Hal Rogers joined some of his
employees friends in London on Tuesday to ribboncut the new Business Innovation and Growth Center.
The so-called incubator includes “9,600 square feet of product development, office and laboratory space. It’s expected to help create 127 jobs and generate $6 million in private investment in its first five years.”
It was paid for almost entirely by taxpayer funds, with over a million coming from the Feds and at least $400,000 from the State.
Hal of course is pretending to swear off such porkbellied projects these days as head of House Appropriations and there’s no reason to believe this incubator won’t actually create 127 jobs and generate $6 million in private investment over the next five years.
But it’s a damn shame that someone like Hal, who obviously understands the importance of tax dollars and what they can do for absolutely decimated counties around the country, can’t find it in his heart or his brain to beat back to vocal minority that threatens to destroy his party. Maybe that’s asking too much. Maybe it’ll just be more fun to watch Hal figure new ways to funnel money back home to help the struggling folks of Eastern Kentucky (or, you know, himself).
Who knows. What we can say with some certainty, is that Hal traditionally brings the bucks and his new taxpayer funded incubator is no different.
In a recent report (PDF), Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) examined “seven nonprofits Rep. Rogers helped start, a nonprofit venture capital firm, and eight private companies.” Oh, and a bank he partially owns.
The nonprofits collectively employ 147 people, according to their most recent tax forms.2 The tax forms also disclose salaries for twelve paid board members – some whom work only part-time – who made an average of $104,000 per year, ranging from a high of $173,581 to a low of $69,339.3 CREW also included nonprofit venture capital firm Kentucky Highlands Investment Corp. (KHIC).
KHIC is the group behind Hal’s just-ribboncut $1 million taxpayer incubator. Here’s what CREW has to say about KHIC:
KHIC is a nonprofit venture capital firm based in London, Kentucky, that has connections to almost every other entity in Rep. Rogers’ web. Between 1998 and 2000, KHIC received $2.5 million in earmarks, almost certainly thanks to support from Rep. Rogers. Since 2000, KHIC has received more than $17 million from the federal government in grants and loans and Rep. Rogers has announced many of these awards. Rep. Rogers has also participated in many events at KHIC, including a groundbreaking for a business incubator for which he helped secure federal funds. L. Ray Moncrief, KHIC’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, donated $8,000 to Rep. Rogers’ campaigns over the past two election cycles, but not to any other federal candidates during that time period. In 2007, Rep. Rogers also appointed Jerry Rickett, president and chief executive officer of KHIC, to the board of the Tennessee Valley Corridor. Mr. Rickett and Mr. Moncrief preside over an empire which, in 2009, reported net assets worth at least $45 million. KHIC was founded as a community development corporation in 1968 with $15 million in grants from the federal government and now owns or directs at least 13 other entities, including for-profit venture capital funds and a real estate company.
CREW has much more on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (PDF), but as far as KHIC alone, they found the following payouts:
- Earmarks (2000-2010): $500,000.
- Federal Grants and Loans (2000-2010): $16.9 million.
- Political Contributions (2001-Present): $14,000.