This is not unprecedented, but its clear that the White House does not want congress poking its nose into this loan program at DOE. They would prefer that the focus stay on Solyndra so their PR operation can more easily handle the fall out.
President Obama's attorney sent a letter to Congressional investigators on Friday, saying the White House would not cooperate with a subpoena requesting documents related to its doling out a $535 million loan guarantee to now bankrupt solar panel manufacturer Solyndra.
"I can only conclude that your decision to issue a subpoena, authorized by a party-line vote, was driven more by partisan politics than a legitimate effort to conduct a responsible investigation," Obama's counsel, Kathryn Ruemmler, wrote in a letter to the top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce committee. (Read Ruemmler's full letter here).
Chairman Fred Upton was not pleased:
"We have been reasonable every step of the way in this investigation, and it is a shame that the Obama Administration and House Democrats continue to put up partisan roadblocks to hide the truth from taxpayers. Solyndra was a jobs program gone bad, and we must learn the lessons of Solyndra as we work to turn our economy around and put folks back to work. Our judicious and methodical work over the last eight months has garnered tens of thousands of pages of documents from DOE and OMB that have proven we are on the right track. Now, we need to know the White House's role in the Solyndra debacle in order to learn the full truth about why taxpayers now find themselves a half billion dollars in the hole.
It is troubling that any president rejects the authority of congress to subpoena documents. The Bush administration also rejected subpoenas they didn't much like so this is not a partisan matter. In this case, the House is trying to get to the bottom of how much influence on loan approvals to Democratic fundraisers and party big wigs did the White House have.
It is not likely this information will be revealed anytime soon.