GOP says Energy Dept tried to delay solar layoffs

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican investigators say the Obama administration wanted the failing solar energy company Solyndra to delay announcing employee layoffs until after the 2010 midterm elections.

A memo prepared by GOP staff at the House Energy and Commerce Committee cites an October 2010 email from an unnamed Solyndra investment adviser to another unidentified investment adviser. The email, according to committee aides, said Energy Department officials were pushing "very hard" to delay making the layoffs public until Nov. 3, 2010 -- the day after the midterm elections.

Solyndra announced some layoffs on Nov. 3, 2010, after the election, but continued to receive federal assistance. The company closed its doors on Aug. 31, 2011 and laid off its 1,100 workers.

Energy Department spokesman Damien LaVera on Tuesday declined to confirm events described in the emails or to identify who at the Energy department may have urged the delay in the layoff announcement. He said "decisions about this loan were made on the merits."