Republicans on the House Oversight Committee are expanding and ramping up their investigation into the Biden administration's decision to steer lucrative federal funding to major Democratic campaign donors, according to a letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
House Republicans have been investigating a $500 million federal loan to First Solar, a company co-owned by a Biden megadonor, since at least January. Now, they are also seeking information about nearly $3 million in federal contracts that were awarded to another major Biden donor's company. Both of the grants were first reported by the Free Beacon.
Committee members asked President Joe Biden's budget office in a letter on Thursday to turn over internal records related to the grants and loans. This follows a request by Republicans earlier this year for similar documents from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), one of the federal agencies that issued the funding.
The funding shows a "pattern of businesses associated with donors receiving substantial amounts of taxpayer money" and "raise[s] questions as to whether the administration is playing favorites with political donors," wrote House Oversight Committee ranking member James Comer (R., Ky.), Subcommittee on Environment ranking member Ralph Norman (R., S.C.), and other members on the committee in the letter to Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young on Thursday.
Republicans said they are seeking "documents and information about what, if any, safeguards and procedures are in place to protect taxpayers." This includes "documents and communications between employees of OMB" and federal agencies involved in the loan process, as well as "documents and communications related to any meetings" between OMB members and representatives of the Biden donors or their companies.
First Solar, the company that was awarded a $500 million DFC loan, is co-owned by Walmart billionaire heir Lukas Walton. Walton contributed $300,000 to Biden's presidential campaign and $100,000 to the Democratic National Committee in 2020, the Free Beacon reported last December.
Joe Kiani, who donated more than $1 million to the Biden Foundation and $750,000 to a pro-Biden super PAC, owns the Masimo Corporation, a medical technology company that has received nearly $3 million in federal contracts since Biden took office, the Free Beacon reported in March. The president has referred to Kiani as "one of my closest friends."
Republicans asked OMB to turn over the additional records by May 5.