Nov 062011

Stone wall on Inishmaan, Aran Islands, Galway Bay

The White House response to the Solyndra subpoena has been referred to as “rejecting” and  “pushing back”.   In the days of the Nixon administration it would have been called stonewalling.

Stonewalling is the term I’ve used in comment sections in various places on the web.   But more recently I’ve read the subpoena and the exchange of letters.  (Links are at the web site of Fred Upton’s Energy and Commerce committee.)  I haven’t exactly changed my view of what’s happening, but I do think some of us have allowed this scuffle to distract us from the main point.

I still am amazed that the White House can have already produced 85,000 pages of documents and then complained that providing the rest could distract the President from his constitutional duties.   If there are that many documents, it  seems that the White House’s dealings with the Solyndra loan have been a distraction from the President’s constitutional duties from the beginning.

It’s also interesting that the most political of presidents, the president who uses a tax paid trip to bash Republicans while campaigning for his jobs bill, would find it in himself to complain that Upton’s committee was engaging in political partisanship.

The fact that the White House saw fit to time its rejection for the Friday night news dump suggests that it isn’t completely comfortable with its own behavior.

But why is it necessary for the Energy and Commerce committee to go through this subpoena exercise?    If it’s just to find some grounds for damaging President Obama’s re-election prospects, that’s not really behavior any better than the government’s funneling a $1 million consulting fee for evaluating the options to Lazard Ltd., one of the biggest DNC contributors.

The problem is that when the government gets in the loan business, there are vast opportunities for political corruption — opportunities for insider dealing in government funds.   The fact that it’s difficult to determine whether or not the White House was doing special deals for its friends is all the information that the committee needs.  It doesn’t need any more documents to know that it should terminate the opportunity for corruption by terminating the loan program.   Going after one particular President doesn’t do anything about the root problem.