WASHINGTON (AP) — The tea party-backed challenger to Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was trying to explain Tuesday why he criticizes McConnell for backing the 2008 federal bank bailout even though he praised the bailout at the time.
Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, who is challenging the Senate minority leader in Kentucky's May 20 GOP primary, was president of an investment firm called Veracity Funds. Bevin signed an October 2008 report to investors that praised the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. The report said TARP should not be called a bailout.
The Veracity report also praised "the effective nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," government-controlled firms that support home mortgages. The report's existence was first revealed by Politico.
Bevin has often criticized the TARP bailout and McConnell's role in backing it during the final months of President George W. Bush's administration.
Bevin campaign spokeswoman Rachel Semmel said Bevin "has always opposed the TARP bailout and similar misuses of taxpayer dollars." She said a different Veracity officer had written the investor reports in 2008. She said Bevin's signatures "were a formality that were not intended to be an endorsement of the opinions of others."
McConnell has raised considerably more money than Bevin, who is backed by several groups highly critical of the Republican establishment. Kentucky Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes also is seeking the Senate seat.