GOP Says Obama Supporter Pushed For Solyndra Loan

Nov 10, 2011
Originally published on November 10, 2011 1:09 pm
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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. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.