Like most establishment Republicans, Mitch McConnell is not a liberal or a conservative; his ideology is power. He will stand for whatever helps grease the skids of his pay-for-play career. If that means pushing a conservative idea one day, he’ll readily do so. But if that means quietly growing government, he will oblige in a second.
The latest example of his pay-for-play is a story from the Louisville Courier Journal detailing his campaign finance operation pushing federal funds to a failed algae energy factory in return for campaign cash.
Before his green energy boondoggle was fully exposed, President Obama was pushing algae as the next big source of energy. Many Republicans, including Senator McConnell, laughed at him at the time. But Mitch McConnell will never pass up an opportunity to join in on venture socialism, especially when he can collect a new stream of campaign cash:
“But a few years earlier, McConnell, R-Ky., himself worked to obtain a $30 million grant for a company that wanted to build a plant in Springfield, Ky., to turn algae, switchgrass, corncobs and other such materials into ethanol — a plant that ultimately was never built and a grant that was never spent.
And each time McConnell interceded on behalf of the Nicholasville-based company Alltech or the federal government took action to help, its founder and president wrote a check to McConnell’s campaign or the Republican Party of Kentucky.
Though others in Kentucky’s delegation supported the grant application, including U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-3rd District, none except McConnell received contributions from T. Pearse Lyons, Alltech’s founder and president, according to the Federal Election Commission website.”
Here is the timeline for his work on behalf of Alltech and his receipt of campaign donations:
“Five years earlier, in September 2007, McConnell wrote to Jacques Beudry-Losique, a program manager in the U.S. Department of Energy, asking that Alltech’s planned plant in Springfield be considered for a grant for an unspecified amount.
Twenty-eight days later, Lyons, president of Alltech, contributed $10,000 to the Republican Party of Kentucky.
The following March, McConnell again wrote to Beudry-Losique asking that the plant be considered for a grant. And a month later, Alltech announced it had received up to $30 million in federal grants for its planned Rural Community Biorefinery, where it planned to produce biofuels made from algae and other substances.
Three days later, Lyons contributed $3,100 to McConnell’s re-election committee. And a week later, he gave $1,500 more.”
And much like Obama’s green energy escapades, the plant was never built.
“However, the company never built the plant and never drew down the grant, deciding that the regulatory burden was too high, said Susanna Elliott, a spokeswoman for Alltech.”
Meanwhile, the pay-for-play continued:
“Less than two months after McConnell criticized Obama for relying on “pipe dreams like algae,” he toured Alltech’s plant in Winchester where, according to Algae Industry Magazine, the plant was “actively pursuing algae’s applications as a fishmeal replacement in animal nutrition, as well as its viability as an alternative fuel source.”
While there, McConnell praised the plant’s workers and said they should be “proud of the work they do in improving the nation’s agricultural and nutritional health.” A week later, Lyons contributed another $1,000 to McConnell’s re-election campaign.
Lyons also made contributions to McConnell in March and April 2009 and in March 2013, on dates that have no discernible connection to Alltech.”
It’s this same sort of non-principled politician who plays games with his votes in the Senate, as McConnell has been doing for so long – hoping yes, while voting no.
Does anyone think this behavior would improve if McConnell were to become the Majority Leader?