Issa and Democrat Spar Over Subpoenas in Solyndra Probe

Tuesday, 11 Sep 2012 06:47 PM

By Todd Beamon

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House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and the panel’s top Democrat are at odds over the California Republican’s use of subpoenas in his investigation of federal green energy project loans — including a $535 million guarantee to the failed Solyndra company.

Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings attacked Issa on Monday for issuing a dozen subpoenas last week to current and former Energy Department employees and contractors, The Hill reports. The process used armed U.S. Marshals to serve subpoenas to the Energy Department (DOE).

In a letter to Issa, Cummings called the tactics “intimidation,” The Hill reports, saying that the GOP investigation has involved “targeting individual employees and contractors with threatening telephone calls, emails and letters.”

Issa’s committee has been conducting a broad probe of the Energy Department program that issued the $535 million loan guarantee to the solar panel company Solyndra, which went bankrupt last year.

While the Energy and Commerce Committee took the lead on the Solyndra inquiry, Issa has taken a wider look at the embattled loan program.

A spokesman for Issa, Frederick Hill, however, told The Hill that Cummings’s complaints were “without merit.”

“Before the Obama administration took office, Oversight Committee Democrats actually investigated concerns about the use of non-official email accounts violating federal recordkeeping and transparency laws,” Hill told the newspaper. “Under the Obama administration, however, they've taken an anything-goes approach to such violations.

“The evidence shows that the use of non-official email accounts at the Department of Energy was part of an intentional and widespread effort to hide discussions about coordination with private-sector companies and interactions with the White House about loans to political supporters,” he said.

Hill added that U.S. Marshals were brought in only after five DOE employees refused to be served via e-mail.

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