A California solar-energy company under scrutiny for a $535 million federal loan guarantee has hired McDermott Will & Emery to advise it in a congressional inquiry, court papers say.
An application by Solyndra Inc. to employ the law firm as special counsel was filed on Friday in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware. Solyndra, a maker of solar panels, filed for bankruptcy this month, saying it could not compete with foreign manufacturers.
Five people with McDermott and their standard hourly rates are listed on the application: William Weld, a former Massachusetts governor and U.S. attorney who is of counsel in New York, at $825; Washington partner Stephen Ryan at $775; Washington partner David Ransom and Silicon Valley partner Eugene Litvinoff, both at $525; and Jon Decker, a senior adviser in Washington, at $425.
Solyndra faces a hearing this week before a House oversight subcommittee. The subcommittee, led by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), has been investigating how the company failed despite receiving a $535 million loan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Energy. E-mails show that the Obama administration was eager to tout the company’s potential, and President Barack Obama visited the company last year.
Also this month, federal agents raided Solyndra’s offices in Fremont, Calif.
The application (PDF) filed with the bankruptcy court does not say how long McDermott has been representing Solyndra in the congressional investigation, but it says the relationship existed prior to the company filing its bankruptcy petition on Sept. 6.
Ryan, who leads McDermott’s government strategies practice group, is no stranger to congressional investigations. In 2006, while at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, he represented Hewlett-Packard Co. during the company’s boardroom spying scandal. Ryan declined to comment today. Weld did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A Solyndra spokesman also did not immediately respond.