House Democrats want Congress to expand an investigation of the solar firm Solyndra and other renewable-energy companies to include a bankrupt rural Internet provider that won the largest federal broadband loan in history during the Bush administration.
Three minority members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee suggested that the panel's Republicans are ignoring the risks surrounding Colorado company Open Range because the major loan it won was awarded when the GOP controlled the White House.
“Oversight should be conducted with an even hand. That requires giving a failed multi-million-dollar loan issued by the Bush Administration as much attention as failed multi-million-dollar loan guarantee issued by the Obama Administration.” the panel’s ranking member Henry Waxman, D-Calif., Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee ranking member Diana DeGette, D-Colo., and Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said in a letter Wednesday.
The urged the committee leaders to probe the $267 million Agriculture Department loan to Open Range, which filed for bankruptcy this month, “putting the taxpayers at risk for potentially large losses.”
Open Range did not wind up raking in the entire loan, according to its bankruptcy filing. It had been promised over five years. The company said in its filing it will try to sell off assets or eventually just cease operations. It claimed that access to spectrum made it difficult to break into the wireless market.