Opinion: No fooling—Lowden took bailout money, then denied it

SUBMITTED RELEASE FROM NEVADA STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

By Phoebe Sweet

LAS VEGAS–It would be easy to blame Sue Lowden’s dramatic reversal on TARP funding–she was for it before she was against it–on GOP primary politics. The Republican Senate primary has turned into a race to see which candidate can out-teabag the others, running far to the right and away from anything related to bailouts, health care reform and even unemployment assistance.

But there’s an even darker explanation for Lowden’s switch than her desire to win a Republican primary. Actually taking bailout money is even more toxic, and she took it.

Starting May 20, 2008, Lowden was granted a $29 million line of credit from Colonial Bank, on whose board she had sat for years.

In November 2008, Colonial applied for TARP funds and was approved for a $550 million bailout the next month. Without the prospect of the bailout, Colonial would almost certainly have folded immediately–instead, they hung on for another eight months–meaning access to the bailout money directly benefited Lowden by sustaining her $29 million from Colonial.

And when Colonial did finally fail, it was taken over by BB&T Corporation, which received $3.1 billion in TARP funds, as part of a deal brokered by the federal government. Two weeks after the takeover, Lowden applied for and received another $29 million loan–again a loan that was bankrolled by the bailed-out BB&T.

And yet after all that, Lowden told a conservative crowd of Elko Republicans: “we didn’t take any bailout or stimulus money.”

“If Sue Lowden limited her dishonesty to April Fool’s Day it might be forgivable. But her disturbing pattern of dishonesty with Nevadans is no joke,” said Phoebe Sweet, communications director for
the Nevada State Democratic Party. “It seems Lowden is willing to say or do anything to get ahead–whether that means illegally denying her workers health insurance, cutting jobs while giving her husband six-figure bonuses or lying about her record on the bailout.”

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