Thursday, September 30, 2010

Post-Dispatch Column Shows Ed Martin Is Lying About the Wind Farm

Ed Martin continues to try to make hay out of the stimulus money awarded to Russ Carnahan's brother Tom. Martin has claimed, falsely, on multiple occasions, that Carnahan "funneled" the money to his brother. On September 22, Martin said:
We have families struggling to make ends meet and a representative who instead of helping them is funneling money to his family,
And, on September 23, in a post based on another blatent verifiable falsehood, Martin said this:
This news comes on the heels of the discovery that Congressman Carnahan’s brother was recently funneled more than $107 Million in stimulus funding for a wind farm.
However, a recent column by Post-Dispatch reporter Bill Lambrecht completely disproved these claims by Martin.

In order for Ed Martin's claims to be true, Russ Carnahan would have had to have some influence over the process of awarding the funds. However, as is clearly reported in the article, neither Russ Carnahan nor Robin Carnahan had any roll in deciding how the funds were used:
Russ Carnahan was among 244 House Democrats who voted for the legislation. But officials from the Energy and Treasury departments, who jointly administer the program, said that neither Russ nor Robin Carnahan played a role in the awards.
But hold on because it actually gets better. Not only did Russ Carnahan not play a role in the awarding of the funds, he couldn't possibly have played a role, because the funding was awarded automatically to projects that met the basic criteria:
The upfront payments to Lost Creek, a $300-million-plus project, and various other projects aren't awarded competitively but on the basis of meeting various criteria. For instance, companies were required to submit accredited designs and start building by the end of this year. Energy Department officials described the process as automatic; the Treasury Department is required to issue the payments to those who qualify within 60 days of application.

"Treasury has no discretionary authority in this," said Treasury spokeswoman Sandra Salstrom.
In other words, any projects that met certain criteria were funded, including another $85 million dollar project in Missouri last year and a $170 million dollar project in Illinois.

So not only was there no influence from Russ or Robin, there was no possible role influence could play! Martin's claims of "funneling" were completely fabricated. Tom Carnahan says as much in the article:
In an interview, Carnahan, 41, the youngest son of former Gov. Mel Carnahan and former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan, said he is untroubled by criticism of the payment. He said that neither his family's political clout nor any lobbying could have played a role in the process.

"Not only was there not any contact or anything like that, it was not necessary," he said, referring to the eligibility requirements.
Tom Carnahan also said that his company has invested a lot of money in rural Missouri:
Carnahan asserted that his 5-year-old company has been responsible for $600 million investments in Missouri "that have made gigantic contributions to the economy in rural Missouri. I'm very proud of that. We need to be doing more to support renewable energy, not less."
And lest you think that this tax credit was the result of some sneaky language put in by Russ to help out his brother, the article reports that the payments were actually composed of two tax credits: one that has been around since the 70s and one that was first approved in 1992. Prior to the stimulus, the credits were reauthorized in 2008, and even Roy Blunt voted for them:
In fact, Robin Carnahan's opponent in the Senate race, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, was a key backer of the financial bailout bill in 2008, one of several measures that reauthorized the tax credit.
Finally, Martin and tea partiers have been complaining that the award was in the form of cash rather than tax credits, and this was also explained in the article:
Critics of the Lost Creek funding have seized on the design of the payment. Rather than giving the credits after companies file tax returns, the stimulus legislation provides for upfront payments equivalent to 30 percent of the cost of the project. It was done that way, the Treasury Department has said, so "the near term goal of creating and retaining jobs is achieved, as well as the long-term benefit of expanding the use of clean and renewable energy."
So given that Ed Martin has been repeatedly making accusations about undue influence in a process that Carnahan could not possibly have influenced, what exactly is Martin's explanation for his repeated acusations of corruption?
"I'm not saying there's anything illegal; it may not be corruption with a capital 'C' with people taking bribes. But it doesn't smell right," said Martin, who raised the issue while debating Russ Carnahan over the weekend.
It doesn't smell right. That's Ed Martin's pathetic explanation for months of smears about a process that Carnahan couldn't influence. You know what really doesn't smell right? When an arrogant GOP insider who was fired from Chief of Staff for smearing an idealistic conservative whistleblower continuously fabricates lies and distortions against someone who is actually an honest politician.

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