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The memo cited statutory language that the loan agreement “shall contain such detailed terms and conditions as the Secretary determines appropriate to protect the United States in a default.”

Under the restructuring, two private investment groups infusing $75 million into Solyndra — one group with ties to Oklahoma billionaire George Kaiser, the other with ties to Wal-Mart’s Walton family — were given priority to be repaid before taxpayers if the company collapsed.

The memo was released after a hearing this month in which two Treasury Department officials were called to testify. Democrats on the committee criticized the fact that Energy Department officials had not been invited to testify at that hearing to explain the memo, which they called on Republicans to release.

During the hearing, Mr. Upton said he had not read the memo but that after consulting with the Republican counsel on the committee, “It is clear to me that this is a key memo.

“It is clear to me that the Department of Energy violated the law when they agreed to subordinate the taxpayers’ money to private investors, some of whom appear to have been heavy contributors to President Obama’s campaign,” Mr. Upton said.

Mr. Silver, who resigned after his testimony in a September hearing, had testified that officials viewed the restructuring as the best opportunity to keep Solyndra running so taxpayers could recoup their money. When asked about the restructuring and the legal opinion justifying it at last month’s congressional hearing, Mr. Silver said he wasn’t a lawyer.

“You didn’t have a very good lawyer,” replied Rep. Phil Gingrey, Georgia Republican. “And I think you got bad advice.”

According to the Energy Department’s website, Ms. Richardson joined the department as chief counsel to its loans office in 2009 from private practice at the Washington law firm of O’Melveny & Myers. From 1994 to 1998, she was associate general counsel for the Overseas Private Investment Corp.

Bob Rizzi, a Washington lawyer who worked with Ms. Richardson in private practice, described her in an interview Thursday as a “great corporate transactional lawyer.”

“I’ve worked closely with her on a number of corporate deals,” he said. “Some of the deals we have worked on involved restructuring and other complex corporate transactions.”