The House Oversight Committee has released a memorandum containing more emails that suggest the White House was putting political pressure on Department of Energy employees to fast track government-backed loan guarantees for green energy firms, despite the Obama administration having publicly denied that politics played any role.
“This memo outlines key information the Committee has recently uncovered that suggests statements by the President and others in his Administration were misleading and that the White House, senior Administration officials, and President Obama himself played key roles in the Loan Guarantee Program,” according to the memo.
“And these are decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics,” President Obama told KUSA’s Kyle Clark last week.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu, White House senior adviser David Plouffe, and Loan Program Office Chief David Frantz have also previously said that politics played no role in the decision to issue loan guarantees, and projects were chosen based on their own merits.
“I am aware of no communication from White House to Department of Energy saying to make the loan or to restructure,” Secretary Chu testified before Congress in November 2011.
However, the public comments run counter to emails just released by the Oversight Committee, as well as previously released emails.
“Jonathan just said at our staff meeting that, opposite the message received on Thursday, AREVA is now a ‘go’ (seems on Friday POTUS himself approved moving it ahead),” wrote David Schmitzer, DOE LPO Director of Loan Origination, in an email dated March 1, 2010 to LPO Credit Advisor McCrea and others.
AREVA, a French nuclear power firm, was granted a conditional $2 billion loan guarantee for uranium enrichment services in May 2010.