Politics

Conservative Groups Stand By Kentucky Senate Primary Challenger

Following a report that Kentucky Senate candidate Matt Bevin once supported the 2008 bank bailout he now campaigns against, conservative groups are standing by him and accusing minority leader Mitch McConnell of “smears.” Bevin says he has always opposed TARP.

Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin. John Sommers Ii / Reuters

WASHINGTON — Conservative groups are planning to stand by Matt Bevin in his quest to oust Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell even after a report that Bevin once appeared to support the 2008 bank bailout despite his current and strong opposition to it on the campaign trail.

The Madison Project and the Senate Conservatives Fund, two groups actively working to defeat McConnell, say his work to pass the Troubled Asset Relief Program is one of the primary reasons voters should choose Bevin in the primary. Bevin too, has made McConnell’s TARP support a huge issue in the primary campaign.

Daniel Horowitz, policy director for the Madison Project, said the story was a “pathetic effort to distract from the very policy [McConnell] helped engender,” and Bevin was merely doing what he needed to do for his company.

“Unlike McConnell who never spent a day in the private sector, Bevin had to work with the reality created by McConnell’s poor choices the same way a healthcare executive has to work with the reality of Obamacare. TARP was referenced in every financial services prospectus the same way the ACA is mentioned in every update from a healthcare company,” Horowitz said in an email to BuzzFeed.

Politico reported Tuesday morning that when he worked as an investment fund president, Bevin signed off on a memo praising TARP.

“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, according to Politico. “These moves should help to stabilize asset prices and help to ease liquidity constraints in the financial system.”

Bevin said that he signed the letter but did not write it and his position on TARP has not changed.

“That letter? I did not write. I did not write any of the letters that were ever published as investment commentary,” he told Glenn Beck on Tuesday. “I was the president and chairman of the board and by SEC law, was required to sign prospectuses when they were sent out.”

Senate Conservatives Fund sent out a similar statement of support saying McConnell was trying to “smear Matt Bevin because he’s terrified of losing the Republican primary.”

“He’s going to lose the general election and cost Republicans the majority in the Senate. It’s time for Mitch McConnell to shut down his dishonest attack machine and retire with dignity,” said SCF executive director Matt Hoskins.

Meanwhile, a local tea party group told a Kentucky NPR affiliate they have questions and would be speaking with Bevin about the letter.

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