A local project that President Barack Obama cited during a visit Wednesday to Columbus as an example of how the federal stimulus package has worked isn’t actually being funded with stimulus dollars.
The president spoke at the North Side home of architect Joe Weithman, and both Obama’s comments and information from the White House touted Weithman’s work on a project that the president said was being at least partially funded by the $787 billion stimulus bill passed last year.
"What we’ve been trying to do is to build infrastructure that puts people back to work but also improves the quality of life in communities like Columbus," Obama said in his remarks. "So Joe is an architect, and he’s now working on a new police station that was funded in part with Recovery Act funds."
But although federal money is being used for the project in question, there are no stimulus dollars involved, said Columbus Finance Director Paul Rakosky, a Democrat.
When White House spokesman Matt Lehrich was asked about the discrepancy, all he would say is: "The president’s trip to Columbus was, in part, to highlight the role that small businesses, like Joe’s, will play in creating jobs in communities across the country. That’s a fact, and it’s why he’s been urging Republicans to stop blocking a proposal to cut taxes for small businesses that are looking to grow and hire more workers."
Background information the White House provided before the president’s visit didn’t identify the stimulus bill as the source of funding for the work, but it said the architectural firm that Weithman runs "was able to keep two of their employees that otherwise would have been laid off due to work on a police station renovation that received infrastructure funding." …
The stimulus didn't fund this project, but the Obama administration is more than happy to take credit for "saving or creating" the firm's two jobs. It makes you wonder how many more stories like this are floating around out there...