Chicago mayor and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel repeatedly claimed he had no memory of the Obama administration’s controversial $535 million loan to failed solar company Solyndra, but White House emails released Thursday say it was Emanuel’s idea for the administration to tout the doomed firm.
In a batch of White House emails released in a report on Solyndra by the House Energy and Commerce Committee Thursday, White House aide Aditya Kumar wrote to Jacob Levine of the Office of Energy and Climate Change: "Feels like Rahm wants this too (barring any concerns) — POTUS involvement was Rahm’s idea."
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However, speaking to Chicago radio station WLS 890AM at a news conference in September, 2011, Emanuel said he did not remember anything about the failed investment loan by the Department of Energy, which critics say was fast-tracked to fit the White House’s political agenda.
"Ya know, I’m focusing on a major announcement today for the City Of Chicago," Emanuel said. "I don’t actually remember that or know about it."
Four weeks later, Emanuel again claimed he did not remember anything about the Solyndra loan.
Earlier emails revealed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee hinted at Emanuel’s involvement.
An assistant to Emanuel wrote on Aug. 31, 2009, to the Office of Management and Budget about the administration’s upcoming Solyndra announcement, and asked whether "there is anything we can help speed along on OMB side."
The director of the OMB at the time was Jack Lew, now White House Chief of Staff. The Washington Post reported Thursday that Lew allowed the Solyndra loan to be restructured despite warnings from his staff about the firm’s viability.