Showing a growing frustration with the the Obama administration, congressional Republicans on Thursday authorized their second subpoena this week, demanding White House documents related to failed solar technology company Solyndra.
By a 14-9 party-line vote the Energy and Commerce Committee’s investigative subcommittee authorized issuing a subpoena for any White House documents related to Solyndra, which received renewable energy loan guarantees under President Obama’s stimulus program. The request for documents could include details of the president’s own travel and communications.
Democrats said it was “unprecedented” to subpoena documents from the president’s executive office like this, but Republicans said they’ve run out of patience with White House “stalling.”
“We simply cannot allow the executive branch at its highest levels to pick and choose what they will produce, or whether they will produce anything at all,” said Rep. Cliff Stearns, the Florida Republican who runs the investigative panel.
Thursday’s subpoena came just a day after the Judiciary Committee’s immigration subcommittee voted along party lines to authorize a subpoena for Homeland Security records related to illegal immigrants the department has declined to pursue deportation cases against.
Together they mark an escalation as Republicans have become increasingly aggressive in pushing back against what they see as administration stonewalling of oversight by the new GOP majority in the House.
In each case, the vote only authorizes a subpoena. It’s up to the chairmen of the full committees to actually issue them.
What did the Obama Administration know and when did they know it?
New documents released yesterday indicate the Administration wanted to bail out Solyndra gain before they collapsed. There is too much government money that has apparently wasted to sweep this under an Obama rug.
If there was favoritism, or improper conduct, then the White House should cooperate with the Congress to investigate the matter.
“I regret that we have reached this point,” Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), the chairman of the committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee and the GOP’s pointman on the Solyndra investigation, said Thursday. “At this point in time, I am not confident that we will have a good faith response from the White House without issuing a subpoena.”
“Sometimes, in the course of an investigation, we find ourselves unable to secure necessary evidence,” full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said. “House Rules expressly give us the power of subpoena to compel cooperation in these instances. It is a tool we use sparingly and only as a last resort. Today, it is our last resort.”
In a statement, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said that the administration had “cooperated extensively” with the committee’s request for documents. “All of the materials that have been disclosed affirm what we said on day one: this was a merit based decision made by the Department of Energy,” he said.
“We’d like to see as much passion in House Republicans for creating jobs as we see in this investigation,” Schultz added.
The National Republican Congressional Committee is sending an early signal that it intends to compete in California in 2012.
The committee is launching an ad Thursday against Rep. John Garamendi, a Democrat serving his first full term and running in the redrawn, Sacramento-area 3rd district. His district got considerably more competitive in the state’s independent redistricting process, and he was outraised by his Republican opponent in the third quarter.
The 60-second ad, which launches Thursday and will run on cable for two weeks, ties Garamendi to President Barack Obama and his support for Solyndra, a California-based solar power company that went bankrupt after receiving a $535 million federal loan guarantee.
“John Garamendi supported the Obama policy that loaned Solyndra money,” the announcer says in the ad. “Garamendi backed Obama’s failed stimulus economic policy. John Garamendi and President Obama are making our economy worse.”
Garamendi’s top GOP opponent is Colusa County Supervisor Kim Dolbow Vann, who raised $125,000 in the third quarter and had nearly all of that left in the bank at the end of September. Garamendi raised just $93,000 and had $113,000 in cash on hand.
The district is one of six potential California targets for the NRCC. Democrats are still expected to gain seats in the state next year, but how many will depend on whether the GOP can pick up some of the more competitive districts such as the 3rd.
It should be an interesting Congressional election season with the new Congressional districts drawn by a citizen’s commission. Also, the top two vote getters in the June primary election, then move on to the general election in the Fall.
Obviously, the NRCC views Garamendi, a long-time Democratic POL in California, as vulnerable.
And, he may very well be, especially of voter turn out for President Obama is low.
Republican presidential candidate Congresswoman Michele Bachmann greets her supporters during a rally for the Orange County Republican Party in Costa Mesa, California September 16, 2011
Michele Bachmann, struggling to regain her footing in the GOP presidential contest, Friday assailed rival Rick Perry, saying he abused his power as governor of Texas and rewarded political donors in a manner similar to President Obama.
“It’s wrong to abuse executive authority with unilateral action, and of course the governor of Texas admitted as much that he made a mistake,” Bachmann said, speaking to reporters after holding a rally in Costa Mesa. “People don’t want a president or a governor making decisions based on political connections. It’s wrong.”
The Minnesota congresswoman was referring to an executive order signed by Perry requiring that young girls be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer that was made by a company that donated to Perry’s campaigns.
She compared it to the federal controversy unfolding around Solyndra, a solar equipment maker that received a $535-million federal loan guarantee and which went bankrupt last month. Republicans have suggested that the guarantee was pushed by the White House to reward a major campaign donor with ties to Solyndra’s biggest shareholder, a charge the Obama administration denies.
Bachmann also sought to tie Perry’s effort, which was ultimately blocked by the Texas Legislature, to Obama’s healthcare law in a Web video and fundraising appeal to supporters in which she dubs his efforts as “Perrycare,” a riff on the “Obamacare” label that some use to describe the president’s healthcare reform package.
“Whether it’s Obamacare or Perrycare, I oppose any governor or president who mandates a family’s healthcare choices,” Bachmann says in the video. “Especially if the decision-making process occurs behind closed doors, bypassing legislative action, and favors campaign contributors over families.”
I don’t know if this is going to stick to Rick Perry, but Bachmann who is down in the polls lately will not go quietly. She will address the California Republican Party tonight and then she will appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Day By Day by Chris Muir
They can massage the Obama record as much as they want, but they won’t be able to cover up the unemployed and the pissed off American voter.
One has to wonder if this FLAP involving one of President Obama’s mega-donors is going to blow up in the President’s face.
The FBI has confirmed to ABC News that federal agents are conducting a search this morning at the offices of Solyndra, the now-bankrupt California solar power company that received $535 million in federal loans under a green energy program touted by President Obama.
The raid is part of a joint operation between the FBI and the Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General, Public Affairs Specialist Peter D. Lee said Thursday morning. Lee said he could not disclose the reason for the raid because the matter is under seal. Karen Sulier, a spokeswoman for the Department of Energy’s inspector general’s office, confirmed its part in the probe.
Beginning in March, ABC News, in partnership with the iWatch News/the Center for Public Integrity, was first to report on simmering questions about the role political influence may have played Solyndra’s selection as the Obama administration’s first loan guarantee recipient. Federal auditors had flagged the loan, saying some applicants had benefitted from special treatment.
One of the lead private investors in Solyndra was an Oklahoma billionaire who served as an Obama “bundler,” raising money during the 2008 presidential campaign.
The bundler, George Kaiser, has declined to comment. His firm, Argonaut Ventures and its affiliates have been the single largest shareholder of Solyndra, according to SEC filings and other records. The company holds 39 percent of Solyndra’s parent company, bankruptcy records filed Tuesday show.
Typical Obama Crony Capitalism or criminal activity?
Guess we will find out soon enough.