Hagan Stimulus Controversy: ‘It’s Worse Than We Thought’

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Oct 21, 2014 12:30 PM
Hagan Stimulus Controversy: ‘It’s Worse Than We Thought’

The Hagan stimulus fiasco continues to fester as the North Carolina race enters the final stretch. Sen. Kay Hagan’s family is accused of profiting from stimulus money that was allocated to their respective businesses. Also, there’s the allegation that Hagan’s husband, Chip, pocketed the savings from the stimulus cash injection. Oh, and there are some possible conflict of interest issues as well. As the Carolina Journal reported today, “it’s worse than we thought:”

From a report filed early Saturday by WRAL-TV news, we have confirmation that a cluster of businesses owned by Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s husband and other family members collected even more subsidies from taxpayers than initially reported.

While Carolina Journal’s Don Carrington has highlighted a stimulus grant totaling $250,644 that was paid to JDC Manufacturing, a real estate business co-owned by Hagan’s husband, Chip, and his brothers John and David, WRAL confirmed that JDC received an additional $137,000 in energy tax credits from the project. (Some of the relevant documents are here.) (Politico.com noted the tax credits in its initial report on the story, but those credits aren’t listed in the public documents CJ has reviewed.

WRAL said it had seen various internal company documents and proprietary records, perhaps including verification of the tax credits.) Add a second federal renewable energy grant of $50,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the ledger, and we learn that Hagan businesses soaked taxpayers for nearly $450,000 to pay for energy upgrades installed at JDC’s 300,000-square-foot building in Reidsville.

It’s worse than we thought.

It’s important to put the story into perspective, because the Hagan camp relentlessly deflects and spins, portraying these taxpayer handouts passed around from one family-owned company to another as nothing improper. And — this is the most laughable contention — that the Hagan family somehow received no benefit from nearly a half-million bucks in taxpayer largess.

Please.

But here’s where we stand: Companies owned by family members of Kay Hagan got more than $400,000 in taxpayer funding to finance upgrades at facilities and for businesses they own — not just the $300,000 in stimulus and USDA grants we initially found. The grants used tax dollars to offset the costs of improvements in the physical plant, and provide tax breaks for one of the companies, and reduce the energy bills of another. Kay Hagan’s husband and son created a solar company and allowed it to handle some of the work. And we’re still digging for additional documentation.

Team Hagan has chosen to hire Marc Elias, a high-powered political lawyer and Caitlin Legacki, a crisis-management specialist and former Hagan press secretary, to argue otherwise.

And ask yourself: How can you not benefit from free money?

The Journal is still waiting to review the USDA grants so expect more nuggets to fall off the truck concerning this story.

Right now, Sen. Hagan has to deal with a rather embarrassing incident where her office sent the wrong medical records to a veteran (via ABC 11):

A major mix-up of medical records has two North Carolina veterans speaking out.

Sen. Kay Hagan's office in Greensboro sent out the wrong medical file to the wrong person. It appears to be a basic name mix-up. Both men are Kenneth White, but they have different middle names.

"It makes a big difference," said the Kenneth White who got the wrong records, "with me being Kenneth A. White, as opposed to the young man I got was Kenneth D. White."

Kenneth A. White says four or five months ago he sent a request for VA records to Hagan's Greensboro office and, a few days ago, he got a heavy envelope from Hagan's office in the mail. Inside were hundreds of pages of medical information for Kenneth D. White.

"This wasn't gotten over the internet," Kenneth D. White fumed. "This was sent from the U.S. government. That's all my personal medical records, all my personal information -- sent to another individual. I'm appalled and I'm very upset about that."

Some have wondered, given the timing of the story and the fact that Kenneth D. White contacted ABC11 before Sen. Hagan's office, if this isn't a Republican-driven attempt to deep-six Hagan's campaign.

White says he's a long-time Democrat. He's just upset about getting another veteran's medical records in his mailbox.

Mr. White plans to consult a lawyer over this egregious breach in privacy.

Election Day is two weeks away.