Rep. Darrell Issa says his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee may issue subpoenas against top Justice Department Officials this week over the controversial Operation Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal. The California Republican indicated that some government actions in the fatally flawed operation could have been felonious.
On another politically explosive issue, Issa told “Fox News Sunday” that his committee is probing whether the Obama administration interfered to shore up Solyndra even after it became apparent that the California company was on the brink of bankruptcy.
Regarding Fast and Furious, Issa said his committee intends to grill Justice officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder, to determine "what did they know and when did they know it?"
Issa and others contend that Holder knew about Fast and Furious months earlier than he has acknowledged. Holder has insisted he didn’t know details of the operation, which backfired so badly that Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry murdered with one of the guns involved in December.
"Very clearly he [Holder] had to know when Brian Terry was killed and everyone realized these were Fast and Furious weapons," Issa said. "He had to know something serious had happened, and that's months before he says he knew. If we assume for a moment he didn't know, the question is, is he competent? If in fact a border patrol agent has been murdered, 2,000 weapons have gone [missing], this program has completely gone off the rails — why didn't he know?"
Regarding Solyndra, Issa said his committee is examining the actions of Energy Secretary Steven Chu and other top officials to bolster the solar energy firm, which received $535 million in federal loans.
The FBI also is investigating Solyndra, which made a revolutionary type of solar panel, for fraud. The company went bust on Aug. 31, just as an analyst had warned it would at the time the government guaranteed the loan in 2009. But the Obama administration granted the money as part of its push for renewable “green” energy.
"We're going to look for political interference because you have to ask, why would we put the government at a disadvantage when we're putting in more money?" Issa said on “Fox News Sunday.” "That doesn't make sense."
The Solyndra scandal widened Thursday with the resignation of Johnathan Silver, head of the federal Loan Programs Office that approved the loan.
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., said the resignation resolves nothing in the scandal.
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