- The Washington Times - Monday, January 30, 2012

A prominent Washington lobbying and public affairs firm has withdrawn a claim seeking more than $80,000 in unpaid fees for its work on behalf of bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra LLC.

The Glover Park Group withdrew the claim Friday after The Washington Times inquired about the filing. The firm had previously said it was not going to seek payment for lobbying work that went unpaid in the months before Solyndra went bankrupt.

Joel Johnson, managing director at the firm, said Glover Park’s accounting office processed the claim “as is routine in bankruptcies.”

He said he never sent Solyndra a bill for the firm’s work when it went bankrupt. He said the claim was filed because he didn’t reach out to the firm’s accounting department to ensure no claims were filed.

“Our accounting department has already spoken to the bankruptcy agent and informed them that we filed in error and did not intend to seek payment,” Mr. Johnson wrote in email to The Times.

Bankruptcy filings show Solyndra, which went bankrupt last fall, two years after receiving a more than a half-billion dollars in federal loan guarantees, paid Glover Park about $38,000 in the months before its collapse.

Mr. Johnson said those fees weren’t tied to lobbying work but represented public-relations services that the firm also had been providing Solyndra.

Six weeks before Solyndra announced it was broke, the company hired Glover Park to help arrange meetings between company officials and members of Congress.

In late July, Solyndra’s former chief executive, Brian Harrison, spoke at a news conference at Glover Park’s office, saying policymakers ought to “separate Solyndra and its business results from the political process that is ongoing,” Bloomberg News later reported.

In addition to its team of in-house lobbyists, Solyndra hired three other Washington lobbying firms in recent years: McAllister & Quinn, Washington Tax Group and McBee Strategic Consulting, records show.