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Solyndra bonus angers House Republicans

Jan. 16, 2012 at 9:42 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The White House will be held accountable for the $500 million worth of taxpayer money wasted on solar panel company Solyndra, critics said.

Republican lawmakers accuse U.S. President Barack Obama's administration of neglect in the vetting of a $535 loan guarantee for Solyndra.

The company earned scorn from Obama's critics after it emerged it was seeking to hand out bonuses worth as much as $50,000 through a proposal in federal bankruptcy court.

U.S. Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House energy and commerce committee, and Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., chairman of an investigative subcommittee, accuse White House advisers of meddling in Solyndra's affairs for political gain.

They maintain the "sad truth" is that the $535 million loan was "tainted by (economic) stimulus politics from the outset."

Obama touted the company as a centerpiece of his green economic agenda, though the company eventually declared bankruptcy last year.

"Despite the White House's best efforts to run out the clock on the investigation, we owe it to American taxpayers to uncover the whole truth behind the Solyndra mess and ensure it never happens again," said Upton and Stearns in a statement.

U.S. Energy Department officials defended the decision to back the loan, which was vetted by the Republican administration of President George W. Bush before Obama took office.

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