E-mails show link between White House, lobbyists

Nov. 9, 2011 at 4:43 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- E-mails released by U.S. House Republicans show Obama fundraiser George Kaiser discussed lobbying the White House on behalf of Solyndra.

Solyndra was a solar panel company that received federal funding and failed in August.

Kaiser was involved in e-mail correspondence with his business colleagues about an upcoming White House meeting to get the administration's help in selling Solyndra's solar panels, and in seeking a second Energy Department loan of $468 million, in addition to the $535 million loan the company received in 2009, The Washington Post reported.

Energy Department officials told the Post they considered the second application, but rejected it when Solyndra officials told them about the company's financial difficulties in October 2010.

The e-mails show Kaiser's associates discussed Solyndra with Obama administration officials who were in charge of distributing stimulus funding, the Post said.

The biggest investor in the company was a fund connected to the family foundation of Tulsa, Okla., billionaire Kaiser, who was involved in bundling donations for Barack Obama's presidential campaign, the Post reported.

The report said Kaiser's representatives previously said Kaiser did not personally lobby the White House on behalf of Solyndra's loan.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Republicans were trying to mislead the public by releasing partial documents.

"Even the documents cherry-picked by House Republicans today affirm what we have said all along: This loan was a decision made on the merits at the Department of Energy," Schultz said. "Nothing in the 85,000 pages of documents produced thus far by the administration or in these four indicate any favoritism to political supporters. We wish that House Republicans were as zealous about creating jobs as they were about this oversight investigation."

The White House has said that decisions about the loan were made based on the merits by career staff, the Post reported, but the e-mails suggest at least one official was more personally involved.

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