In a perfect world, Kay Hagan never would’ve had an opportunity to abscond with hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. Unfortunately, any system that allows Lois Lerner to walk free and draw a pension is far from perfect.
The Carolina Journal deserves all the praise (and web traffic) garnered by it’s investigative reports on Kay Hagan’s stimulus profiteering. Her actions may not have been illegal, but they are certainly unethical.
Just two weeks ago ago, Kay Hagan accused Thom Tillis of profiting from the stimulus because he owned stock in a bank that funded a project that also happened to receive stimulus funds. From Hagan’s press release:
Tillis owns between $50,000 and $100,000 in “founders investment private stock” in Aquesta Bank …. in 2011 Aquesta financed a solar farm built by a company, 02 Energies. Aquesta loaned O2 Energies $3 million for the project. The project also received $1.375 million in federal renewable energy tax credits under the stimulus program.
If Hagan believes it’s unethical to own stock in a company that lent money to another, unrelated company that received a minority of its project funding from a stimulus grant, I can’t imagine she’d allow anyone in her own family to pour their own big gulp from Uncle Sam’s stimulus slush machine. But that’s exactly what she did.
Hagan’s husband’s company, JDC Manufacturing, applied for and received “a $250,644 federal stimulus grant to replace light fixtures and gas furnaces and install rooftop solar panels at a 300,000-square-foot building it owns in Reidsville.” Hagan used this grant money to hire Green State Power, a company jointly owned by Kay Hagan’s husband and her son, to complete the install.
If that weren’t enough, when the project ended up costing $114,519 less than originally projected, none of the stimulus money was returned to taxpayers. Hagan’s company kept the entire grant and had the audacity to request, and subsequently received, an additional “$50,000 renewable energy grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
This is nepotism elevated to an art form, but focusing on Hagan’s unethical behavior risks missing the bigger picture.
Frankly, @PeteKaliner, the worst part of this is that government is giving money to private biz to spend on private capital improvements.
— Erik Soderstrom (@soderstrom) October 14, 2014
Why is the federal government paying for capital improvements to private businesses that have no direct benefit to the general public? We were told stimulus funds would be used to repair roads and bridges, not pad the bottom line of a Senator’s family business.
JDC Manufacturing’s proposal estimated the project would save them $100,000 in annual energy costs and further generate enough additional energy to power six homes. Even if we ignore the revenue generated by selling electricity back to the grid, the Hagan’s could have repaid the initial $250,644 loan in just a few years. Instead, they came to the public trough walked away with more than $300,000 to spend as they pleased. The rest of us paid for that shopping spree.
If the Hagan had gone to private investors, those investors would have been entitled to a share of the company and a portion of its profits. If they had gone to a bank, they would have been required to re-pay the loan with interest. If anyone knows how to contact Chip Hagan, I want to be sure he knows where to send my dividend check.