In battle-of-bailouts primary, Bevin says McConnell is part of 'bipartisan hackery' that places politics over people

09/02/2013 10:35 PM

The first six weeks of the 2014 Republican U.S. Senate primary has been a battle of bailout blame.

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s campaign launched an ad seeking to brand his challenger, Matt Bevin, as “Bailout Bevin” because of government assistance one of his companies received to rebuild its Connecticut bell factory after a lighting fire last year. And in a recent radio interview, host Andrea Tantaros asked Bevin to sum up McConnell in one word. He said “bailout” in reference to McConnell’s support of federal funds to prop up banks in 2008.

Bevin got into the U.S. Senate race against Senator McConnell on July 24th, saying Kentucky “deserves better.” In his first in-studio interview at Pure Politics, Bevin said McConnell is part of what ails government as part of “some kind of bipartisan hackery.” (1:20 of the interview).

“Government is about negotiation. Government is about compromise. And it should be. But right now what it has evolved to in Washington and in many state capitols around the country is some kind of bipartisan hackery where people just line up and vote against the other guy because it’s the other guy. It’s silliness. It’s what happens though when you have someone like Mitch McConnell, who have never worked in the private sector a day in their lives,” Bevin said.

Bevin gets into his philosophy of why Washington needs turnover (1:20 – 3:20), the bank bailout Congress passed in 2008 (3:30 – 5:00 and 6:30 -7:30), and his own business background that has come under fire by McConnell (5:00 – 6:30). The segment begins with Bevin answering questions about McConnell, specifically whether he believes — as some tea party activists have said — that McConnell has been too nice to President Barack Obama.

“I don’t think he’s been a leader. I think he’s relatively spineless as a leader. And that’s a problem,” Bevin said to start this interview segment. Watch the rest:

As for Bevin’s background, he was born in Colorado. And he grew up as one of six children in New Hampshire. After graduating from Washington and Lee University and serving in the Army, he began working as an investment manager. In 2003, he started his own firm, Integrity Asset Management, based in Louisville.

Two items to clarify from that segment.

  • First about the McConnell ad on Bevin:

Factcheck.org’s Robert Farley offered a detailed breakdown of that ad. And he said McConnell’s attacks “have often stretched the truth or outright misled viewers.”

One example Farley cited was the money to rebuild Bevin Brothers Bells in Connecticut. McConnell’s ad — and I, in my question — mistakenly said the state of Connecticut put up $200,000. Only $100,000 came from the state in the form of a matching grant. As Bevin said, it was essentially a forgivable loan. Bevin Brothers — which has 15 employees — used that money to buy new equipment.

  • Secondly, some clarification on the reference I made to a settlement between National City and Bevin’s firm, Integrity Asset Management.

The Dec. 1, 2003, edition of Crain’s Cleveland Business reported National City sued Integrity in August 2003 on behalf of one of its divisions called Armada Funds. From that article:
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“National City accused the principals of violating a noncompete agreement that stated they were not to solicit clients or Armada Funds employees. The dispute was settled out of court in late September. Under the agreement, Integrity won’t solicit Armada Funds’ clients, but if any choose to go to Integrity, the two companies will share the revenues through December 2004, Mr Bevin said.”

After the interview, Bevin acknowledged that it was, indeed, settled, which is why it was dismissed from court, as he said. He said not a dollar ever had to be shared with National City.

_(Note: Pure Politics has reached out numerous times to McConnell’s campaign and U.S. Senate staff to return for his first in-studio interview since April 2012. So far those invitations haven’t been accepted. Invitations also have been extended to Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, who was last in studio in October 2012.) _

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