The economic stimulus package Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) voted for in 2009 served to benefit her husband’s company to the the tune of $390,000 in federal grants and tax credits, according to a Politico report released Thursday evening.
JDC Manufacturing, a company co-owned by the Democratic senator’s husband, Chip, received nearly $390,000 in federal grants for energy projects and tax credits created by the 2009 stimulus law, according to public records and information provided by the company.
Hagan’s campaign has denied any wrongdoing on her part, stressing to Politico that she did not help her husband win federal funding for his company. Hagan spokeswoman Sadie Weiner told the publication that she consulted with Democratic attorney Marc Elias to ensure its propriety.
“Kay is not involved in her husband’s business and had no part in helping JDC apply for or receive these grants,” Weiner told Politico. “Her only involvement was when she made sure that a respected ethics attorney was consulted to ensure that it was appropriate, and the attorney found that it was.”
Politico reported that since Hagan did not participate in getting the funding for he husband’s company, legal experts say she technically did not do anything wrong.
“It simply raises once again the clear problem that the current recusal system ill serves the senators and the members because it leaves too much gray area,” Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, told Politico.
Hagan is in the midst a tight reelection campaign against Republican statehouse Speaker Thom Tillis. Recent polls have Hagan up over Tillis slightly. Questions about Hagan’s potential conflict of interest are sure to provide more attack fodder for Tillis — shortly after Politico ran its piece the Tillis campaign blasted out an abridged version with a link to the story to its media list.
While Hagan’s husband benefitted from her vote, ironically so too did her opponent Tillis — who Politico notes voted in favor of allowing North Carolina to participate in the federal renewable energy tax credit program in 2010 that helped a bank in which he owns stock.
Tillis benefited from the stimulus bill in a more indirect manner. He owns $50,000 to $100,000 in “founders investment private stock” in Aquesta Bank in Cornelius, N.C., according to his financial disclosure form. Tillis also has two loans from Aquesta worth between $30,000 to $100,000.
Aquesta specializes in projects that receive government tax credits, according to company officials, including some credits created by the stimulus package.
For instance, 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. A Tillis spokesman said that the GOP candidate has no control over Aquesta’s day-to-day operations or what projects it invests in.
Read the full report.