Lamar Smith: Get Special Counsel on Solyndra
WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee on Monday called for an independent investigator to look into a $528 million loan approved by the Obama administration for a now-bankrupt solar energy company.
Rep. Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, said an outside lawyer is needed to determine “whether politics played a role” in the Energy Department loan for California-based Solyndra Inc., which declared bankruptcy this month and laid off its 1,100 workers.
“An independent examiner will uncover the truth about whether politics played a role in influencing the Obama administration to favor Solyndra over more financially stable loan applicants and thus ensure the integrity of the bankruptcy process for all creditors,” Smith wrote in a three-page letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.
The FBI and the Energy Department’s inspector general are already investigating the Solyndra loan, which has become a flashpoint in a partisan debate over subsidies for so-called green jobs.
The Fremont, Calif.-based company was the first renewable-energy company to receive a loan guarantee under a stimulus-law program to encourage green energy and was frequently touted by the Obama administration as a model. President Barack Obama visited the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters last year, and Vice President Joe Biden spoke by satellite at its groundbreaking.