Transparency fail: U.S. Department of Agriculture is running interference for Kay Hagan

The Obama administration is the most open and transparent administration in history…..said no serious person, EVER. Though the line is still repeated ad nauseam by White House and administration officials, it has been thoroughly debunked time and time again. But it seems that the administration isn’t just trying to provide cover for itself anymore. They’re also now trying to run interference for North Carolina Democrat Kay Hagan.

Under fire for her family benefitting from the wasteful 2009 stimulus bill, Hagan got an assist this week from the Department of Agriculture. The Carolina Journal is investigating a $50,000 grant to a company owned by Hagan’s husband and his brothers, but the paper isn’t getting much in the way of transparency from the USDA:

On Tuesday, CJ spoke by telephone with Delane Johnson, North Carolina’s rural development public information coordinator, who said she would treat CJ’s request for documents about the $50,000 renewable energy grant as a Freedom of Information Act request. By email, she said agency policy requires USDA to contact the grant recipient, JDC Manufacturing, before complying with the document request. She also indicated that she would have a response to CJ within 10 days.

By Wednesday, however, Johnson was much less cooperative. CJ went to the Raleigh office to meet Johnson and ask her additional questions about the process of reviewing the grant file. Upon arrival, CJ was told to take a seat outside Johnson’s office. Another employee went into the office, closed the door, and a few minutes later, informed CJ that Johnson would not be able to speak with him and that the matter was being handled in Washington.

The USDA Rural Development office in Raleigh is headed by Randall Gore, who was recommended for the position in 2009 by newly elected Sen. Hagan, a Democrat. Both Gore and Hagan live in Greensboro. President Barack Obama later nominated Gore to the post and the Senate confirmed him.

Earlier this week, CJ reported on the $50,000 grant from the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program. The grant paid for the second phase of a solar energy installation at a building in Reidsville owned by JDC Manufacturing, a company co-owned by Kay Hagan’s husband Charles “Chip” Hagan and Chip’s brothers John and David. Another Hagan family-owned company, Plastic Revolutions, leases space at the JDC building.

Not only is this a textbook example of cronyism, and possibly nepotism, there’s also the new angle of the USDA getting involved to run interference for Hagan. Because that’s what transparent administrations do, right? They protect the politicians from their own party who, like Hagan, vote with them 96 percent of the time.

Become a Freedom Team Member

Make an impact in your community by becoming a Freedom Team member!

Join Us Today