If you’ve ever heard Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin out on the campaign trail or being interviewed in the press, there’s a good chance you’ve heard him railing against Sen. Mitch McConnell for proudly championing and voting for the TARP/Wall Street bailout in 2008. Bevin would never support such government overreach and crony capitalism.
Well, never say never.
Here’s the bombshell from Politico this morning:
Yet back in 2008, as an investment fund president, Bevin backed the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, as well as the government takeover of troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. McConnell supported TARP, and the Bevin campaign repeatedly reminds voters that the Senate minority leader calls that vote “one of the finest moments in the history of the Senate.
Bevin also supported the Federal Reserve’s decision to begin buying commercial paper issued by banks.An Oct. 28, 2008, report for investors of Veracity Funds obtained by POLITICO — signed personally by Bevin as president of the fund — praised the federal government’s unprecedented intervention in the U.S. financial markets at that time.
“Most of the positive developments have been government led, such as the effective nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the passage of the $700 billion TARP (don’t call it a bailout) and the Federal Reserve’s intention to invest in commercial paper,” wrote Bevin and Daniel Bandi, chief investment officer and vice president of the fund. “These moves should help to stabilize asset prices and help to ease liquidity constraints in the financial system.”
Bevin and Bandi added: “The government actions to date have been reasonably swift and substantial. The Federal Reserve seems to understand the magnitude of the problem and the underlying issues involved.”
McConnell’s campaign pounced on the story (well, after they handed it to Politico), with campaign manager Jesse Benton calling Bevin a “fake conservative con man” who “is like a guy in a polyester suit selling waterfront Florida property at a retirement home; he’ll say anything to try and make a sale.” I’ve never met such a guy in Florida, but I love the imagery.
Bevin was also roasted in the Beltway Establishment CW Hub of Morning Joe today, where Joe Scarborough cast out Bevin as a low-down dirty snake oil salesman:
Bevin was already a huge long shot to beat McConnell, but I didn’t think it was impossible for him to get within single digits by May if all of the Tea Party stars aligned. However, this is an absolute dagger. The Liberty crowd values the whole “purity” schtick, and this appears to be akin to getting ACORN’s logo tattooed to your face or pissing on a Reagan statue.
But maybe there’s a reasonable explanation to all of this? Evil twin? Temporary insanity?
Bevin’s campaign took a first crack at it:
Semmel (campaign manager) said Bandi, as the chief investment officer, was responsible for what was said in both documents, although Bevin was president and founder of the investment fund.
“The investment commentary in the Veracity prospectuses were always written by the Chief Investment Officer of the sub-advisor to the Veracity funds,” Semmel said in a statement. “In his role as President of Veracity, Matt signed every prospectus. Matt’s signatures were a formality that were not intended to be an endorsement of the opinions of others.”
Semmel added: “Accusations like these are ironic given that Sen. McConnell has been one the biggest champions of bailouts and misuse of taxpayer dollars in the U.S. Senate.
Uh huh. So he didn’t write it, and was required to sign it even though he disagreed with it? I’m not sure if anybody is going to believe…
Oh. Glenn Beck did:
So even though some Kentucky Tea Party groups have questions about this, Glenn Beck and his Caliphate Apocalypse Survival Kit still have his back. (Also the Senate Conservatives Fund, though other Tea Party groups who endorsed him have been mum so far.)
Honestly, that’s a pretty hard sell to make, and if any lawyers want to come forward saying that Bevin is correct that he was ethically or legally required to sign that letter without altering its content, now is the time to come forward. But until then, expect Jesse Benton and Team Mitch to continue hammering away at Bevin for the ridiculous theory that he didn’t write it and had no endorsement of its content just because it had his name on it.
Wait a second… something about this sounds so familiar. Oh, that’s right. Jesse Benton’s explanation for Ron Paul’s racist newsletters when he was running his campaign! What was it that Benton said about the racist filth that was under Ron Paul’s name back then?
“Jesse Benton, a presidential campaign spokesman, said that the accounts of Paul’s involvement were untrue and that Paul was practicing medicine full time when “the offensive material appeared under his name.” Paul “abhors it, rejects it and has taken responsibility for it as he should have better policed the work being done under his masthead,” Benton said. He did not comment on Paul’s business strategy.”
But Jesse was holding his nose when he said that, so it doesn’t count.
Regardless of the hilarious hypocrisy here, it’s hard to imagine Bevin climbing out from under this TARP and making this race competitive by May. But if there’s one defining feature of this crazy, crazy race, it’s the hilarious unpredictability of it.