By Jim Snyder -Bloomberg News
Solyndra LLC, the failed company thatÂ House Republicans said may have benefited from White House political connections, unsuccessfully sought a meeting with environment chiefÂ Carol Browner to argue for the use of solar panels on government buildings, e-mails show.
Chris Fish, a lobbyist with McAllister & Quinn LLC in Washington, wrote the White House Energy and Climate Change office on July 12, 2010, to request a meeting between Solyndra executives and Browner, who was director of the office, according to e-mails the White House turned over to House investigators for the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Solyndra executives sought to â€œincrease U.S. government installation deployment of U.S.-made solar panels,â€ according to the e-mail from Fish.
The solar-panel maker, whose $535 million U.S. loan guarantee awarded in September 2009 is being investigated by the Republican-led energy committee, filed forÂ bankruptcy protection on Sept. 6. Two days later, its offices were raided by the FBI.
According to Fishâ€™s e-mail, the company was seeking to supply Solyndraâ€™s lightweight, thin-film solar panels to governmental agencies to install on the rooftops of government buildings and to extend â€œbuy Americanâ€ procurement provisions that favor U.S.-based suppliers.
â€œSolyndra is one of the very few solar panel manufacturers reaching large-scale production in the U.S.,â€ Fish said in the e-mail.
The Fremont, California-based solar-panel maker paid McAllister & Quinn more than $187,000 in 2010 and 2011 to lobby on its behalf, according to Senate records.
McAllister lobbyist Stephen Ham said in a follow-up e-mail on July 16, â€œApparently there is an issue with the government buying Chinese panels over U.S. manufactured ones.â€
Ham said yesterday the firm doesnâ€™t comment on its clients.
While White House officials initially suggested a meeting with Brownerâ€™s deputies, climate-office official Stephen Moilanen wrote back on July 20, rejecting the request.
â€œUnfortunately, we will be unable to accommodate this request at this time, as we feel this request would be better directed to theÂ Department of Energy itself,â€ Moilanen wrote Fish.
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