Emails show White House discussed Solyndra loan with Democratic fundraiser
Newly disclosed emails show Democratic fundraiser and Solyndra investor George Kaiser talked directly with White House officials about the now-bankrupt solar company’s $535 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, contrary to what the White House has claimed.
Republicans from the House Energy and Commerce Committee disclosed a number of emails Tuesday between Solyndra, Kaiser and executives from Kaiser’s charitable foundation detailing their meetings with administration and Energy Department officials.
Tulsa billionaire George Kaiser, a key Obama backer who raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for the president’s election campaign, was one of Solyndra’s primary investors. Kaiser himself donated $53,500 to Obama’s 2008 election campaign, split between the DSCC and Obama For America.
Just days before the Solyndra loan was finalized, Kaiser met with administration officials. A White House official told ABC News on Oct. 6 that the White House firmly believed that Kaiser never broached the subject of the Solyndra loan.
Kaiser has “said publically (sic) that Solyndra was not discussed at these meetings, and we have no reason to dispute that,” the official said.
The White House claimed that only matters concerning Kaiser’s charitable foundation were discussed.
Yet in a March 5 email, Kaiser wrote to Mitchell: “BTW, a couple of weeks ago, when Ken and I were visiting with a group of Administration folks in DC who are in charge of the stimulus process (White House, not DOE) and Solyndra came up, every one of them responded simultaneously about their thorough knowledge of the Solyndra story, suggesting it was one of their prime poster children.”
Other disclosed emails point to more communications between the White House, the George Kaiser Family Foundation and Solyndra regarding the half-billion dollar loan.
“They about had an orgasm in Biden’s office when we mentioned Solyndra,” Ken Levit, CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation wrote in an email to Solyndra board member Steve Mitchell on Feb. 27, 2010.
A follow-up email from Mitchell to Levit responds with: “That’s awesome! Get us a [Department of Energy] loan.”
Another email from Kaiser to Mitchell and Levit on Oct. 6, 2010 reads: “We can possibly reinforce the effort so long as it is in the form of ‘I thought you should know, in case it comes up’ rather than ‘can you help with this.'”
Republicans contend the Solyndra loan was fast-tracked despite warning signs to accommodate the president’s political agenda. Congressional investigators continue to press the White House for documents and answers about the failed loan.
The Obama administration continues to deny any political favoritism was involved in the loan decision.
“Even the documents cherry-picked by House Republicans today affirm what we have said all along: this loan was a decision made on the merits at the Department of Energy,” said White House spokesman Eric Schultz. “Nothing in the 85,000 pages of documents produced thus far by the Administration or in these four indicate any favoritism to political supporters. We wish that House Republicans were as zealous about creating jobs as they were about this oversight investigation.”
George Kaiser Family Foundation spokeswoman Renzi Stone told Fox News on Wednesday that Kaiser never was directly involved in the deal.
“To reaffirm our previous public statements, George Kaiser had no discussions with the government regarding the loan to Solyndra,” she said in a statement.