A manufacturing company co-owned by North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan’s husband received nearly $390,000 in federal grants and tax credits created by the 2009 stimulus law that Hagan championed, Politico reports
The Hagan campaign has denied that Hagan did anything improper and "disputed any suggestion they have profited off the law."
The Hagans’ income from the company, JDC Manufacturing, increased from less than $201 in 2008 to nearly $134,000 in 2013, according to financial disclosure statements, Politico reported.
"Kay is not involved in her husband’s business and had no part in helping JDC apply for or receive these grants," said her spokeswoman, Sadie Weiner. "Her only involvement was when she made sure that a respected ethics attorney was consulted to ensure that it was appropriate, and the attorney found that it was."
Hagan had no advance knowledge that the stimulus package would benefit her husband’s company when she voted for it, according to Weiner, and was advised by an ethics attorney that Chip Hagan applying for the grants did not present any conflict of interest under Senate rules.
In a 2009 news release
about the $767 billion stimulus package, Hagan said: "My vote for the stimulus package was a vote for the more than 490,000 North Carolinians who find themselves out of work and looking for help in these tough economic times."
According to Politico, a plastics recycling company owned by Hagan’s brother-in-law (Hagan’s husband sits on the board of directors) received $250,644 in 2011 after installing solar panels on its roof and putting in more efficient lighting and replacing furnaces. JDC Manufacturing got an additional $137,000 in federal tax energy credits and $50,000 in Agriculture Department funding in 2012 as part of a 2008 farm bill.
Legal experts tell Politico that Hagan didn’t do anything improper so long as she recused herself from the process of securing the stimulus money, but others say it’s illustrative of a problem with the law.
"It simply raises once again the clear problem that the current recusal system ill serves the senators and the members because it leaves too much gray area," according to Meredith McGehee, policy director at the watchdog group Campaign Legal Center.
In 2012, OpenSecrets.org
ranked Hagan as the ninth wealthiest senator, with a net worth in excess of $24 million.
Hagan is locked in a tight reelection race against her Republican challenger, North Carolina Speaker of the House Thom Tillis.
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