An Obama administration appointee at the Energy Department pressed White House analysts to sign off on a $535 million loan to Solyndra even though his wife worked for the failed solar panel maker's law firm, according to internal e-mails made public on Friday.
The revelation adds new drama to a political battle over the administration's backing for Solyndra, which has filed for bankruptcy and has been raided by the FBI. The newly disclosed e-mails reveal "a disturbingly close relationship" between the White House, campaign donors, and wealthy investors relating to Solyndra, congressional Republicans said.
The e-mails show frequent inquiries from Steven Spinner, who was an adviser to the Energy Department on its use of economic stimulus funding to spur clean-energy technology, on the Solyndra loan, according to a report in The New York Times.
On September 29, the Energy Department had posted a "fact check" on Spinner's involvement in the Solyndra case on its Web site, explaining that he started his job after the company received conditional approval for its loan application.
The department said Spinner "was recused from engaging in any discussions on decisions affecting specific loan applications in which his spouse's law firm was involved out of concern for the appearance of a conflict of interest." … Read more