While Hagan's Stimulus Drama Intensifies, GOP Claims NC Senate Race Is Tied

Matt Vespa
|
Posted: Oct 16, 2014 3:02 PM
While Hagan's Stimulus Drama Intensifies, GOP Claims NC Senate Race Is Tied

Sen. Kay Hagan’s family allegedly profiting from stimulus money is the latest salvo from Republicans; a Politico story found that her husband’s company received almost $400,000 from the president’s program. Now, it’s not just Hagan. Politico also cited Thom Tillis’ 2010 vote that allowed a bank where he had a financial stake in to receive energy tax credits. Yet, one could argue that Hagan’s possible ethics violation is worse given that she’s was a U.S. Senator who approved the nearly $1 trillion package aimed at jump-starting the economy.

Now, it seems that her husband, Chip, pocketed the savings from the stimulus cash injection (via Carolina Journal):

JDC Manufacturing, a company co-owned by Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s husband Charles “Chip” Hagan, lowered the total cost of a 2010 stimulus-funded energy project but kept all of the savings, sending none back to taxpayers who had funded the stimulus grant.

The company’s original application stated the total project would cost $438,627, and said JDC would contribute “leveraged funds” amounting to $187,983, or 43 percent of the total. As the project reached completion, however, JDC revised the total budget downward by $114,519 and applied all the savings to its share, keeping all the taxpayer funding.

Also, JDC’s decision to hire Solardyne/Green State Power, a separate company co-owned by Chip Hagan and the Hagans’ son Tilden, to install a portion of the stimulus-funded energy project at the JDC building appears to violate a conflict-of-interest provision that was included as part of the original application for the stimulus grant.

JDC stressed “interests,” as well, in its application for the stimulus grant it submitted Aug. 11, 2010. The company included a copy of its conflict of interest policy, which states: “A conflict of interest occurs when an employee/board member has a direct or fiduciary interest in another relationship. Employees are to avoid any conflict of interest, even the appearance of a conflict of interest. The appearance of a conflict of interest can cause embarrassment to the company, jeopardizing the credibility of the company. Any conflict of interest, potential conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict of interest should be reported to your supervisor immediately.”

Hagan has already admitted to skipping an Armed Services hearing on ISIS to fundraise last February, which is probably why she left the third debate last week without holding a press conference.

Regardless, we should be shocked if we see this story, which found its way into last week’s debate, used against her in the final weeks of the 2014 campaign. Both sides have filed ethics complaints against each other.

In the meantime, Hagan reiterated her record at a NAACP convention earlier this week, noting that she supported hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to black universities and colleges across the state.

Thom Tillis will be getting a nice $6 million ad blitz thanks to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is on top of the $3 million they had already budgeted to spend in this tight race.

Brad Dayspring, communications director for the NRSC, said, “Our internals show that North Carolina is starting to break toward Thom Tillis, and we are prioritizing the North Carolina race, ensuring that Tillis has the resources necessary to defeat Kay Hagan.”

On the ad war front, Sen. Rand Paul did this ad for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who recently endorsed Tillis. Last Monday, Speaker Tillis traveled the state, drumming up support for his economic policies.

Hagan’s allies in the Environmental Defense Action Fund and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee slammed Tillis for “protecting polluters” and warned voters about bringing his Raleigh agenda to Washington.

As for the war chests on both sides, Tillis had a $3.4 million third quarter haul, but Hagan still outraised him by bringing in $4.9 million. Nevertheless, according to the New York Times, Tillis’ fundraising efforts should not go unnoticed:

Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina State House of Representatives, who has struggled to attract big donors since winning his party’s nomination in May, nearly matched the cash intake of Senator Kay Hagan, one of the Democrats’ best fund-raisers. He ended the quarter with more money than Ms. Hagan, who spent an eye-popping $11.6 million during that period but who has also booked more than twice as much advertising time as Mr. Tillis, in dollar terms, for the final five weeks of the campaign.

“We have bulked up our buy in western North Carolina, where we were being outspent the most, and we are also putting resources toward low-propensity Republicans,” said Daniel Keylin, a Tillis spokesman. “Polling shows Thom has a lead with high-interest voters, and we are working to get some more low-propensity conservative Democrats in the pool.”

Earlier today, Robin Collins, Executive Director of the NRSC, asserted that Tillis has erased Hagan’s slight lead in the polls less than a month away from Election Day. Yes, there was a lot of lackluster news coming out of North Carolina on the Republican side, but things seem to be looking up for the Tillis campaign.