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Timeline of Energy and Commerce Committee Investigation of Solyndra's $535 Million DOE Loan Guarantee

November 30, 2011

February 17, 2011 - Committee Leaders submit a letter to Energy Secretary Chu seeking documents and information about the $535 million loan guarantee awarded to Solyndra, Inc.

March 14, 2011 - Committee Leaders submit a letter to OMB requesting key documents and information concerning the review of the Solyndra loan guarantee. A two-week deadline is set.

March 17, 2011 – Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations holds a hearing on “Oversight of DOE Recovery Act Spending.”

March 28, 2011 – OMB fails to meet the Committee’s deadline to produce documents.

April 11, 2011 – OMB finally provides an initial briefing in response to March 14, 2011, request for documents.  OMB staff are unable to answer key questions about OMB’s actions regarding the Solyndra review.

April-May 2011 – Committee investigators in ongoing negotiations with OMB over document production related to Solyndra.  Despite repeated pledges to produce documents, OMB continues to give the Committee the run around. Committee investigators especially interested in credit subsidy and cash flow documents.

May 25, 2011 - Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Cliff Stearns directly contacts OMB Deputy Director Jeff Zients to demand production of the documents and communications requested in the March 14 letter.

June 7, 2011 – After weeks of negotiations, OMB agrees to allow Committee staff to participate in an in camera review of certain documents. However, when the review takes place, OMB produces only eight emails between OMB and DOE to make available to Committee staff, and refuses to produce the rest of the emails or the agreed-upon internal OMB emails and documents.

June 23, 2011 - Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns submits a letter to OMB expressing serious concern about OMB’s refusal to produce agreed upon documents and reiterating the need for the administration’s cooperation.

June 23, 2011 - Solyndra submits a document to the Committee proclaiming its sound financial status and optimistic outlook: "Exceeding Expectations: Solyndra Today."

June 24, 2011 - The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations holds a hearing regarding “OMB’s Role in the DOE Loan Guarantee Process.” Sole witness Jeffrey Zients, Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, does not show up. (A full chronology and explanation of committee investigators’ efforts to secure OMB cooperation with document requests can be found HERE.)

July 11, 2011 - Committee staff conduct a second in camera review. Again, OMB does not produce all requested documents, specifically declining to turn over OMB’s internal communications and documents relating to Solyndra or its communications with the White House. As they have done for months, OMB staff refuses to provide an answer about whether they would produce these materials.

July 12, 2011 - Energy and Commerce Committee leaders schedule an Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee business meeting for Thursday, July 14, 2011, to consider a motion authorizing the issuance of a subpoena for certain OMB records relating to DOE’s issuance of a loan guarantee to Solyndra, Inc. on September 2, 2009.

July 13, 2011 - Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns submits a letter to OMB Director Lew to provide a final opportunity to avoid the issuance of a subpoena. OMB refuses to cooperate.

July 14, 2011 - The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations holds a business meeting to consider the issuance of a subpoena. The subcommittee votes to issue the subpoena 14 to 8 – a straight party-line vote. A letter from Solyndra's CEO Brian Harrison regarding the company's finances is entered into the hearing record - the letter claims that Solyndra is fiscally sound. 
July 15, 2011 – The subpoena is issued to OMB, setting a July 22, 2011, deadline.
July 22, 2011 – OMB fails to meet the subpoena’s deadline. Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns informs OMB that they have failed to comply with the subpoena issued on July 15, 2011 regarding the Solyndra loan guarantee. Chairman Stearns requests that OMB produce the documents no later than 9:00a.m. Monday, July 25, 2011.
July 25, 2011 – OMB fails to produce the documents by 9:00am deadline. Committee investigators enter into another round of negotiations with OMB staff to secure their cooperation with the subpoena.
August 2011 – OMB agrees to produce all documents necessary to the Committee's investigation, with appropriate safeguards relating to proprietary information. Production continues.
August 31, 2011 – Solyndra announces it will file for bankruptcy. Committee leaders comment.
September 1, 2011  - Committee leaders ramp up investigation, press White House for documents.
September 8, 2011 – Committee leaders comment on FBI raid of Solyndra. 
September 10, 2011 – In an e-mail, Solyndra company lawyers assure committee investigators that Solyndra executives will voluntarily appear and answer Committee questions.
September 14, 2011 – Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee holds a hearing on "Solyndra and the DOE Loan Guarantee Program." Executive Director of DOE's Loan Programs Office Jonathan Silver and OMB Deputy Director Zients testify. Subcommittee investigators release emails indicating that, due to political pressure from the White House, corners were cut and OMB was rushed in approving Solyndra loan. White House press secretary attempts to dismiss concerns that White House pressured OMB on loan guarantee as "scheduling matter."

September 20, 2011 – Committee leaders express concern to Energy Secretary Steven Chu as his agency rushes to dole out nearly $9 billion in loan guarantees by September 30, 2011. The leaders request financial details for 14 loan guarantees DOE is poised to award. Jonathan Silver responds on September 23, 2011.

September 21, 2011 – Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee members seek answers from Solyndra investors.  In the letters to Argonaut Private Equity and Madrone Capital Partners, members request all materials related to now-bankrupt Solyndra’s $535 million loan guarantee, the company’s cancelled initial public offering, the $75 million credit facility, the February 2011 loan restructuring, the company’s bankruptcy, as well as materials related to communications with the Obama administration.

September 21, 2011 – Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee members seek all materials related to communications between DOE and the White House, as well as all communications between DOE and the Treasury Department.

September 23, 2011 – Solyndra CEO and CFO invoke the Fifth Amendment during an Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on “From DOE Loan Guarantee to Bankruptcy to FBI Raid: What Solyndra's Executives Knew.”

September 28, 2011 - As DOE continues its effort to quickly finalize billions in loan guarantees over the program’s final 48 hours. Stearns expresses concern: “We cannot afford DOE rushing out more Solyndras in these final hours.”

September 30, 2011 – DOE extends $4.7 billion in loan guarantees in program’s final hours.

October 4, 2011 – President Obama finally ends silence on Solyndra during interview with ABC news.  President Obama states that he had “no regrets,” “hindsight is always 20/20,” and that Solyndra “went through the regular review process.”

October 5, 2011 – Committee leaders expand investigation, seeking all White House internal communications on Solyndra, between January 20, 2009, to the present.

October 6, 2011 – Committee leaders renew calls for details on financial condition of all loan recipients in Solyndra program. This was the Committee’s second request to DOE. 
October 6, 2011 – Jonathan Silver, Executive Director of DOE’s Loan Programs Office, resigns. Committee leaders state: “Mr. Silver’s resignation does not solve the problem.”

October 7, 2011 – Upton and Stearns discover Treasury Department believed DOE violated law in restructuring Solyndra's loan. Committee leaders request information from Secretary Geithner and schedule a hearing on Treasury’s concerns.

October 7, 2011 – White House allows a select number of hand-picked reporters to review explosive documents prior to delivering them to the Committee late Friday afternoon of Columbus Day weekend. Upton and Stearns declare the documents reveal a disturbingly close relationship between the President’s inner circle, campaign donors, and wealthy investors that spawned the Solyndra mess.

October 14, 2011 – Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee holds a hearing on “Continuing Developments Regarding the Solyndra Loan Guarantee.”

October 14, 2011 – White House Counsel refuses to turn over any additional Solyndra-related documents.

October 14, 2011 – Committee leaders reveal OMB questioned the legality of DOE’s restructuring of Solyndra loan.  OMB official: DOE “stretched this definition beyond its limits.”

October 17, 2011 – Upton and Stearns ask “What is the White House trying to hide?” in response to White House’s refusal to turn over internal Solyndra communications.

October 18, 2011 – Committee leaders renew request for all internal White House Solyndra-related communications.

October 20, 2011 – In response to DOE saying author of Solyndra restructuring legal memo cannot be interviewed under oath, Committee leaders press Energy Secretary to make DOE officials available.

October 25, 2011 – White House Counsel again refuses Committee requests for internal White House communications related to Solyndra.

October 27, 2011  - Stearns announces Energy Secretary Steven Chu will testify before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on November 17, 2011.

October 27, 2011 – Chairman Upton phones White House Chief of Staff William Daley in an effort to negotiate document production without the need for a subpoena.
October 28, 2011 – Energy and Commerce Committee leaders announce plans to convene a business meeting to consider White House subpoena if final effort to secure White House cooperation is unsuccessful.

October 28, 2011 – In wake of Solyndra mess, White House announces plans to conduct 60-day review of DOE loan guarantee program.

November 2, 2011 –Upton and Stearns invite Ranking Member Waxman (D-CA) and Subcommittee Ranking Member DeGette (D-CO) to join them for a meeting with White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler to gain White House cooperation. Despite committee leaders’ attempts to broker a deal with the White House Counsel, the White House fails to turn over requested documents or answer basic questions about the documents.

November 2, 2011 – DOE produces additional documents in response to February 17, 2011, document request.

November 3, 2011 – Committee approves subpoenas by a 14 to 9 vote after White House fails to turn over internal Solyndra documents.

November 3, 2011 – Committee serves subpoenas to William Daley, White House Chief of Staff, and Bruce Reed, Office of the Vice President Chief of Staff.  The subpoenas set a November 10, 2011, deadline for the White House to comply.

November 4, 2011 – Chairman Upton expresses disappointment with White House’s partisan response to the subpoenas.

November 9, 2011 – As White House threatens to defy subpoena, Committee releases sampling of emails that offers glimpse of close ties between Solyndra investor and West Wing, directly contradicting public comments by White House.

November 10, 2011 – In face of deadline, Committee leaders continue seeking good faith efforts of compliance from White House regarding Solyndra subpoenas. White House informs committee that letter and responsive materials would be forthcoming by 5:00p.m.

November 11, 2011 – White House produces limited number of documents in response to Solyndra subpoena.  Upton and Stearns look forward to “further productive discussions” with White House.

November 17, 2011 – The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations convenes the hearing, “The Solyndra Failure, Views from DOE Secretary Chu.”  According to a preliminary legal analysis prepared for DOE by outside counsel, subordination of the loan guarantee was prohibited under the 2005 Energy Policy Act. Secretary Chu acknowledges during the hearing that DOE never sought to have this analysis from outside counsel finalized, instead relying solely on a legal analysis prepared within DOE.

U.S. Representative Fred Upton

U.S. Representative Joe L. Barton

Congressman Fred Upton has represented the commonsense values of southwest Michigan since 1987. In 2010, Fred was selected by his House colleagues to serve as Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Read More»;