Anti-Stimulus Candidate Gets Paid by the Stimulus

Hilarious! Hypocritical! A Republican House candidate who has opposed the $787 billion stimulus package is actually getting paid by said monies from said stimulus package!

It seems to be a bit more complicated than that, but here's how the story goes...

David McKinley, the Republican candidate running against Democrat Mike Oliverio in West Virginia's 1st Congressional District (the same district where Oliverio shocked Democratic incumbent Rep. Nick Rahall  Alan Mollohan in the primary earlier this year) runs an architectural and engineering company, which has been working to design a school in Marshall County.

The Associated Press now reports that McKinley's firm is actually being paid for the job with stimulus money:

School Building Authority chief Mark Anthony Manchin said Tuesday part of the money used to pay McKinley's firm came from a stimulus-created bond.

Manchin also said that design work continues on the $30 million Cameron high school-middle school project.

McKinley opposes both the stimulus and federal earmarks. The issues page of his campaign website states, in the "Economy" section: "The bailouts and stimulus packages have not worked and are only contributing to our rising national debt." The same page pledges that McKinley will propose legislation to ban federal earmarks not related to national security if he's elected to Congress.

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The stimulus isn't featured very prominently on McKinley's website, as it is on the sites of some other Republican candidates running for federal office this year.

Now for the ins and outs of how McKinley found himself in such an amusing position.

According to McKinley's campaign, McKinley's firm was awarded this contract in 2004--when the stimulus package wasn't even a twinkle in state Sen. Barack Obama's eye.

"The contract that McKinley and Associates was awarded form the West Virginia School Building Authority, negotiations began on that in 2004, five years before the word 'stimulus' was ever conceived in Washington," said campaign spokesman Steve Cohen, who noted that the contract was awarded through the pre-existing Qualified School Construction Program, which ended up getting money under the stimulus.

So it's not as if McKinley's firm sought out stimulus money explicitly, according to McKinley's campaign. His firm simply was awarded a contract under a program that subsequently got federal funds from the stimulus, and in the process ended up getting paid, in part, by stimulus bonds.

McKinley's problem with the stimulus has always been that not enough of it went to shovel-ready construction jobs, Cohen said.

"David McKinley has been very clear about his criticism of the stimulus program, because only seven percent of it went to brick-and-mortar projects, which he firmly believes would cut the 35 percent unemployment rate in the construction industry," Cohen said.

So, according to his campaign, McKinley has never actually opposed the type of stimulus spending that his firm is currently benefiting from. Just the stimulus on the whole--because it didn't have enough of that type of spending in it.

Nonetheless, on its face this is an entertainingly compromising position for McKinley to be in, and Oliverio has seized on it, calling McKinley a hypocrite for opposing the stimulus while pocketing a sliver of it.

Such is the danger, apparently, of bidding for public contracts while running for Congress as a Republican.