Ben Johnson, The White House Watch
Tired of the Obama administration’s “slow-walking” documents related to the Solyndra scandal, Republicans on a House panel voted today to subpoena all documents related to Solyndra. The motion to hold the Obama administration accountable passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee on a 14-9, party-line vote.
The measure authorizes committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton, R-MI, to issue a subpoena against leading figures in the administration, whom Republicans say have withheld pivotal documents that would allow them to understand how the government loaned and lost half-a-billion dollars to a Green energy firm known to be a credit risk.
Congressman Upton greeted the vote by saying the subpoena power “is a tool we use sparingly and only as a last resort. Today, it is our last resort.” Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-FL, who is also on the committee, added frankly, “I am not confident that we will have a good faith response from the White House without issuing a subpoena.” The White House, Stearns said, has been “slow-walking” its response.
Upton was more graphic, stating that prying these documents from the administration’s grip has been like “extracting a tooth without anesthesia.”
Although officials boast they have released 80,000 pages of material, Republicans reveal that much of the material has been irrelevant. The Obama administration has proven its bad faith by releasing reams of Solyndra documents to the press before handing them over to Congress — to allow friendly hands to frame the narrative before researchers have finished combing through the document dump.
Although Upton and Stearns had made clear their “request to the White House is not duplicative of our requests to other executive-branch agencies,” Obama’s appointed delegate made no agreement for additional transparency. On Wednesday, committee members met with White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler. Last month, Ruemmler told the committee the documents her bosses had already released “should satisfy the committee’s stated objective.”
Yet somehow the Energy Department discovered 15,000 additional pages of documents it could release immediately before the subpoena vote.
Only on the basis of these new documents released Wednesday did we learn the Obama administration paid an investment banking firm $1 million to consider bailing out Solyndra. Lazard Ltd. examined the company’s books….