The Corner

Reagan Alumnus Blasts Bevin’s TARP Defense

A Politico story about Kentucky Senate candidate Matt Bevin’s past support for the 2008 Wall Street bailouts has drawn a broad variety of responses. (Bevin is challenging Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who voted for the 2008 program, called TARP.) 

On Glenn Beck’s radio show, Bevin defended himself by saying that he was required by law to sign his company’s investment prospectuses — one of which happened to support TARP. As a result, Bevin says, his signature doesn’t indicate that he endorsed the legislation that he now criticizes.

Chuck Cooper, a prominent conservative lawyer who was an assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice under Edwin Meese during the Reagan administration, disagrees — strongly. He tells National Review Online that Bevin’s defense, in fact, should make Kentucky voters wary.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act imposes certain requirements to ensure that investors can have confidence that the highest-ranking officers in companies vouched for their reports, Cooper says. If Bevin disagreed with the content of a report or thought it was inaccurate, under the law, he had an obligation to change it before signing off.

“If he thought there were a statement in that report and he couldn’t vouch for its accuracy, he was required to change it,” Cooper says. “That was the whole point of Sarbanes-Oxley.”

And that should give Kentucky Republican primary voters pause, Cooper continues.

“He even said, ‘don’t call it a bailout’!” Cooper says, referring to the report Bevin signed. “Now he’s calling it a bailout. Now, I’m a tea-party-type Reagan-era conservative, so I think it’s a bailout. But I really think this goes to the most fundamental questions of his credibility and the integrity of his campaign for office.”

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