Did the NRSC Vet Thad Cochran?

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections

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The media, GOP lobbyists, and the NRSC think that as long as a senator properly executes the pay-for-play and grows government for several decades, there is nothing more to learn about them.  After all, they are members-in-good-standing of the permanent political class, there cannot be any baggage.  Conversely, every conservative challenger who threatens the foundations of the establishment is immediately tainted and fully defined by puerile oppo hits, irrespective of that individual’s solid reputation in his or her community or line of work for years.

Thad Cochran is a stealth senator from Mississippi who has done nothing for conservatives during his 42 years in Washington.  On second thought, it would have been better for him to do nothing as opposed to working with Democrat appropriators to expand the role and reach of the federal government into every aspect of state government.  But evidently, that has inoculated him from any scrutiny about how he and his campaign conduct business.

There are two stories that have surfaced that have painted a less than flattering image of  Senator Cochran’s ethics, but the rest of the media is not interested in cannibalizing one of their own in the way they do to our candidates.

The media might want to explore why Senator Cochran is travelling with his executive assistant on taxpayer dollars to 42 countries since 2002, as reported by Breitbart:

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) lives in the basement apartment in a house owned by his executive assistant, Kay Webber, which he has listed as his primary address on official forms. Now public records show Webber accompanied Cochran on dozens of taxpayer-funded trips overseas.

According to the Congressional Record, where trip details including cost are listed, Webber has traveled with Cochran at taxpayer expense to 42 countries across five continents since 2002. […]

Other documents show that in 2005 and 2007, the Wine Institute, a trade association that represents the California wine industry, paid for Cochran’s and Webber’s travel to Sonoma, California for what a disclosure form described as “a fact-finding program on issues of importance to the wine industry.” No other aides attended the trip.

This relationship is so bizarre, even McConnell has declined to defend Cochran.

Members of the media might also want to dig into this Roll Call story showing how a local Mississippi bank has given a pro-Cochran super PAC a bizarre unsecured loan:

In an unusual transaction, a financial institution has given an unsecured $230,150 loan to a Super PAC to use for making independent expenditures in the 2014 primary elections.

The Mississippi Conservatives, a Republican-oriented Super PAC supporting Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., in the June 3rd Republican primary, reported it had receipts of $717,993 during the first quarter of 2014, including a $230,150 loan from Trustmark Bank in Jackson, Mississippi. Trustmark (NASDAQ:TRMK) is a publicly traded corporation.

Harry Walker, a regional President of the bank signed the agreement on January 29, 2014. The loan is due on June 3, 2014, and the interest rate (APR) is 2.86%. The forms indicate there are no other parties secondarily liable for the debt incurred, and there is no pledged collateral for the loan.

The most unusual aspect of the loan is there are no future contributions or future receipts pledged as collateral for the loan. This may be the first reported unsecured bank loan to a Super PAC, especially to one that was only two weeks old. With no committee track record, and no collateral, it is hard to understand how this loan could have been made in the normal course of business. The committee has only repaid $20,000 of the loan.

As it turns out, Walker also serves on Cochran’s fundraising committee.  And both Walker and Richard Hickson, the former CEO of Trustmark Bank, have donated to Cochran.

So what happens after the primary?  Do they just default on the loan effectively converting it to a massive contribution from a bank?

As conservatives, we strive to focus on the issues that are concerning the voters.  But I would imagine that if we hired as many professional hit men as they do for our candidates, we would find exponentially more skeletons in the closets of their candidates.  It would be nice for the media to join the vetting process.