The law firm K&L Gates has been retained by the bankrupt energy company Solyndra to represent the firm before a grand jury that has been investigating the $535 million loan guarantee given by the Obama Administration’s Department of Energy for the last two months.
Billing records from the law firm show that it was in contact with Solyndra at least 18 times dealing with issues related to the investigation.
Law enforcement officials have said little about their work to date in the Solyndra probe. In an email Tuesday, FBI spokeswoman Julianne Sohn confirmed a joint investigation continues with the Energy Department’s inspector general. “All affidavits remain sealed and we can’t comment any further,” she said.
Asked about the federal investigation, Bornstein replied in an email to POLITICO, “Solyndra is continuing to cooperate with the United States Attorneys Office in connection with its investigation.”
The Washington Times first reported details Tuesday night of the grand jury investigation.
K&L Gates attorneys also have been doing other work for Solyndra.
San Francisco partner Mikal Condon reviewed congressional testimony on Sept. 14, which was the same day the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee had originally planned to have Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison and CFO Bill Stover as witnesses. The two executives appeared Sept. 23, but invoked their Fifth Amendment rights and declined to answer any questions.
The Washington Times, which broke the story on Tuesday night, say that the investigation may center on “contractor issues”:
In October, Benjamin Schwartz, a vice president and lawyer at Solyndra, testified in a bankruptcy hearing that customer contract matters were “called out” in the FBI search warrant. During the FBI raid, he also said the federal agents had copied the company’s electronic database, and so investigators would have access to any information at Solyndra in an electronic format.
Mr. Schwartz’s testimony came after the U.S. Office of the Trustee, an arm of the Justice Department, accused Solyndra of refusing to discuss the company’s contracts in a bid to have a trustee take over the failed company. A judge denied the request.
Contracts also surface in the K&L billing records.
On Oct. 13, Mr. Bornstein participated in a conference call with “B. Schwartz regarding customer contract,” while another attorney reported participating in a conference “regarding customer contract” that same day, records show.
It’s a shame that wasting taxpayers money, awarding questionable federal contracts to companies invested in by campaign contributors, and rampant cronyism won’t be investigated by the prosecutor. But any criminal activity discovered by the grand jury should be used to show the disregard for the public purse by the Obama administration and their cynical use of federal dollars to reward friends and invest in dubious business ventures.