisted that “Kaiser never broached the subject of the Solyndra loan.” The newly released emails show that is not the case.
Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Cliff Stearns (R-FL), who chair the full committee and its investigative subpanel, respectively, made note of the emails in a letter to the White House requesting compliance with subpoenas issued last week seeking documents related to the Energy Department’s Solyndra loan guarantee.
“While our inquiry is not focused solely on possible political influence surrounding the Solyndra loan guarantee,” Upton and Stearns wrote, “that is certainly one area of interest.”
The White House is not expected to comply with the subpoena. White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler called the committee’s request – which even included messages from the president’s Blackberry –“unprecedented and unnecessary.”
Here are the three emails, as provided by the committee: