Energy Sec Braces for Tough Questions on Solyndra

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Energy Secretary Steven Chu is expected to face tough questions from Congress about his role in administration's loan to failed company Solyndra Thursday.

The federal government gave the solar panel manufacturer a $528 million loan, after which the company declared bankruptcy.

In prepared testimony to be given before a House committee, Chu said he made all decisions on Solyndra Inc. with the best interests of the taxpayer in mind.

"I want to be clear, over the course of Solyndra's loan guarantee, I did not make any decision based on political considerations," Chu says in testimony prepared for the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The committee has been investigating the loan agreement for the past nine months.

However, Chu may be forced to explain why he approved restructuring Solyndra's debt, a move that allowed two private investors to be repaid before taxpayers.

Chu has said the loan was subject to "proper, rigorous scrutiny" before it was approved in 2009.

In a joint statement, Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., said they intend to find out how decisions were made to guarantee and lend more than $500 million to Solyndra.

Upton chairs the energy panel while Stearns heads a subcommittee on investigations.

"We want to find out why the administration restructured the loan after Solyndra had reached a technical default, and how they explain putting private investors in line ahead of taxpayers," Stearns and Upton said.

"And we need to understand how all the warnings, from inside and outside the Department of Energy, were ignored and this risky bet was allowed to happen," they added.

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