DOE loan chief warned staff that personal e-mail could be subpoenaed

posted at 4:41 pm on August 15, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

Tuesday, the Washington Post reported on documents showing that Jonathan Silver, the former head of the Department of Energy’s $38 billion clean-energy loan guarantee program, directed a staff member not to use personal e-mail addresses in official DOE correspondence in order to prevent personal accounts from becoming eligible for government subpoena — and did so a matter of days before the now-failed, $500-million-loan-recipient solar company Solyndra went bankrupt.

“Don’t ever send an email on doe email with a personal email addresses,” Silver wrote Aug. 21, 2011, from his personal account to a program official’s private Gmail account. “That makes them subpoenable.” …

Silver repeatedly communicated about internal and sensitive loan decisions via his personal e-mail, the newly released records show, and more than a dozen other Energy Department staff members used their personal e-mail to discuss decisions involving taxpayer-funded loans as well. The Washington Post received the e-mails from Republican investigators on the committee. …

Silver said Tuesday that he did not mean to avoid congressional scrutiny. “I intended to advise my DOE colleagues to use their official email for official purposes and personal email for personal purposes,” he said in a statement. “It was never my intention to avoid the requirements of the Federal Records Act.”

…The White House and Chu have repeatedly asserted that the Energy Department staff made all loan decisions based on merit, without regard to politics or donors. …

Silver wrote on June 12, 2011, to David Lane, counsel to White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, arguing that approving a loan to a solar-generation facility called Project Amp would help Obama politically.

Despite Silver’s protestations, this all looks more than a little bit sketchy. Perhaps instead of worrying over how to avoid making loan-related correspondence subject to Congressional subpoena, maybe they should have been worrying about — oh, I don’t know — not doing things that would make a Congressional subpoena cause for alarm?

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-California) sent a letter to DOE Secretary Steven Chu on Tuesday, calling out him and his Department for apparently providing false testimony to Congress concerning the energy loan program.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, along with Subcommittee Chairmen Jim Jordan and Trey Gowdy, asked Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to clarify apparently false testimony to Congress about efforts to conceal documents from investigators and White House involvement in the Department of Energy Loan Program that used taxpayer funds to support companies including Solyndra.  The request comes after the Committee obtained documents from individual non-official e-mail accounts contradicting the testimony.

“Recently-obtained documents show DOE officials frequently used Yahoo! and Gmail to communicate about the loan guarantee program,” Issa, Jordan, and Gowdy wrote to Chu.  “This use of non-government e-mail accounts for official business may have violated the Presidential Records Act (PRA) and the Federal Records Act (FRA).  The documents also show that testimony given to the Committee by current and former DOE officials, including you, was inaccurate, and may have been intentionally false.”

Issa, never one to let governmental dodginess slide, plans to pursue the matter:

Rep. Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, plans as soon as Wednesday to ask for personal e-mails related to Department of Energy business from ten current and former Department of Energy employees who served during the Obama Administration and participated in the program that gave loan guarantees to Solyndra, the failed solar firm that received a $528 million loan guarantee, and other companies, according to a congressional aide familiar with the investigation.

I’m sure Democrats were hoping that the Solyndra issue would conveniently fade away, seeing as how President Obama is still actively pushing for more government “investment” in politically-popular clean energies and they don’t feel the need to remind anyone of the Department of Energy’s many failures, but this administration has had a little too much cronyism and “business as usual” for comfort.


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Now why would anyone need to worry about a subpoena? What?

Bishop on August 15, 2012 at 4:45 PM

DOE loan chief warned staff that personal e-mail could be subpoenaed…

The criminals in the corrupt cesspool of the OBOZO regime begin their cover-up even before they finish with the crime. OBOZO’s AG (and Black Panther Party supporter and defender) holder must be really, really proud of these guys.

TeaPartyNation on August 15, 2012 at 4:45 PM

“Recently-obtained documents show DOE officials frequently used Yahoo! and Gmail to communicate about the loan guarantee program,” Issa, Jordan, and Gowdy wrote to Chu. “This use of non-government e-mail accounts for official business may have violated the Presidential Records Act (PRA) and the Federal Records Act (FRA). The documents also show that testimony given to the Committee by current and former DOE officials, including you, was inaccurate, and may have been intentionally false.”

…transparency…transparency…transparency!
IT’S OUR MONEY YOU SOB!

KOOLAID2 on August 15, 2012 at 4:49 PM

Next weeks headlines.

“Dept of Energy purchasing hundreds of thousands of rounds of military ammo in a race to keep up with the Social Security Agency–congress still not curious why?”

Don L on August 15, 2012 at 4:49 PM

The Most Transparent Administration Evah!!!

Bitter Clinger on August 15, 2012 at 4:49 PM

another nothing burger
racists!!11!!!
Bush’s staff removed all the “O’s” from the computers!!! we had to do that

DanMan on August 15, 2012 at 4:55 PM

SOP. Move along–nothing to see here.

davidk on August 15, 2012 at 4:58 PM

It will be a JOY holding you zealots accountable. You are going to exposed as either corrupt or the new clergy of a pagan religion. Get ready because LAW is coming.

harlekwin15 on August 15, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Silver said Tuesday that he did not mean to avoid congressional scrutiny. “I intended to advise my DOE colleagues to use their official email for official purposes and personal email for personal purposes,” he said in a statement. “It was never my intention to avoid the requirements of the Federal Records Act.”

Yeah, right. You know how to intend to advise on that subject? Write, “Use office email accounts for official purposes and personal e-mail for personal purposes.” Then you add, “Doing otherise, will mean a 60 day suspension without pay. Second violation and violators will be subject to firing.”

That will make the intention clear, unlike his obfuscatory ‘Please don’t make it so obvious that we will get caught!’

I’m not impressed with the inadvertently constant effort by bureaucrats to suggest that their jobs are of the rocket science category, when all they’re really doing is making it plain that most of them should be fired for incompetence.

And that goes for the corrupt ones, in particular.

Dusty on August 15, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Repeat after me:

Consciousness of Guilt

Mr Snuggle Bunny on August 15, 2012 at 5:04 PM

This is a surprising development…

workingclass artist on August 15, 2012 at 5:05 PM

They’re not even smart criminals, are they?

stukinIL4now on August 15, 2012 at 5:08 PM

The hits just keep on coming.

…and so does the mere hand-wringing and utter lack of tangible action and actually holding people accountable.

It’s all super cool and good that the lip service and sensationalist fluff is being deployed at colossal levels. But when the fark are the people in the positions to do so going to start actually mitigating and neutralizing the liars, cheats, and scofflaws? None have yet to be held the least bit officially accountable by being either impeached, fired, prosecuted, PUNISHED, simply removed from their position of power, or any combination thereof [except for the actual whistleblowers, of course] given the facts already known. You can point fingers and make accusations of illegal wrongdoing and present tales and evidence of illegal behavior all day long — but it does nothing to stop it from continuing if you don’t hold anyone — whatsoever — accountable, or prosecute to whatever degree is available, PROVE YOUR CASE, and then punish the convicted.

Talk, drama, talk, drama, talk, drama, wash, rinse, repeat — ad nauseam. All the nation gets is showboating and grandstanding — nothing more. The fox guarding the hen house and the hens dwelling within have an agreement or understanding, perhaps? It sure seems like it.

Between these crimes and F&F — and the heaping helpings of other scofflaw scandals on his plate — Issa is clearly demonstrating that he is amounting to little more than an incessantly barking toothless dog. All bark — no bite — unless you feel that gumming is actually biting. Yeah — gum them into submission Darrell!

DO SOMETHING REAL FFS!

FlatFoot on August 15, 2012 at 5:10 PM

I don’t want to spoil the party but this is pretty standard in gov’t ethics briefings. First day on the job, you get the “Never do business on a personal e-mail account unless you want your personal e-mail to be subject to subpoena someday.” Same warning for personal laptops, etc., etc.

Chuckles3 on August 15, 2012 at 5:11 PM

First day on the job, you get the “Never do business on a personal e-mail account unless you want your personal e-mail to be subject to subpoena someday.” Same warning for personal laptops, etc., etc.

Chuckles3 on August 15, 2012 at 5:11 PM

directed a staff member not to use personal e-mail addresses in official DOE correspondence in order to prevent personal accounts from becoming eligible for government subpoena — and did so a matter of days before the now-failed, $500-million-loan-recipient solar company Solyndra went bankrupt.

a capella on August 15, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Yeah what could possibly be cause for investigation in that department? Bonus question: How many inter-office affairs will turning over these rocks reveal?

CitizenEgg on August 15, 2012 at 5:18 PM

AP reports…

There appears to be an UNEXPECTED violation of federal laws pertaining to “non-government e-mail accounts for official business” by officials in the The Chosen One’s administration. We expect our Chosen One to clear up this matter in an upcoming email or youtube video.

David in ATL on August 15, 2012 at 5:22 PM

I don’t want to spoil the party but this is pretty standard in gov’t ethics briefings. First day on the job, you get the “Never do business on a personal e-mail account unless you want your personal e-mail to be subject to subpoena someday.” Same warning for personal laptops, etc., etc.

[Chuckles3 on August 15, 2012 at 5:11 PM]

Nah, you aren’t spoiling a party except in maybe reinforcing the conclusion that Silver’s explanation is unconvincing.

FlatFoot, above, is right. Laxity in enforcement has caused every two-bit criminal and con artist to believe they would be on Easy Street if only they could be employed by the Federal government. And that is where they have gravitated to. And it’s not just the outright illegal stuff that draws, it the fundamental impression that there is a huge amount of money there just for the taking legally (and I’m not just talking gray areas) as long as you are employed there.

Dusty on August 15, 2012 at 5:26 PM

Chu-Gate.

BobMbx on August 15, 2012 at 5:35 PM

My company always tells me not to use company email for personal transactions. Everytime I log in I get a disclaimer that ANYTHING I do on company eqiupment is open to the company.

Politricks on August 15, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Between these crimes and F&F — and the heaping helpings of other scofflaw scandals on his plate — Issa is clearly demonstrating that he is amounting to little more than an incessantly barking toothless dog. All bark — no bite — unless you feel that gumming is actually biting. Yeah — gum them into submission Darrell!

DO SOMETHING REAL FFS!

FlatFoot on August 15, 2012 at 5:10 PM

What?

No seriously what more can we do? I mean I guess we can have the parade of the loser ideologue freaks go before house sub committees and maybe Impeach BAM!

Then what?

Not mocking you either…..

Holder runs DOJ and has made it quite plain he is the palace guardsman. You want justice you go out and try to convince people of this reality that will make you look crazy at once…..

Ok ready?

1) eric hoder’s DoJ initiated a program suborning violations of US gun law to allow weapons to be smuggled to drug cartels in Mexico whose use has led to the death of 2 USBP agents, at least 300-1200 Mexican nationals in mexico and is met by the whitehouse with a “shrug”

2) Van Jones friend of the President and noted borderline eco-communist was given billions of dollars to engage in venture $ociali$m in the early stages of the Barack administration…estimates range from 24-37 billion in funds with a very chaotic paper trail

3) the dept of energy illegally ignored court orders to expedite the permit process for the resumption of production after the gulf oil spill everyone seems to have forgotten

4) the department of energy lobbied for loans in the billions of dollars to politically connected “solar companies” against the advice of US accountants and loan analysts “because”

5) the head of DHS is running a reverse sexism sorority house but still manages to find the time to call all veterans who are not members of her political party “potential domestic terrorists” despite the fact their skill set and love for their nation were gained in and what lef them in the first place to service…..same person deems Major Hasan’s attack “workplace violence” despite ideological based intent…..

I mean I’ve barely scratched the surface….

would you like me to go on?

Now think of your low information voter friends….who get their “news” from the Daily Show….

how much of this do they know?

Get it? We have to take the government back and use OUR DoJ to FINALLY enforce the law….

without deference to race, creed, faith or political party like the whole “equal justice under law thing” says.

and THAT is why they are terrified of losing power the media was supposed to control the narrative where this was gonna be a cakewalk and it is NOT because people sense but don’t KNOW something is WAY off the tracks here….

he spent 5.2 trillion and climbing in deficit spending to no apparent gain….

“neat trick” I’ll bet SOMEBODY gained.

harlekwin15 on August 15, 2012 at 5:37 PM

AP reports…

There appears to be an UNEXPECTED violation of federal laws pertaining to “non-government e-mail accounts for official business” by officials in the The Chosen One’s administration. We expect our Chosen One to clear up this matter in an upcoming email or youtube video.

David in ATL on August 15, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Yeah it is a lot like “grimmilestones” ain’t it?

No really…NOTHING IS A SCANDAL with this guy and his lackeys after we sent Scooter Libby to jail and will not pardon him for NOT leaking Valerie Plame’s SOOPER SEKRIT identity….

I’m amazed we have ANY loyalty from our staff members given how over the top BARK has been getting his protected…

Nice work trolls…you guys do it again!

We’re gonna beat you and we’re gonna put the accused on trial and if we get convictions some of these folks will go to jail.

harlekwin15 on August 15, 2012 at 5:40 PM

How many of the DSM outlets will actually pick up this story at all?

:-(

Mary in LA on August 15, 2012 at 5:46 PM

The documents also show that testimony given to the Committee by current and former DOE officials, including you, was inaccurate, and may have been intentionally false.”

Anyone else beginning to see a pattern here?

Odd for the Administration that touted itself as “the most honest, most open, most transparent administration, evah!”

GarandFan on August 15, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Issa is relentless…

right2bright on August 15, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Del Delmonte
I’d really like to know what kinda cool name were gonna give this fake scandal ………..

angrymike on August 15, 2012 at 6:58 PM

‘Most transparent administration evar!’

rayra on August 15, 2012 at 7:13 PM

“sketchy”?

That’s an understatement, especially given what we already know they were doing.

Where there is smoke, there is fire.

Adjoran on August 15, 2012 at 7:26 PM

How much more information do they need to complie before it becomes clear that impeachment must happen??! Obama and his enablers are truly Enemies of the State!!

And….will someone in Congress please find out why all these agencies are buying massive quantities of ammunition?? What is going on????

azconservativegirl on August 15, 2012 at 8:46 PM

“For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.”
Luke 12:2

I have noticed for quite some time, that the above Scripture has been applicable to this Administration. Can’t remember when it first started tho, but it has been repeated and repeated.

bluefox on August 15, 2012 at 10:02 PM