Congress can’t peek At President’s Blackberry
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. (Getty Images and Brian Yaklyvich/CNN)
October 14th, 2011
07:55 PM ET

Congress can’t peek At President’s Blackberry

Congress isn’t getting a glimpse of what’s on President Obama’s Blackberry – or any more internal White House communications related to the controversial federal loan guarantee to the solar panel manufacturer Solyndra.

The House Republicans investigating the loan controversy had requested all internal White House documents about the issue, and the chairman of the relevant oversight and investigations subcommittee, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), had said that their request included e-mails on the President’s Blackberry. Today the White House counsel sent a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee explaining that they won’t comply with the request because it “implicates longstanding and significant institutional Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”

Given past administrations’ refusal to comply with similar congressional requests, the response is hardly a surprise. What’s the difference this time? President Obama is the first Chief Executive to carry a Blackberry, so it’s the first time a White House counsel has – even indirectly – turned down an attempt to peek at a president’s personal email. Neither the Blackberry nor his personal email is explicitly mentioned in the White House counsel’s letter.

On October 5, Stearns and Energy Committee Chairman Fred Upton requested “all communications among White House staff and officials related to the $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra” because they believed “the White House was closely involved in the monitoring of the Solyndra loan guarantee after it was issued.” They said these documents are necessary “to better understand the involvement of the White House in the review of the Solyndra loan guarantee and the Administration’s support of this guarantee.”

In her letter today, White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler says “the three federal agencies most directly involved in the Solyndra loan guarantee, the Department of Energy, the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of the Treasury, are all cooperating with the Committee’s investigation into the Solyndra loan guarantee.” Together, Ruemmler says the three agencies have turned over 70,000 pages of documents and are continuing to do so “on a rolling basis.” The letter also states that the White House has turned over another 900 pages related to communications between the White House and Solyndra, its representatives and investors. She offers to cooperate further with the investigators.

CNN has attempted to reach the Chairs of the Energy and Commerce Committee for comment. Expect some kind of political fallout.

Topics: Oversight • President Obama

soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Trace

    Forget it Teaturds! We're talking about a loan gone bad and now you want to investigate the president's blackberry???. Did the Democrats have a snowball's chance in HELL of getting Dubya's communique's on the reasons to attack Iraq? Let's see, over 4K soldiers dead, over $3Trillion lost and its now a satellite for IRAN.....Oh that's right, we found the WMDs...DUH. THERE WEREN'T ANY.... Geesh these people in the redumblican party or insane

    October 14, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • Jay in NC

      You think it was wrong that President Bush did not release his communiques yet it is OK that Barry does the same? Or is it that because you think President Bush did something wrong that Barry gets a free pass? The hypocritical Left. So much for being transparent.

      October 14, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
      • Trace

        @Jay In NC

        Come one "J" don't show your ignorance. There has never been a Business Venture in the History of Capitalism that there wasn't a chance to fail. Some businesses are successful and some fail....ITS ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY. Since we do we go investigating a President when a business fails (?) We've never done that.

        So get a grip, try a reasonably based opinion, make sense for once.

        October 15, 2011 at 9:44 am |
      • jean2009

        @Trace reasonable and Jay in the same sentence is an oxymoron.

        October 15, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
      • If I had a penny for every stupid Republican

        Bush should have been impeached.

        October 16, 2011 at 12:56 am |
      • Reason

        Yet, nobody cares about the billions given in subsidies to the oil industry while they make record profits.

        October 16, 2011 at 1:05 am |
      • CD

        I believe the poster has a somewhat legit gripe though Jay about the past administration and we (you, me and most every other average person) wont ever know for sure that the president really believed there were WMDs or if he knew and or suspected the intel was fabricated before he even asked for authorization to invade.
        As for Obama, I'm willing to entertain letting an independent investigator look at the emails including the blackberry ones as long as its stipulated that its limited only the ones regarding this issue but I also want one to look into things like an even deeper look into the scooter libby leak and the wmd intel and if any crimes were committed I want them prosecuted.

        October 16, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • RJ

      Obama has something to hid on his blackberry from his poor liberal base or else he would release them.

      October 15, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  2. ustaknow

    of course he will hide what he knew- does anyone expect anything different- i mean this is the man that let the dead vote for him in last election

    October 14, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • nam_vet6869

      The dead vote in EVERY election and always for Democrats, they are considered to be voters until the Rapture.

      October 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • jboh

      More TEA trash mythology.

      October 16, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • Trace

      Wow that's got to be the most stupid, vaccuous, innane, ignorant, fox news dumb dumb remark I've ever heard. Obama won 54% of all electoral votes...are you telling me that equates to nearly 60 million dead people voting? Nobody reported the election as a day of the dawn of the living dead(?)

      I believe Bush JR go elected by the Supreme Court but I've never seen Dead People vote and certainly in this large a number. better check that tea you're drinking its spiked

      October 16, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Alex

      Please stop watching Fox, it not news.

      October 17, 2011 at 7:23 am |
  3. molleja

    So much for 'transparency" this president promised. He is knee deep in lies, deceit and fraud with the Solyndra and Fast & Furious cover-ups. shame on him!

    October 14, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • lisa2010

      YOU DON'T KNOW THAT, YOUR'E JUST AS DUMB IS THE DUMBPUBLICANS, WHO MADE YOU JUDGE AND JURY, OUR PRESIDENT IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.. i think the only thing he's guilty of is believiing this company can make it with all the competitions from china he still believe in solar energy, and i too, cause i have it and it cuts down my electric by 75 percent... so go join those republicans, you don't like our president show it at the polls and vote republican... you seem to have a circus on your side.

      October 15, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • jean2009

      And your and Jay's motives are a lot more transparent...ever the squealing pigs. Shame on you!

      October 15, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  4. Liz Carter in Georgia

    No Jay; the issue is not about liberal hypocracy! It's about conservative congressional hypocracy. Trace, you're right! They're the hypocritical ones, who even had the audacity to request to see his blackberry; at the same time knowing that 'given the past administrations' refusal to comply with simular requests'. They keep trying to catch him red-handed and off-guard but they can't; Nothing that'll stick anyway! These blog cons will say and twist anything that could put this PRESIDENT in a bad light!

    October 15, 2011 at 12:41 am |
  5. If I had a penny for every stupid Republican

    About time the Prez told these morons to pound sand.

    October 15, 2011 at 4:04 am |
    • nam_vet6869

      So, what about when he by-passes Congress and does thing against the Constitution. He is talking about going ahead with the Jobs Bill even if the Congress turns it down. Funny thing, the Senate shut it down this time on a bipartisan vote. He is not happy about that even if he has been saying they should get together on these things. I remind my fellow Conservatives that it does not matter how much Obama gets away with, after the election the Democrats will suddenly find that things can not be done that way. Like Obama said it was Stupid to raise taxes in a recession, he is right, but now he wants to raise taxes. The thing you have to remember is Politations same same Con Man.

      October 15, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  6. KatR

    This smells like the time when the GOP tried to investigate and impeach Clinton. When the majority of Americans reelected him the GOP had no other cards to play except to waste time trying to prove the man was corrupt. Today the majority of Americans support Pres. Obama's jobs bill. And the GOP is now wasting time and money trying to show the American people that Obama is corrupt. Guess they must be scared. We're talking about one company out of 8 that got solar loans. One company that went belly up. We've got a deficit and debt that tallies into the trillions of dollars and the GOP wants to zero in on a half-billion loan that went bad. Makes no sense.

    October 15, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  7. Trace

    I just don't know what it is about the Re-dumblicans-GOP/Tea Pee pants people. They spend all this time with straw man arguments; as if intelligent people can't see right through their vaccous statements (just outright stupid). I mean come on, we democrats put up with a Supreme Court elected Bush Jr for 8 years. Yeah, lil Dubya was a nice nice (I guess) but dude was not the sharpest pen in the box and EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD KNEW IT! So I guess now that we have an intelligent president, someone that can actually construct a proper sentence, the idiot GOP/Tea Pee Pants Redumblicans can only complain. These people are used to Dubya stumbling all over himself and everything else.

    Do you think for one moment, even one iota, these people complained about the obvious mistakes the Bush/Cheney Cabal continually made? Nope...Radio Silent....Fricken Crickets! Stuff like: Mission Accomplished, Wanted Dead or Alive, Deficits don't matter....all classics in the Redumblican play list of history, making us a laughing stock.

    Now that THIS PRESIDENT has stopped us from losing 750K jobs per month (slight but steady job growth), got us out of Iraq, Finished off the legacy of Osama Bin Laden and most of Al Qaeda, given many americans hope they don't have to go broke to get healthcare, ALL WITHOUT THE HELP OF ANY IDIOT COUNTRY HATING REDNECK GOP/Tea Pee Pants person, we can finally see things getting better.

    But in the meantime, we still have to deal with the usual idiot posts by "too dumb for prime time followers" Notwithstanding, things are getting better. Really...Its just that so many people were ruined over the past 10 years.

    October 15, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Jay in NC

      So much for Barry being the smartest guy in the room. Check out the CNN story about the health care debacle.

      Called the CLASS Act (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports), the program was canceled by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius after a 19-month effort to find a way to make it financially viable.

      Maybe he should have listened to the Republicans.

      October 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
      • jean2009

        The CLASS (Community Living Assistance Services & Support) Act was basically to provide a source for insuring people who wished to purchase insurance for their future long term care needs.This was to be a volunteer program in which workers paid a monthly premium. In return, they would receive future cash later in life to pay for long term care services such as nursing home care.

        That it isn't feasible at this time doesn't mean it won't be in the future.

        Frankly, listening to the Peapotty/Rethugliklans about health care in this country is not sane, and not an option.

        October 15, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
      • jboh

        If President Obama had followed W's example, he would have doubled down on keeping this program. Instead, after finding it flawed, it was dropped. It's called responsible leadership. When something doesn't work, you drop it. TEA/GOP never admit one of their many policy failures. They just push harder to continue them. That's called irresponsible fanaticism.

        October 16, 2011 at 8:53 am |
      • Trace


        Smarts is not part of your Redumblican / GOP Tea Pee Pants party is it?. Its so funny you say Obamacare fails with this little snipet of news regarding the sustainability of CLASS, which had to do with long term care, for which my mom needs. And to show your stupidity you pick up on just that section as the failure of the entire law.

        You are a moron...plain and simple.

        October 16, 2011 at 11:39 am |
      • Jay in NC


        You say "show your stupidity you pick up on just that section as the failure of the entire law."
        Why don't you take time to read what I posted. I never said that the entire law has failed. Ironic that you would draw such a conclusion then turn around and call me a moron.

        October 16, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
      • jean2009

        Jay don't try to wiggle out of it. Your first paragraph sums the total health care bill up as a Heath Care debacle, and that was before you even specify one aspect, and then you did not make it clear what the CLASS ACT actually is. Which means you spoke without doing research.

        Sad to say, had the CLASS ACT been feasible and affordable, it would have saved everyone who pays taxes money...and it would have helped cut the overall cost of medicare funding considerable.

        It is a shame you obviously don't have a clue.

        October 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  8. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Now that IS the 'butt-naked' truth! I agree with you 100%. You go girl! One more thing I'd add is the fact that not only is Pres Obama an intelligent President, (man of discernment, wisdom, skilled thoughtfulness, courage, compassion, charisma, respect, and yet an aire of humbleness), who can properly construct a sentence; the biggest problem with those EVIL red-necked GOP/Teaparty idiots, and their enthusiasts is that he's a black man with all that sense! 'NOW IF THAT DON'T JUST BEAT ALL'! They hate it!!

    October 15, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Jay in NC

      You call someone one Redneck – "derogatory slang term used in reference to poor white farmers" then claim they are racist?

      October 15, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
      • jboh

        If the shoe fits. TEA is racists. TEA is little more than a front for John Birch cross burners.

        October 16, 2011 at 8:55 am |
      • Trace

        Wow Jay! Did you find that in your latest edition of Funk and Wagnals, or did you google it. Either way, congratulations on learning something from a source other than Faux news, a place for the mentally inept and incompetent.

        Here's a little advise from my great grandmother....As it relates to any offense taken for the use of the word Redneck: IF YOU THROW A ROCK AT A PACK OF DOGS, THE ONE THAT GETS HIT IS THE ONE THAT WILL YELP.

        Are you yelping? LOL

        October 16, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  9. Liz Carter in Georgia

    ...The best thing they can do is to sit up behind their computers, spin and spew to dismantle this truth; but the problem IS, it's only going over or working for their counter-parts; other stupid, evil red-necked GOPsters and Teaparty teadrinkers! LOL! The CONSERVATIVE RIGHT may be sitting on half of the money earned in the US, but they're finally being zoomed in on and uncovered! They are not 'we the people', meaning they are not 'the majority'! In this country, the policy has ALWAYS been MAJORITY RULES!

    October 15, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  10. Andrew

    I wonder what the language in Obama's text messages is like. I mean, he reads very well off the prompter, but we never really see his informal communication. I wonder if he has a professional text writer on staff.

    October 15, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  11. krehator

    Bush exercised the same privileges.

    October 15, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  12. If I had a penny for every stupid Republican

    Look at those two morons; the comb-overs are hilarious. There is absolutely no way that Obama will turn over the communications they are requesting. The Republithugs are up to their typical antics. This GOP/Tea Party Wags were supposedly elected to create jobs. True to form they all jumped on all the divisive social issues that neither side will ever agree on. Where are the jobs you promised you pathetic gang of losers?

    October 16, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • Zach

      Hey, whats the last good thing democrats have done?, all you guys want to do is spend money which is screwing up our nation, thanks to you.

      October 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  13. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Well if the shoe fits! Jay, I don't know where you got your definition or reference for red-neck from, but I know there aren't many people black nor white reference that term to 'poor white farmers', especially not blacks! We look at them as the lynchers! Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy doesn't either. It's strange you don't venture to call out your conservative counter-parts for call me and other liberals names like low-lifes, scumbags, porch monkeys, mj smokers, even 'lazy ass welfare recipients'!

    October 16, 2011 at 2:16 am |
  14. Liz Carter in Georgia

    @Notfooled, Jean2009, C-Lo and to those who have shown concern and may be concerned with me and my mentioning of my 94 year old Mother. Except for leaving the GOD-FEARING, intelligent, honest, forthright, equality and justice seekers, she transitioned from this EVIL place yesterday evening on October 15, around 7:15pm. I want to thank you for your support, well wishes and prayers. She slept away quietly after a long battle with alzheimers...and now, I know WELL what the meaning is of..'The Long Goodbye'...

    October 16, 2011 at 2:39 am |
    • Trace

      God Bless you Liz...your mother would be proud of the woman you became.

      Always Remember: To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord....That's what we say as believers. You are in my prayers

      October 16, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • jean2009

      @Liz my deepest sympathy for the loss of your mother. Ninety four years I'm sure she had an amazing journey during that time. You take care.

      October 17, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  15. Jilli

    What a farce. These folks are trying to make something out of nothing. Where were these clowns when the oil companies were writing our energy policy and no one would reveal who was involved.

    Republicans have either an overactive partisianship or are as willfully dimwitted as the day is long. Give it up boys, there's bigger problems to be addressed.

    October 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  16. David

    It's funny, the people most likely to want to press to invade someones privacy are the same people advocating that they are patriots, standing firmly behind the constitution...unless the opportunity to play stupid political games arises. Hypocrits.

    October 16, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  17. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Thankyou for your kind words Trace. I certainly hoped she was. I'm sure I worried her for a while in my younger life...I grew up in the sixties..., but as she used to always say to me, 'You'll come back to yourself one day'. It WAS something of a re-evolution, and I thank GOD that HE afforded me the opportunity to at least start making her proud of me again. Most of what you see of me on here is in direct results of the wisdom she put into me; the rest comes through life and personal experiences and others.

    October 17, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  18. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Thankyou so much Jean. I have become reconciled to it to a degree because I've been working on her obituary which will be more of a little 'short story' of her life. My mother was a great African American Woman. Yes, she saw and experienced quite a lot in her 94 years. All my life my mother stood up to the status quo of the establishment. She started her personal fight against inequality and discrimination even before Rosa Parks sat down on that bus. She was an 'unsung hero' of the civil rights movement.

    October 17, 2011 at 11:47 pm |