November 9, 2011 / 7:15 PM / 8 years ago

Investor, White House discussed Solyndra loan-emails

* E-mails refer to meetings in Biden’s office, West Wing

* Republicans have subpoenaed more W.House documents

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON, Nov 9 (Reuters) - A major private backer of Solyndra discussed the company during meetings with White House officials, according to e-mails made public on Wednesday that were obtained by Republicans investigating the failed solar panel maker.

Republicans in the House of Representatives are probing the role of investors in decisions made on a $535 million government loan guarantee given to Solyndra, which went bankrupt in September and was raided by the FBI.

The White House and other Obama administration officials have said decisions on the aid were made on merit. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has subpoenaed the White House for documents, and are slated to grill Energy Secretary Steven Chu about the loan at a hearing next week.

The emails are between George Kaiser, a fundraiser for President Barack Obama, and two officials with his venture capital firm Argonaut Private Equity, and the George Kaiser Family Foundation.

In a Feb. 27, 2010 email, Ken Levit, executive director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, described reaction from unnamed officials in Vice President Joe Biden’s office during a meeting about stimulus funding to Steve Mitchell, managing director of Argonaut.

“They about had an orgasm in Biden’s office when we mentioned Solyndra,” Levit wrote.

A few days later, Mitchell described to Kaiser how Energy Secretary Steven Chu was “apparently staying involved in Solyndra’s application” for a second loan guarantee

In October, when Solyndra began running out of cash, Kaiser cautioned Mitchell and Levit against seeking help from the West Wing in an upcoming meeting, which Mitchell described as “more about assistance in selling panels to the government than it is about getting the DOE loan revised.”

“The WH (White House) has offered to help in the past and we do have a contact within the WH (White House) that we are working with,” Mitchell wrote Kaiser and Levit.

A White House official was not immediately available for comment on the e-mails.

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