Solyndra executives plead the Fifth Amendment

26. September 2011 | Top News, Industry & Suppliers | By:  Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger

Bankrupt solar company Solyndra's executives have refused to testify at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Commitee, despite being bombarded with questions from the commitee Republicans.

The Solyndra executives choose to remain silent for now while the Obama administration comes under Republican fire. Image: Flickr/jurvetson.

Solyndra's chief executive officer, Brian Harrison and chief financial officer, Brian Stover pleaded the Fifth Amendment more than 20 times when questioned by the Republicans in the committee on the failure of the federally-backed company and the possibility of repayment of some USD$535 million from the Department of Energy.

The House hearing has been highly anticipated, demanding answers to questions on the company's bankruptcy filing, the FBI investigations and the federal loan guarantees given by the Obama administration. The executives have been advised by their counsel to plead the Fifth and refuse to testify. Harrison is quoted as saying, "As much as I wish to be able to answer members’ questions, I’ve been advised by our counsel that the better course of action is to assert my constitutional right to decline questions."

The Democrats see the questionings as a 'badgering' of the witnesses and that the Republicans were using the case and their questions to put the support for renewable energy in a bad light.The Republicans on the other hand feel that it is their right to know what happened to taxpayers' money that was invested in the company.

Commitee Chairman Fred Upton went as far as to call the Solyndra failure "our own modern day great train robbery".


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