A key investor in the failed solar power company Solyndra, who was also a political donor to Barack Obama, strategized with his top executives about whether and how they should use their contacts inside the White House to help their failing business venture, according to emails surfaced by Congressional investigators Wednesday, ABC News reports.
"The White House has offered to help in the past and we do have a contact within the White House that we are working with," an adviser to billionaire Oklahoma oilman George Kaiser writes in an October 6, 2010 email. "I think the company is hoping we have some unnatural relationship that can open bigger doors — I've cautioned them that no one really has those relationships anymore."
Kaiser replies to Steve Mitchell, a senior executive at Kaiser's venture capital firm, that he should "pursue your contacts with the WH to follow up" but advises him not to directly ask, "Can you help with this?"
The release of the emails came as part of an escalating battle between Republicans in Congress and the White House over a subpoena for all of the internal communications about the $535 million government loan to Solyndra, a California solar panel manufacturer that went bankrupt. The White House has resisted the demand for documents, calling it a fishing expedition and an overreach for documents that have historically been protected. Congress has set Thursday as the deadline for the White House to comply with its demand for documents.
Within hours of the release of the internal emails between Kaiser and his advisers, Congressional investigators and administration officials were already disputing their significance.