David Perdue and the Federal Stimulus

April 21, 2014 12:26 pm

by Stefan · 41 comments

David Perdue has sat in the board of Alliant Energy since 2001. Since 2009, when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act began kicking, that company and its subsidiaries have garnered $3.4 million worth of stimulus funding.

He’s against that type of federal outlay now, of course. In fact, his businessman approach that will rein in government spending is the centerpiece of his campaign.  I assume he’ll portray this as his job was merely stopping by the boardroom for an occasional massage, and one day Obama stopped by with $3.4 million dollars and it would be rude not to take it.  

The above video is courtesy of theHill.

Applying for (because there is a lot of work that goes into getting stimulus funds, which was probably a pretty high level endeavor for Alliant) and receiving stimulus funds was likely the right decision by Perdue’s company. His utilitarian approach paid off in that instance. Unfortunately for him, Republican voters aren’t utilitarians. They have a much more deontological approach. They are investing six years into someone and would like to think that whatever he is saying now will be good for that entire time. Unfortunately for him, his views seem to have a two-year half life.

Being flexible with your views can be an important trait. I remember learning that in college. Or perhaps it was when I was living overseas…

TheEiger April 21, 2014 at 12:57 pm

I think Perdue would have better luck running in the democrat primary against Nunn. His cousin was a democrat and he is too.

BuddyFreeze April 21, 2014 at 1:05 pm

He was against Stimulus before he was for it.

John Konop April 21, 2014 at 1:13 pm

In fairness the use of politics to go after business people and lawyers doing their job flies in the face of the funding fathers. A lawyer represents the client and business people represent their stock holders….as long as what they was ethical and followed the law, it is wrong to attack people for doing their job.

John Adams representing the British for a massacre in our country….That is right a funding father and former President….He did it because if you believe in the system everyone has rights….If you believe capitalism the executives represent the rights of stockholders….

History Lesson:

……….In 1768, British troops arrived in Massachusetts to enforce the hated, tax-heavy Townshend Acts. Over the ensuing months, tensions between the colonists and their mother country’s soldiers boiled over, culminating in what became known as the Boston Massacre. The killing of five colonists following a squabble between British soldiers and Massachusetts colonists fostered a revolutionary sentiment within America that, along with a number of other milestones, ultimately led to war. However, one of the patriots so essential to the revolution, John Adams, chose to defend the British soldiers in court……..

…….Adams would recall his role in the trials in this way: “The Part I took in Defence of Cptn. Preston and the Soldiers, procured me Anxiety, and Obloquy enough. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country.”……….

TheEiger April 21, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Thanks for the history lesson John. You are comparing apples to oranges here. There is more to the reason why Adams represented those British soldiers. And trying to equate John Adams to David Perdue is laughable.

If you read the writings of Adams during those early days before the Revolutionary War you will find out that he represented the soldiers so that they would get a fair trial and not be immediately strung up and killed. He knew that if he allowed the people of Boston to kill the soldiers without a trial the full force of the greatest military in the world at the time would come down on the town of Boston like a hammer. That is why he represented them.

Perdue on the other had took federal stimulus dollars to help his company and now as he is running for Senate he says he is against the stimulus. Which is it? We already have too many politicians in DC talking out of both sides of their mouth. We don’t need another.

John Konop April 21, 2014 at 1:45 pm

In all due respect your job as an executive is to represent the best interest of stockholders, end of story. I do not consider my political views when making executive calls. I am not a Perdue supporter…..but the attacks we have seen on lawyers and business people doing their job is wrong. If Perdue did not take the money, than he would of put politics ahead of representing stock holders. Do you really think that is right?

As far as John Adam we will have to agree to disagree…..it seems clear to me he did for the integrity of the legal system….He was big part of the Bill of Rights helping Jefferson….

TheEiger April 21, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Since you seem to be such a John Adams fan (I am as well), here is a great quote from John Adams from the Boston Massacre trail.

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” -John Adams

Fact – Perdue and his company took federal dollars to better his company. Now he is campaigning against the stimulus and asking for the voters to trust his college degree and he will make things better. I don’t trust him. I believe in action and not empty promises. He took the stimulus dollars so he should tell us all why and defend his decision to do so.

Dave Bearse April 21, 2014 at 3:16 pm

What’s next? Judging candidates on whether they skip income deductions for income tax purposes or tax credits because the party disagrees with the deductions or credits as tax policy?

TheEiger April 21, 2014 at 3:30 pm

There is a big difference between taking millions of dollars from a failed stimulus program and then saying you would have voted against it and being able to write off your charitable donations and property taxes.

And yes, candidates are and should be judged on the deductions they take. Just look back at the 2010 governor’s race and Rory Barnes got a farm tax deduction on his mansion because he had a cow in the back yard. That was a slap in the face to every real farmer in the state.

Ellynn April 21, 2014 at 4:18 pm

The money used in Wisconsin by Alliant Energy was to help pay for additional wind turbines (the program was already in existance – this just added more). In the case of my parents it saved them about $40 in fees on their electric bill (as it did every user in the state. It also contiunes to allow about 120 people to have jobs maintaing and programing the turbines. It prevented a large amount of carbon in the air in a part of the country that has had acid rain issues, and allowed a nuclar rector to start fueling down.

As to failing in Georgia, we had 6 projects that had some sort of recover funds attached from the elected taxpayer like government programs I work with. So it allowed me and 4 others in my office to keep my job.

Just because it failed you, doesn’t mean it failed others.

Plus if your going to call out David on taking goverment funds who voted against it but STILL took the funds for projects in their districts. Then lets look at the earmarks from the 3 sitting congressmen (when earmarks were cool). Look at the NIH funding Susan G Komen gets.

Some where we can find exambles of taxpayer moeny berelated to any one running for office.

Lets stop whining and find the real dirt if we are going to sling the mud people.

TheEiger April 21, 2014 at 4:23 pm

I love it that the democrats are the ones defending Perdue on this. And John. Who argues for arguments sake.

I’m glad you have a job because of the stimulus. I think David Perdue should explain why he thinks the stimulus is a good idea to republican primary voters.

John Konop April 21, 2014 at 4:35 pm

TheEiger,

I support Karen…..but as an executive I find attacks like this insulting for people like me who make business calls all day. We do what is bet for our stockholders and leave the politics behind….I have seen way to many attacks on business executives and lawyers for doing their job.

We do not make the rules….but it is our job to use them to our best advantage. Do you really think that is wrong? I have spoken out against tax deductions for homes….ie picking winners and losers…but hey I still take the deduction…I do not agree with the current Social Security and Medicare system….but I would take it if I was eligible…I could go on and on….Are we all hypocrites if we take the advantage of a policy even if we disagree? His company help fund the policy even if he disagreed via taxes….He would be crazy not to use it….I work hard for my money….If I see an advantage legally agree or not I take it…call me whatever you want….

TheEiger April 21, 2014 at 4:47 pm

My gripe isn’t that he took the money because he could and it was legal. My problem is that he is campaigning on a broken Washington that is $17 trillion in debt. One of the companies he sits on the board of took millions in federal dollars. Will he be resigning from that company if he were to get elected? Or is he going to be voting for more stimulus like bills that will help his companies, but not the taxpayer?

Ellynn April 21, 2014 at 4:49 pm

I’m not a democrate or a Republican. Some of us in the world are card carrying members of the middle.

TheEiger April 21, 2014 at 4:54 pm

I’m glad. Thanks for clarifying. I’m a conservative republican and want a real conservative to represent me in the Senate. Perdue is a wishy washy wannabe politician who doesn’t know where he stands on all the issues.

SingingLawyer April 21, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Dave–that’s not even remotely the same thing. You would be stupid not to take advantage of tax deductions/credits, which are available to everyone. It’s a whole other matter to ask for taxpayer dollars to be given to you for your benefit (and then turn around and criticize federal spending).

John Konop April 21, 2014 at 4:04 pm

HUH? I am glad you are a lawyer……I am guessing math and accounting is not your bag….

Will Durant April 21, 2014 at 3:53 pm

How is it a bona fide “fact” that “Perdue and his company took federal dollars”? Has anyone proved that the Wisconsin subsidiary even presented this 3.4 million dollar grant opportunity to the Board of Directors of its parent? A parent company that grosses 3+ Billion in annual revenue? Sitting on the board which in many companies only meets once a quarter does not make it “His” company. He isn’t the CEO or the Chairman and regardless of the cynicism here I really do think it is highly likely he would have been unaware of what amounts to chicken feed in scalability.

TheEiger April 21, 2014 at 4:01 pm

I see it took a total of 3 hours for the Perdue campaign to send their talking points out. They are going to need to work faster than that.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be the CEO of major companies and take credit for creating jobs and turning companies around and then say well I was the CEO and had no part in the decision process in taking millions in federal dollars. It doesn’t pass the smell test. Next you are going to be telling me he had nothing to do with the thousands of people who lost their jobs at Pillowtex and send jobs to Mexico.

As a CEO you don’t get to just take credit for the good stuff. You get to take credit for everything. Including this.

Will Durant April 21, 2014 at 4:18 pm

1. I’m not part of the Perdue campaign.
2. I don’t even know anyone who is part of the Perdue campaign.
3. I don’t even know if I’m going to vote for him yet.
4. I will be voting for the person I think will have the best chance of beating Nunn.
5. Unless the nominee is Paul Broun and then I will be voting for Nunn.
6. I will be voting for the person I think has the least chance of being a Todd Akin.
7. He isn’t the CEO, do you know what the difference is between that and what it means to sit on the board of directors?
8. Again, you are stating “facts”, please reveal your sources. You apparently have some that I do not.

rmarsden89 April 22, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Being against the stimulus package and accepting the money from it are two different things, When you are in the boardroom you represent the stockholders and need to do what is best for them which is what he did in accepting the money, when you are a senator or representative you need to do what is best for your constituents, a lot of times those will be conflicting. Its the same thing as someone using peach care, medicaid, or unemployment (when they actually need it). They may not want to use these government programs, but if they need it and don’t take advantage that would just be stupid.

Ellynn April 21, 2014 at 1:36 pm

“It is more important that innocence should be protected, than it is, that guilt be punished; for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world, that all of them cannot be punished…. when innocence itself, is brought to the bar and condemned, especially to die, the subject will exclaim, ‘it is immaterial to me whether I behave well or ill, for virtue itself is no security.’ And if such a sentiment as this were to take hold in the mind of the subject that would be the end of all security whatsoever…”

John Adams, from the Boston Massacre trail. His rationalization of the the Blackstone Ratio is one of the cornerstones of the US justice system.

SingingLawyer April 21, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Yeah, Perdue’s company taking stimulus money is totally the same thing as John Adams risking his professional reputation to represent British soldiers. What a profile in courage.

John Konop April 21, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Lawyers represent clients everyday they do not like or agree with…..the point is that is what makes the system go….I would think as a lawyer you would understand the bigger point Adam was making….The issue at hand is lawyers and executive must do what is in the best interest of who they represent, regardless to personal politics…if not the system will break….Do you not understand? You do understand executives are legally responsible to represent best interest of stockholders? You do understand lawyers are sworn to do they same for clients?

TheEiger April 21, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Your condescending tone doesn’t make your point any more clear John….. We understand what you are saying and it is apples to oranges……

David Perdue is no where remotely in the same league as John Adams. Let’s come back to Earth and have a discussion about Perdue…..

He is a hypocrite. He took the money and he should defend it. Period. Do you you understand……..? Do I need to type slower…….? Would that help…..?

Maybe if I add a few more periods to each sentence it will make it more clear……..

Will Durant April 21, 2014 at 4:22 pm

How do you know that he was aware a subsidiary of a company for which he sat on the board took the money? He didn’t take the money. Period. Do you you understand……..? Do I need to type slower…….? Would that help…..?

Maybe if I add a few more periods to each sentence it will make it more clear……..

TheEiger April 21, 2014 at 4:31 pm

His website touts his days as a CEO and that he sits on the board of directors of “five major corporations.” So if he gets to claim he is a great and wonderful businessman then he gets to take credit for taking stimulus dollars and laying off people at Pillowtex.

Will Durant April 21, 2014 at 4:47 pm

You are the one talking apples and oranges. If you want to talk Pillowtex or Dollar General then yes, he is more accountable for his own actions at those companies. We are talking here about accusations that he is now being hypocritical regarding federal monies for actions in a company that it is very unlikely he would have even been aware of at the time. This would have been a decision likely made unilaterally by the president of the subsidiary or possibly as high as the CEO of Alliant. But regardless of Stefan’s snark you can’t state that he personally took stimulus money just because he sits on the board of this company. If someone comes up with proof he was even aware of it or if it was even presented to the board I will be glad to admit that I’m wrong. I seriously doubt such a trivial amount would have been held for board approval and even if it had we don’t know that he didn’t vote against it. He is just one member of the board.

TheEiger April 21, 2014 at 4:52 pm

He was aware that the company received the funds.

“David believes that overall, like most spending by Washington politicians, the stimulus was a waste of taxpayer money that missed its mark while piling on even more debt,” Perdue spokesman Derrick Dickey told The Hill.

“Perdue’s campaign says he was aware of the stimulus grant to Wisconsin Power, but wasn’t involved in seeking the funds or in the company’s day-to-day management.”

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/senate-races/203914-small-government-gop-senate-candidate-has-ties-to-stimulus#ixzz2zYXhPPkk
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

Will Durant April 21, 2014 at 5:07 pm

OK, he was aware. But he didn’t personally seek the funds as you keep saying and likely didn’t even get a vote on their acceptance, board members only vote on the big stuff. If you want to sling mud then research the Pillowtex or Hagaar records. This isn’t even muddy water.

TheEiger April 21, 2014 at 5:11 pm

So you were wrong.

And this discussion is in addition to his time at Pillowtex and Hagaar. I have been critical of him for this as well.

Will Durant April 21, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Yes if it so all fired important to you to win the argument I was wrong that he was aware according to this 3rd hand report, though it doesn’t specify if he was aware of it before or after the fact. I am not wrong in calling you out that “he took stimulus money”, his spokesperson is saying he didn’t have a hand in the day-to-day operations, meaning he most likely didn’t even get a vote on the matter.

I noticed elsewhere that a Democrat was calling this Republican Primary a circular firing squad with the RINO charges and Super PAC attacks. He is right.

TheEiger April 21, 2014 at 5:48 pm

“I noticed elsewhere that a Democrat was calling this Republican Primary a circular firing squad with the RINO charges and Super PAC attacks. He is right.”

Politics is a full contact sport. If you can’t handle the heat get the hell out of the kitchen. Do you honestly think DC will be any better or easier than this campaign?

John Konop April 21, 2014 at 7:20 pm

TheEiger,

The problem is most of us see you as smart rational blogger. You are not coming across this way on the thread. I am just being honest…..

TheEiger April 21, 2014 at 4:42 pm

“It may be true that you can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.” The real Will Durant

We already have too many politicians in DC talking out of both sides of their mouth we don’t need another. Perdue is no conservative and wants the voters to believe he is. This is just one issue where his true colors have come through. He said he supports Dodd-Frank now he is against it. He took stimulus dollars now he is against it. Which is it? Who is he? He is trying to fool the population into thinking he is a conservative.

Will Durant April 21, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Actually that quote is the very reason I took this nom de plume here. And I don’t know at the moment who said that no matter how many times you repeat a lie it still doesn’t make it the truth, but that is what you are doing here unless you can prove that “He took stimulus dollars” it doesn’t bear your repetition.

South Fulton Guy April 21, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Do as I say – not as I do…

John C April 21, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Nice easy response…

Even if the Braves hate the Designated Hitter rule, they would be fools to play the World Series without one.

James Fannin April 21, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Can anyone jump in? I have been a senior executive of a publicly traded company and would have certainly sought stimulus dollars on behalf of the company and our shareholders if I had the opportunity. And if I were running for public office, I would recognize that I had an obligation to explain why the project my company participated in was in my company’s best interest and how, in this particular case, the stimulus dollars accomplished the desired goal for the American taxpayer If indeed such a case could be made. What I would not do is attack a federal program my company participated in nor would I suggest I would have voted against such a program that my company participated in because if I did so, my critics would likely call me a hypocrite – and my critics would be right.

I am more worried about Mr. Perdue’s tax returns. Having already gone on the record about his intention to be open and transparent, his unwillingness to release them suggests the returns may be politically damaging or embarrassing. I don’t want to find out after Perdue secures the Republican nomination that he has a tax return problem that doesn’t come out until he faces Michelle Nunn in the general. I actually like Perdue but he said he would be fully transparent and politicians who don’t live up to their promises before they are elected are certainly not going to be more forthcoming
After they receive our votes.

saltycracker April 22, 2014 at 9:41 am

Confession: I am opposed to many of the tax breaks on my 1040 and favor a “no exceptions, no deductions, no rebates” in favor of a flat percentage for all income over $1,000.

But I took all I could and was better for it.

We should be critical of Perdue if we found out he passed on an opportunity worth millions to his company.

Harry April 22, 2014 at 10:14 am

I agree with you, and that’s why he should release the returns.

NorthGAGOP April 22, 2014 at 10:19 am

Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina were both pummeled because of the business decisions they made. IF Perdue makes it to the general, it’s a pretty good bet that the same thing would happen to him.

He’s in the political world now, not the business world.

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