Democrats, Republicans Release Dueling Solyndra Emails


Waxman and DeGette said that Kaiser had insisted during his interview with members of the committee that he had never lobbied for Solyndra or asked anyone in the White House to intervene on Solyndra's behalf, and that his meetings were on behalf of his charity, the George Kaiser Family Foundation. By telling Steve Mitchell to "pursue your contacts with the WH," according to the Democrats, Kaiser was telling the Solyndra board member that the solar firm should handle its own lobbying.

"Mr. Kaiser's account is confirmed by the internal e-mails the Committee received," said Waxman and DeGette. "They show Mr. Kaiser was concerned about any appearance that he was trying to influence the White House and rejected suggestions that he intervene on behalf of Solyndra."

The Democrats quoted a February 2010 email exchange between Kaiser and Ken Levit, the executive director of his charity, in which Kaiser mused that an "investigative reporter" might make an association between his early support for Obama the presidential candidate, his investment in Solyndra and the federal government's financial support for the firm.

Levit responded that he'd also wondered about that possibility. "The truth is," he wrote, "that the name of the company has never crossed your lips with the Administration (not so with Congress) and we've certainly never lobbied for the company."

In an exchange from October 2010, Steven Mitchell of Argonaut Ventures and the Solyndra board asked Levit and Kaiser if they could help arrange a meeting with interim White House chief of staff Pete Rouse.

"Are you open to helping Solyndra secure a meeting?" said Mitchell.

Levit and Kaiser responded with separate emails criticizing the idea, with Levit calling it "tricky," and saying that Kaiser's relationship with the White House "is based on completely different issues," and Kaiser saying the Department of Energy would resent the intrusion: "I would see an appeal as only a last resort and, even then, questionable."

After quoting from the emails, Reps. Waxman and DeGette close their letter to Reps. Upton and Stearns by saying they support a Solyndra investigation, "but it should be fair and evenhanded. The tactics you are using ... are unfair and reflect poorly on the Committee's objectivity."

"We are growing increasingly concerned about the partisan way in which you are conducting the investigation," wrote the Democrats.

The Obama administration took a similar position. White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Wednesday that "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."

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"Nothing in the 85,000 pages of documents produced thus far by the Administration or in these four indicates any favoritism to political supporters," said Schultz. "We wish that House Republicans were as zealous about creating jobs as they were about this oversight investigation."

In response to the new email release, Renzi Stone, a representative for Kaiser, told ABC News, "To reaffirm our previous public statements, George Kaiser had no discussions with the government regarding the loan to Solyndra."

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