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EDITOR OF REDSTATE

Does the NRSC Vet Its Candidates?

This looks like a question that must now be asked. First, it looks like Pat Roberts, the NRSC’s candidate in Kansas turns out to be a Virginia resident.

But this question must be asked, in particular, about Thad Cochran, the NRSC’s candidate in Mississippi.

I should stop and say it is also worth asking because anytime a conservative the NRSC does not support does something unfortunate, the NRSC raises the question of whether conservatives are vetting their candidates.

So is the NRSC vetting its candidates? Because boy oh boy the stories about Thad Cochran smell pretty bad.

More and more stories are coming out about Cochran’s relationship with his executive assistant. The NRSC has taken to referring those awkward questions to Cochran’s office. There appears to be a “there” there of some kind.

More troubling is this story about an unsecured loan. Roll Call has details about this.

In an unusual transaction, a Super PAC has reported receiving an unsecured $250,150 loan from a financial institution to use for making independent expenditures in the 2014 primary elections.

The Mississippi Conservatives, a Republican-oriented Super PAC supporting Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., in the June 3rd Republican primary, reported it had receipts of $717,993 during the first quarter of 2014, including a $250,150 loan from Trustmark Bank in Jackson, Mississippi. Trustmark (NASDAQ:TRMK) is a publicly traded corporation.

The report, signed and filed by treasurer Brian Perry, indicates Harry Walker, a regional President of the bank, signed the agreement on January 29, 2014. The loan is due on June 3, 2014, and the interest rate (APR) is 2.86%.

The loan has no collateral. If that wasn’t enough, the bank President who agreed to the loan serves on Thad Cochran’s fundraising committee and the former CEO of Trustmark is a Cochran donor.

The whole thing stinks of the worst bit of crony capitalism. After this, we might not be surprised to find Cochran suddenly on the board of a Ukrainian gas conglomerate.

Does the NRSC vet its candidates? If not, maybe they could put John Ensign in charge of a committee to do so.

H/t to Daniel Horowitz for catching this story on Trustmark Bank.

UPDATE: The latest report is that there is collateral for the loan, making it secured. But what it is and who offered it are still nebulous parts of the story.

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