West Virginia industrial magnate and perennial GOP candidate John Raese has been campaigning on fiercely anti-government message for the Senate seat vacated by the late Sen. Robert Byrd. Raese is adamantly opposed to any form of government intervention into private sector, telling ABC News that he “absolutely” thinks the minimum wage should be abolished. He’s also claimed a New Deal program was declared unconstitutional because it involved the “government micromanaging an intervention into the private sector.”
And earlier this month, he told the AP that “America is in ‘an industrial coma‘ because of the adversarial relationship between corporations and a bloated federal government,” calling the government a “restrictor plate” on capitalism, especially for the manufacturing and mining industries. And Raese is proud of his own independence from the government, saying he “can’t think of very many times when a government agency has helped me.”
But apparently Raese’s memory is mistaken and his own business empire is immune to the coma-inducing power of the government “restrictor plate.” As the Charleston Gazettte reports today, Raese’s Greer Industries — which is incidentally involved in manufacturing and mining — has “made millions from taxpayer-funded contracts over the past decade”:
According to reports from the state auditor’s office, Greer Industries has made West Virginia’s list of the top 200 state government vendors every year between 2000 and 2009. Records show the state has paid Greer Industries about $31.7 million in that time.
Greer Lime and Greer Limestone also received a combined $709,000 in state work during those years.
Greer Industries has been awarded about $2.4 million in contracts from the federal government between 2000 and 2009. That’s according to the website FedSpending.org, a database run by the nonprofit government watchdog group OMB Watch.
Raese has infamously said that he “made my money the old-fashioned way — I inherited it.” But apparently he’s also made his money from the taxpayer largess that he’s now claiming to oppose.
Of course, Raese is not the only ant-government spending candidate to profit from government spending. For example, Alaska GOP Senate nominee Joe Miller took Medicaid benefits that he thinks are unconstitutional, while Kentucky GOP Senate nominee Rand Paul has called for reducing nearly every bit of federal spending except for Medicare payments because “physicians” — like Paul — “should be allowed to make a comfortable living.” (HT: Jesse Zwick)