White House should release loan documents

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has subpoenaed White House communications concerning the half-billion-dollar federal loan guarantee for failed California solar company Solyndra, which also is under criminal investigation and has ties to a major campaign donor to President Barack Obama.

We have yet to hear a good reason for the White House’s reluctance to turn over these communications, other than thousands of pages already have been made available. It’s typical in such matters for one side to deluge the other with extraneous documents, making the quest for meaningful information like searching for a needle in a haystack. The White House should be transparent on this issue, and not obfuscate.

We agree with Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., who said, “If the White House has nothing to hide, they should cooperate with this investigation and produce the documents.”

Solyndra filed bankruptcy in September after running through most, if not, all the $535 million loan guarantee that appears to have been rushed through the Department of Energy in 2009 without adequate screening and financed with federal stimulus dollars. Investors also were granted priority consideration for claims in bankruptcy ahead of taxpayers.

Republicans say documents already received indicate the White House was aware in October 2010 of Solyndra’s financial troubles and other red flags, but ignored warning signs.

Meanwhile, Beacon Power Corp., a Massachusetts-based energy-storage company, filed for bankruptcy last week, less than a year after receiving $43 million guaranteed by the government.

Republicans have introduced a House bill to require independent audits of all renewable-energy loan guarantees, as well as independent review for all future loans.

The White House should come clean so taxpayers can judge whether these unsound loans constitute triumphs of green ideology over prudent fiscal management, or perhaps something even more sinister.