Congress to subpoena the White House
07:58 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

NEW: "The subpoenas will be going," Rep. Cliff Stearns tells CNN

House committee will meet Thursday to consider a subpoena related to controversy

The White House is ordering a 60-day review of the Energy Department's loan portfolio

Solyndra received $535 million in federal loan guarantees shortly before filing for bankruptcy

Washington CNN  — 

A House GOP leader announced Friday that Congress will be sending subpoenas to the White House for internal documents regarding the decision to issue federal loan guarantees in 2010 to Solyndra, a solar energy company that has since filed for bankruptcy.

“This is an investment of taxpayers’ money that’s gone bad,” Rep. Cliff Stearns, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight, told CNN’s John King. “After eight months of investigations we have a right … to say, ‘what about the internal communications inside the top advisers to the White House? Let’s see them.’”

Stearns added: “The subpoenas will be going.”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will meet Thursday to consider a resolution authorizing the issuance of the subpoena.

“Subpoenaing the White House is a serious step that, unfortunately, appears necessary in light of the Obama administration’s stonewall on Solyndra,” said a statement issued earlier by Stearns and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Michigan, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

“What is the White House trying to hide from the American public? It is alarming for the Obama White House to cast aside its vows of transparency and block Congress from learning more about the roles that those in the White House and other members of the administration played in the Solyndra mess.”

The White House sent 2,000 pages of e-mail communications to Capitol Hill this month, according to a source familiar with the congressional investigation. The communications provided details about who at the White House was looped in on the deal while red flags were being raised about the financial soundness of the company.

“It appears to us, disturbingly, that there is a close relationship between the investors – the people who were wealthy donors to the Obama campaign – and the people that were involved with Solyndra,” Stearns told CNN. “That disturbs us all and we’d like to see the communications to make sure that is not true.”

Meanwhile, White House Chief of Staff William Daley announced Friday that he is ordering a 60-day independent review of the state of the Energy Department’s loan portfolio. The review will include recommendations about how to improve the loan monitoring process.

The review will be headed by Herb Allison, a veteran of both the Obama and last Bush administrations who oversaw the Troubled Asset Relief Program, among other things.

“The president is committed to investing in clean energy because he understands that the jobs developing and manufacturing these technologies will either be created here or in other countries,” Daley said in a written statement. “While we continue to take steps to make sure the United States remains competitive in the 21st-century energy economy, we must also ensure that we are strong stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

Federal analysts looking at the proposed Solyndra loan in 2009 warned then of possible problems, as well as pressure from the White House to speed up a decision, according to a memorandum released last month by congressional investigators.

Approved in May 2010, the Energy Department’s loan allowed Solyndra to build a factory in Fremont, California, to produce state-of-the-art solar panels.

Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in late August and closed its doors, however, putting more than 1,000 people out of work after it received $535 million in loan guarantees.

The bankruptcy leaves the federal government unlikely to get the loan money back. President Barack Obama touted the company in a widely publicized visit last year.

Energy Department officials defend the decision to back Solyndra, noting that the company’s loan application was nearly complete before Obama took office and that the private-sector gave the company billions in additional funding.

CNN’s Dan Lothian and Lesa Jansen contributed to this report.