GOP investigators rip Solyndra execs for refusing to testify

A perfect opportunity for political theater. Here’s Act I.

“Who exactly are Solyndra’s executives trying to protect and what are they trying to hide?

Despite repeated assurances that they would testify voluntarily and answer questions this Friday, today we received the news that these executives – who had plenty to say to federal officials when securing half a billion dollars in taxpayer funding for their venture – plan to invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and will not answer questions from Congress.

“Our investigation has gotten this far without much cooperation from Solyndra, and it will continue with or without their voluntary testimony. It’s disappointing that the officials who canvassed the halls of Congress in mid-July and misled our members about the financial state of their company are now unwilling to answer direct questions, but any effort to cover up the truth will ultimately not succeed. We will not allow stonewalling by DOE, OMB, Committee Democrats, Solyndra, or anyone else to stop this investigation into what happened to half a billion dollars of the taxpayers’ money.

“Both Mr. Stover and Mr. Harrison will be sworn in under oath this Friday. We have many questions for Solyndra’s executives on their dealings with the Obama administration, their efforts to secure federal support for a project that appeared doomed from the outset, and why they made certain representations to Congress regarding their dire financial situation just two months ago. We would encourage Mr. Harrison and Mr. Stover to reconsider this effort to dodge questions under oath and hide the truth from those American taxpayers who are now on the hook for their $500 million bust.”

That’s from a joint statement released earlier this evening by Fred Upton and Cliff Stearns. They’d better make sure they follow through with Act II on Friday: The temptation with witnesses who take the Fifth is to end the interrogation after the first few questions, once it becomes clear that they don’t intend to answer. Don’t succumb. Go through the entire list of questions and make them assert the privilege to each and every one, as time-consuming as that might be. The sheer volume of queries is a statement in itself, and from a theatrical standpoint, it’s obviously more useful for news soundbite purposes to have the executives refusing to answer especially pointed questions that might come later in the interrogation than introductory ones that come at the beginning. They have the right not to respond but not the right not to squirm. Not after half a billion in taxpayer money went down the toilet.

Via Misfit Politics, here’s a remixed promo video for everyone’s favorite solar-energy company.