Obama Personally Briefed on Troubled $OLYNDRA Program
President Obama’s staff arranged for him to be personally briefed last summer on a loan program to help clean-energy companies, two months before the program was thrust into headlines by the collapse of its flagship, the solar company Solyndra, records show.
About the same time, then-White House Chief of Staff William Daley resolved a dispute among administration officials over another project in the program, clearing the way for a $1.4 billion loan, according to documents and sources familiar with the situation.
The documents, a series of e-mails among Energy Department staff members involved in managing the program, provide new details about the level of White House involvement in the controversial initiative. White House officials have said in the past that final decisions about which companies would receive the loan guarantees were made by career staff members at the Energy Department, not political appointees.
The documents, provided to The Washington Post by Republican investigators for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, show that White House aides asked Energy Secretary Steven Chu to deliver a June 27, 2011, presentation to the president on the status of the loan program. The interest in a presidential briefing came as other senior administration figures were challenging parts of the program and debating whether the Energy Department was cutting deals that gave “unjust enrichment” to private companies.
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