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“Despite concerns over the company’s financial viability, the Obama administration restructured Solyndra’s loan in February 2011, and put venture capitalists at the front of the line, ahead of taxpayers, in the event of bankruptcy, which was in violation of the plain letter of the law,” a statement by the committee released Thursday said.

Rep. Cliff Stearns, Florida Republican and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s investigations subcommittee, said at a hearing last week that the congressional probe turned up documents suggesting concerns within the government about the restructuring.

‘Spelled out’

“These concerns are spelled out in an email between [Office of Management and Budget] staff in late January 2011, which notes that, ‘While the company may avoid default with a restructuring, there’s also a good chance it will not. At that point, additional funds would have been put at risk, recoveries may be lower, and questions will be asked,’” Mr. Stearns said, reading from the email.

The congressional probe has widened in recent days with investigators now seeking information from Argonaut Private Equity and Madrone Capital Partners. The committee called on the investors to turn over any documents they had concerning Solyndra’s $535 million loan guarantee, awarded in 2009, as well as a $75 million credit facility the company announced receiving in February.

Congressional investigators also are seeking any documents the investors have concerning meetings or phone calls between the investors and the White House.

Argonaut is the investment arm of a foundation headed by billionaire Oklahoma businessman George Kaiser, who raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for Barack Obama’s 2008 election. Madrone Partners has ties to Wal-Mart’s Walton family. The Wal-Mart political action committee has leaned Republican over the years.

Meanwhile, Solyndra’s top two executives were expected to help provide some answers at a congressional hearing Friday. But after initially agreeing to voluntarily testify, the executives now plan to refuse to answer any questions by invoking the Fifth Amendment.

Solyndra’s collapse was swift. The bankruptcy was filed about two years after Mr. Chu and Vice President Joseph R. Biden announced approval of the loan guarantees. “This announcement today is part of the unprecedented investment this administration is making in renewable energy and exactly what the Recovery Act is all about,” Mr. Biden said at the time.

Mr. Obama, during a subsequent tour of the company, said the firm would hire 1,000 workers and make enough panels over the life of a plant it was building that it would be like replacing eight coal-fired power plants.