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Solyndra leaders invoke Fifth Amendment at hearing

WASHINGTON — Top executives of Solyndra, the shuttered solar company that received a $528 million federal loan before going bankrupt, refused to answer questions from lawmakers Friday, instead invoking their rights against self-incrimination.

Furious Republican lawmakers described the loan as a "taxpayer ripoff" — and pledged to continue investigating whether the firm misled the government and whether the Obama administration failed to properly vet the company.

"All the evidence indicates … this was a reckless use of taxpayer dollars," said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee investigating the loan to Solyndra.

Both Republican and Democratic members of the committee said they wanted to know how Solyndra executives could tell them in July that the Silicon Valley firm was doubling sales of its unique solar panel, and then file for bankruptcy on Aug. 31.

Solyndra's two top executives said they could not provide any answers.

CEO Brian Harrison and Solyndra chief financial officer Bill Stover invoked their Fifth Amendment rights at least eight times before Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., chairman of the House investigative subcommittee, excused them from the hearing.

Solyndra leaders invoke Fifth Amendment at hearing 09/23/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 23, 2011 11:06pm]

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