According to a report, Sen. Joe Manchin (D.W.Va) was involved in the distribution of millions in funds to organizations associated with his wife.
An analysis published on Friday does not contain any allegations of wrongdoing, but its findings underscore how lawmakers’ personal interests may benefit as they seek federal money for projects in their home states.
Fox Business lists as an example a $1billion commitment to the Appalachian Regional Commission over five-years. This is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which was championed and signed by President Joe Biden on November 20, 2021.
Months earlier, the White House appointed the senator’s wife, Gayle Manchin, to be co-chairwoman of the federal-state partnership. The money will be used by ARC, as she said in May 2021. “more adequately meet the overwhelming needs of communities impacted by job losses resulting from the decline in the coal industry. These grants will be instrumental to the long-term diversification and economic growth in Appalachia.”
The $1.7 trillion Omnibus Spending bill was also signed by Biden December. It contained $200 million for funding the Commission in 2023. That’s a five-fold increase in spending over last year.
Analysis of other loans and grants related to Gayle Mannin include $39.6 Million secured by Bethany College (West Virginia) in 2018, which was a loan or grant to Gayle. She also served as a trustee there from 2012 to 2021. The Rural Development program of the Agriculture Department was the source, according to the report. The federal program had access to funding in the billions from the Inflation Reduction Act of 20,22 which Senator Manchin was a key player in negotiating.
“The college worked tirelessly with USDA staff for several years to complete the rigorous application process and provide the department with all the information it required to evaluate the college’s eligibility,”Bethany College stressed this in a statement.
Manchin is one of thirty senators who make up the Senate Appropriations Committee. He helps draft legislation that allocates funds from the federal government. Manchin’s office told Fox Business that the senator uses his position on the panel to “fight for”West Virginia causes
“The loans and grants specially outlined in this article were all announced with bipartisan support from both state and federal legislators representing West Virginia,”A spokesperson was added.
The full article is available here here