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“Your Tax Dollars”: Family Of New GOP Senate Pork Buster Joni Ernst Pocketed Almost Half A Million In Government Assistance

Anyone who tuned in to hear the GOP response to the State of the Union address was treated to an introduction to the GOP’s newest freshman Senate star, Joni Ernst of Iowa.

You may recall Ms. Ernst’s legendary campaign commercial where she informed us all that she had grown up castrating pigs and was, therefore, uniquely qualified to cut the pork from bloated federal spending. You may also recall that, in the castration commercial, she told us about how her family had taught Ernst what she needed to know about the importance of living within one’s means—a lesson, Ernst argued, that has been lost on the federal government.

Turns out, the Senator’s family has a somewhat unusual concept of what “living within one’s means” actually involves as we now know that her father and uncle have been the beneficiaries of some of that good old government pork that the newly minted Senator has sworn to snip from the body of the federal budget.

Apparently, living within their means, inside the Senator’s family, involves including some of your tax dollars and mine as a part of the family budget.

While it may be true, as Senator Ernst recounted in her official response to the SOTU, that she had to walk to school in the snow, uphill both ways, when she was a kid—not really as her actual claim to feeling the pain of low income Americans is that she and her friends wore bread bags over their one and only pair of shoes to protect them from the snow—her family may well have paid for those shoes with taxpayer cash.

An examination by the Washington DC based District Sentinel website reveals that Ernst’s father, Richard Culver, pocketed $38,395 in taxpayer money in the guise of corn subsidies.

But then, Ernst’s dad can’t hold a candle to his brother when it comes to receiving government redistribution of wealth as Senator Joni’s Uncle Dallas has pocketed a cool $370,000 in government subsidies.

Somehow, as Senator Ernst castigated the federal government for all this wasteful spending and wealth redistribution, she failed to mention that her own family has benefitted substantially from the same.

I suppose we can forgive this bit of hypocrisy given Ernst’s long record of involving herself in ‘clean’ government back in Iowa, right?

Not so much.

As reported by Salon, it turns out that daddy’s construction company (and here I thought he was but a poor, struggling farmer) was awarded some $215,665 in building contracts from the Montgomery County during the years 2009 and 2010.

There is certainly nothing inappropriate in a builder winning a few government contracts—unless it turns out that the builder’s daughter Joni, who would go on to become a United States Senator, happens to be the powerful county auditor for that very same Montgomery County.

According to Iowa law, that is a “no-no.”

“The Iowa Code lays out stringent conflict of interest standards for county contracts. Chapter 331 of the code stipulates that ‘[a]n officer or employee of a county shall not have an interest, direct, or indirect, in a contract with that county.’ The provision applies if 5 percent of a company’s outstanding stock is owned by either a county employee or an immediate family member – including a parent – of an employee.”

I’m not sure how much more “on point” the statute could be.

Meet the new GOP—same as the old GOP.

 

By: Rick Ungar, Contributor, Forbes, January 22, 2015

January 23, 2015 - Posted by | Federal Budget, GOP, Joni Ernst | , , , , , ,

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