Wait - So a Political Contribution Can’t Buy a Stimulus Contract?
Today’s roundup of stimulus coverage:
Good news for stimulus watchdogs: There seems to be little connection between state-level campaign contributions and federal stimulus contracts. On Wednesday, the National Institute on Money in State Politics released "Recovery Watch," an online tool that lets you cross-check stimulus contracts awarded by states and campaign contributions. Its findings? Only 104 recipients – or 3.2 percent – of the 3,285 recipients of stimulus contracts were also donors to state-level political campaigns during the 2008 and 2009 election cycles.
Meanwhile, the American dollars for American jobs mantra continues. Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the Obama administration to reject a request for stimulus money for a $1.5 billion wind energy project because the turbines would be built in Chinese factories. "The idea that stimulus funds would be used to create jobs overseas is quite troubling," Schumer wrote in a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The Investigative Reporting Project at American University reported last week on stimulus grants going to green energy companies overseas, which we noted in a recent roundup.
And finally, The Washington Post reports on Wednesday's advance of legislation to extend unemployment benefits and homebuyer tax credits. The measure extends unemployment benefits by 20 weeks in states with high unemployment rates. It also extends the first-time homebuyer credit through April 30, and creates a new $6,500 credit for homebuyers who had been in their previous residence for at least five years. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate, and is expected to pass in the House today and then get signed quickly by President Barack Obama. Government watchdogs have uncovered many instances of fraud with the first-time homebuyer credit.
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Officials have struggled to spend the nearly $800 billion stimulus package quickly and effectively.