GOP Says Obama Supporter Pushed For Solyndra Loan

Correction Nov. 10, 2011

A previous headline on this story incorrectly said that a Solyndra supporter pushed the White House for loans. In fact, House Republicans contend that an Obama supporter pushed the White House for Solyndra loans.

House Republicans have released emails related to solar panel maker Solyndra which got $535 million in government loan guarantees and then went bankrupt. Republicans say the emails show an Obama campaign bundler used his influence at the White House to make the loan happen.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Meanwhile, congressional investigators continue to examine Solyndra. That's the solar energy company that received $535 million in federal loan guarantees, only to collapse. Yesterday, House Republicans released a batch of emails from advocates for Solyndra, including a fundraising bundler from the 2008 Obama campaign. A bundler is someone who solicits campaign contributions from other donors. And with that, the case took another turn toward the political. NPR's Peter Overby has more.

PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: Solyndra was going to make solar panels, and some administration officials hoped it would become, quote, "one of their prime poster children," to use the phrase in one of the emails released yesterday. Republicans on the House Energy Committee put out three short email chains. It was an attempt to prod the White House into responding to a subpoena voted by the committee last week. Here's Florida Republican Cliff Stearns, who's leading the investigation, speaking just before that vote.

REPRESENTATIVE CLIFF STEARNS: Unfortunately, the White House was unable, or unwilling, to answer even the most basic questions.

OVERBY: At the center of all this is George Kaiser, the Obama campaign bundler. His family foundation invested in Solyndra, and he lobbied members of Congress to promote the company. Republicans say the emails show he also used influence at the White House to make the loan happen. Democrats, in a rebuttal letter yesterday, say that's wrong and an unfair smear. And a spokesman for Kaiser's foundation said that Kaiser had no discussions with the government regarding the loan to Solyndra. The subpoena deadline is noon today. Peter Overby, NPR News, Washington.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: