As Ramesh points out below, Kentucky Senate candidate Matt Bevin’s campaign is claiming that he has consistently opposed the Troubled Asset Relief Program, drawing a contrast with Mitch McConnell, who has defended his role in passing the emergency bailout legislation. This is despite the fact that, as president of an investment firm in 2008, he signed a letter along with the firm’s chief investment officer that says the following:
Most of the positive developments have been government led, such as the effective nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the passage of the $700 billion TARP (don’t call it a bailout) and the Federal Reserve’s intention to invest in commercial paper. These moves should help to stabilize asset prices and help to ease liquidity constraints in the financial system. The government actions to date have been reasonably swift and substantial. The Federal Reserve seems to understand the magnitude of the problem and the underlying issues involved.
Bevin told The Blaze that he “didn’t actually write the letter.”
“I did not write any of the letters that were ever published as investment commentary,” he said. I was the president and chairman of the board and by SEC law, was required to sign prospectuses when they were sent out. . . . It would have been inappropriate and probably illegal, frankly, for me to have changed the investing commentary written by the subadviser [for] the fund who was responsible for that.”
Bevin may or may not be right about the underlying legalities — it’s not clear how compliance would require him to lend his endorsement to investment advice he didn’t believe. He’s maintaining that he adamantly opposed measures that he was telling investors, to whom he has a fiduciary responsibility and to whom he was selling advice, were a great idea.
Of course, Bevin could have privately objected on principle but believed that they were the right measure — especially for equities investors — especially in the short term. But I suspect he won’t be saying that, and Mitch McConnell can rightly argue that even Matt Bevin knew financial markets had to be rescued and that passing TARP was the right move.