House digs deeper into Solyndra mess

Sept. 22, 2011 at 7:07 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- A House of Representatives energy committee wants to hear from venture capitalists behind bankrupt solar panel company Solyndra, a committee chairman said.

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee said they are outraged that Solyndra, which won guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy for a $535 million loan, has declared bankruptcy.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the committee, said he wants to hear from venture capitalists Argonaut Private Equity and Madrone Capital Partners. Upton's committee said the Obama administration went ahead with a February loan restructuring for Solyndra "putting the venture capitalists at the front of the line, ahead of taxpayers, in the event of bankruptcy, which was in violation of the plain letter of the law."

The FBI raided Solyndra's offices in San Francisco last week and Republican critics say the bankruptcy may be the "tip of the iceberg" in a flawed stimulus initiative.

Republicans claim e-mail messages from 2009 suggest the Obama administration used political pressure to get the loan through to showcase his commitment to a green economy, something the president touted in his State of the Union address in January.

A House subcommittee scheduled a Friday hearing on Solyndra. Company executives said they would plead Fifth Amendment protections and refuse to answer questions at the hearing.

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