Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Obama Administration Refuses To Comply With Congressional Subpoenas Over Solyndra

After losing half a billion in tax payer dollars on an investment in Solyndra that Obama once described as a “good bet,” Congress not surprisingly wanted to figure out just how it was that the Obama administration determined that it was a “good bet.”

To that end, they want documents from the White House. The White House has refused to divulge them, so Congress issued a subpoena. Now the White House is refusing to comply with that saying it’s motivated by “partisan politics.”

The White House counsel refused Friday to comply with a subpoena as issued by a House panel regarding the failed solar energy company Solyndra, saying that the initiative “was driven more by partisan politics than a legitimate effort to conduct a responsible investigation.”

Kathryn Ruemmler expressed her views in a letter to Reps. Fred Upton and Cliff Stearns, members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. A day earlier, one of its subcommittees requested internal documents regarding the government’s decision to issue more than half a billion dollars in federal loan guarantees in 2010 to Solyndra, which later filed for bankruptcy.

The White House counsel on Friday did not rule out disclosing additional information related to Solyndra, saying that “we remain willing to work with the committee to accommodate its legitimate oversight interests in a balanced manner.”

At the same time, Ruemmler said unequivocally that the subpoena, as written, was unacceptable.

“The committee’s extremely broad request for documents — now a subpoena — is a significant intrusion on executive branch interests,” Ruemmler wrote.

Refusing to comply with a subpoena – which can result in contempt of court charges – is a big black eye for the Obama administration. So you have to wonder what it is in the documents the Obama administration is refusing to turn over that makes this black eye preferable to complying with the subpoena.

And the charges of “partisan politics” ring a little hollow when you consider that our political system is an adversarial one on purpose. The best way to promote accountability among the weasels is to pit the weasels against one another, as far as I’m concerned. To be sure, subpoenas and investigatory power can be abused by Congress, but in this instance we’re talking a specific decision the Obama administration made that cost taxpayers a lot of money and has the stink of crony politics about it.

Are Republicans looking to score political points? Of course they are. Does that mean that the Obama administration doesn’t have to divulge the pertinent documents? Uh, no.