The email exchanges between Summers and Jones, and the exchange between Jarrett and Westly, all point to a common practice inside the White House, according to an administration official who agreed to answer questions from ABC News about the documents on the condition he not be identified because the subject is sensitive.
"Part of Valerie Jarrett's job is to interact with folks from the business community in all different sectors of the economy. It's in her job description to do that kind of outreach with folks in the private sector," the administration official said.
Both the White House and the Energy Department said the emails simply prove that the department engaged in healthy debate about the loan decision before freeing up taxpayer money for Solyndra's use.
"This program was established by Congress to support innovative, cutting-edge projects that by their nature carry a degree of risk," said Damien LaVera, an Energy Department spokesman. "These emails show that the Administration was aware of those risks, and that decisions were based on more than two years of rigorous analysis and due diligence by career officials spanning two administrations. As we have consistently said, there was a thoughtful and appropriate debate within the Administration and decisions were made solely on the merits of the project."
Eric Shultz, a White House spokesman, said the emails "validate what we've said all along, which is this was a merit-based decision made by career staffers at the Department of Energy. And as we've said from the beginning, supporting fledgling innovative technologies assumes some risk, but that doesn't mean we should throw up our hands and do nothing, ceding the jobs of the future to China or any other country."
In releasing the emails, House Democrats said they saw a healthy internal debate about the wisdom of investing in the clean energy sector. Obama had embraced the idea, dedicating hundreds of millions of dollars in an effort to help jump start the fledgling "green energy" industry, create jobs, and improve the environment.
A statement from Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the emails show there was "internal disagreement within the Administration about Solyndra's viability and the effectiveness of the loan guarantee program throughout the process."
At the Office of Management and Budget -- where analysts were tasked with assessing the financial risks -- internal emails show deep reservations about lending money to Solyndra.
"Bad days are coming," one email warned in April 2010. OMB officials also seemed concerned with the Department of Energy's apparent failure to monitor the progress at companies that were heavily backed by government loans.
One OMB official wrote: "DOE's 'system' for monitoring loans is quite problematic (barely any review of materials submitted, no synthesis for program management, inherent conflicts in origination team members monitoring the deals they structured, etc) and does not seem to be a program priority."
The emails surrounding the Obama's plans to visit the Solyndra plant offer a rare look behind the scenes at how every move by the president is carefully measured in advance for political benefits and risks. And they show top donors, such as Westly, have the connections and the ability to weigh in on such decisions.