Ranking Members Waxman and DeGette Request Solyndra CEO Testimony

Sep 7, 2011

Today Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette sent a letter to Chairman Cliff Stearns urging him to invite Brian Harrison, president and CEO of Solyndra, to testify before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee at its September 14 hearing.  The Subcommittee will be examining the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program, focusing on a 2009 loan to Solyndra in light of the company’s recent bankruptcy announcement.

The full text of the letter is below.

September 7, 2011
The Honorable Cliff Stearns Chairman
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
House Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Stearns:

We understand that you have scheduled a hearing on September 14, 2011, to examine the Department of Energy’s 2009 loan guarantee to Solyndra and the recent announcement by the company that it is planning to file for bankruptcy.  We hope this hearing will help the Committee understand whether mistakes were made in the handling of this loan and how Congress can improve loan guarantee program and develop appropriate policies to promote clean energy technologies.   

We are writing to request that you invite Brian Harrison, chief executive officer of Solyndra, to testify at the hearing.  Less than two months ago, Mr. Harrison met with us and other Committee members to assure us that Solyndra was in a strong financial position and in no danger of failing.  At that time, he said the company was projected to double its revenues in 2011, there was “strong demand in the United States” for its shipments, and the company was expected to double the megawatts of panel production shipped this year.[1]  These assurances appear to contrast starkly with his company’s decision to file for bankruptcy last week.

Any thorough examination of the Solyndra loan guarantee should include the opportunity to ask Mr. Harrison about his representations.  He did not convey to us the perilous condition of the company and the Committee should know why.   

Thank you for your consideration of this request.     

Sincerely,

Henry A. Waxman
Ranking Member
Diana DeGette
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

cc:

The Honorable Fred Upton
Chairman
Committee on Energy and Commerce