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Solyndra Audit Release Prompts Republicans To Run Victory Laps

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Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) during a news conference on
Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) during a news conference on "energy, climate-gate and President Obama's trip to Copenhagen" on Dec. 8, 2011.

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) took a victory lap on Thursday when it was announced that Herb Allison, the man tasked with reviewing the Obama administration's $35.9 billion in energy loans, would release his final report next week. The report was always slated to be public, but that didn't stop Republicans from loudly demanding that it continue to be so.

"On Monday, I wrote the White House and asked that they release the report," Sensenbrenner said in a statement on Thursday. "Refusal to release the full report would have been an affront to American taxpayers."

This after Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), who has spearheaded the investigation into Solyndra, issued a strongly worded letter to Allison demanding that he share the information.

"The White House has asked you to analyze 'the current state of the Department of Energy portfolio, focusing on future loan monitoring and management,' and to produce a report or evaluation setting forth your findings within 60 days," wrote Stearns. "It is our understanding that this report will be issued in the near future."

And so it was.

But the White House announced back in October that report public would be made public. And that revelation had been broadcast widely across media outlets for months.

"Following the 60-day review, Allison will issue a public report," wrote MSNBC at the time. Make that "a public report," according to the National Journal. "He is tasked with issuing a public report to the administration after a 60 day audit," clarified the Daily Caller.

None of that diminished Sensenbrenner's gusto.

"I look forward to reviewing the findings of the audit, but it is questionable how much we will learn as long as the Administration picks the auditor and sets the scope of the audit," he said.

Republicans hope the review will offer further fuel for their attacks on the Obama administration over Solyndra, the California solar panel manufacturer and Department of Energy loan recipient that went belly-up last year. Republican lawmakers have repeatedly used the company's failure to try to undermine the administration's investments in renewable energy -- a line of attack that's likely to continue.

"With three DOE-backed companies bankrupt, there are serious questions to be answered. I hope this report is more than political cover," Sensenbrenner said. The comment was a reference to the bankruptcy of Solyndra, energy storage company Beacon Power and Ener1, whose subsidiary garnered more than $118 million in stimulus money.

The White House is expected to release the final review late next week.

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