Rep. Lloyd Doggett, the 16 year incumbent of TX-25 (including a large portion of Austin), has released his first TV ad. I guess this means he's decided to waste money, because progressive writers keep telling me his opponent, Republican Dr. Donna Campbell, has no chance of winning. So why is the Doggett camp making heavy media buys three weeks out? It just doesn't add up - unless you accept the fact that Rep. Doggett's seat is in jeopardy. Trust me, it is.
But you know what else is in jeopardy? Lloyd Doggett's credibility (or what's left of it). In his ad, Lloyd Doggett tours a solar panel installation training facility with the president of the company, Michael Kuhn of ImagineSolar. Here's what Mr. Kuhn has to say about the job Lloyd Doggett is doing in Washington:
"Lloyd is a champion of job creation... I can actually run a small business. I can create jobs because of Lloyd Doggett."
Now Michael Kuhn is definitely telling the truth, but not because Lloyd Doggett supports any type of free market, pro-growth policies. No, Mr. Doggett and the government have actually funded Mr. Kuhn's private company to the tune of millions of dollars, thanks to the stimulus. ImagineSolar received some portion of a $4.8 million ARRA grant allocated through Workforce Solutions, although using resources like recovery.gov it's hard to say exactly how much stayed with Workforce Solutions and how much Mr. Kuhn's company received. But don't take my word for it. Here's the press release off the company's own website.
AUSTIN – Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced nearly $100 million in green jobs training grants, as authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). The Austin Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (AEJATC), in partnership with Workforce Solutions–Capital Area and ImagineSolar, received $4,842,424 as one of 25 projects selected nationally – and one of only three in the State of Texas.
If my congressman got my company a check for millions of dollars, I'd appear in a TV ad supporting him, too. And I imagine ImagineSolar will see more grant money from the government if Doggett is re-elected. Of course, none of this is illegal, but it's not good for free enterprise. The biggest problem is Lloyd Doggett doesn't disclose the information. The ad doesn't say Michael Kuhn received stimulus money, and viewers aren't privy to the conflict of interest. That's disingenuous. The representative from Austin should have shot his commercial elsewhere and focused on supporters not on the government dole. You could almost say Lloyd bought their support.
This is taxpayer money seized from profitable companies and small businesses and redistributed to Democratic allies and special interest groups (in this case, inefficient solar energy) who then turn around and help them get re-elected. Just wait until cap-and-trade goes through. Middle class families will be paying higher energy bills so politicians can subsidize giant corporations like BP and GE, who will "invest" in alternative energy for the kickbacks. The Democrats haven't just created an environment that's bad for business. They've doubled down on crony capitalism, and they're using the beneficiaries like Mr. Kuhn in testimonials to try and hoodwink the American people.
You might note that the theme of the ad is "no bailouts", as if Rep. Doggett is a free market conservative, and yet here he is appearing with a company that in essence received a bailout. The only bailout I'm aware of Doggett opposing is the TARP under President Bush - and that was over 2 years ago. Since then, Lloyd voted to bailout the auto companies, the teachers unions, and actually, Wall Street - since the financial reform bill amounts to a permanent bailout of the banks without the messy TARP votes.
The Austin American Statesman may want to fact check this ad again. It's misleading.