June 4, 2009

An Erroneous Early Misfire From Kasich’s PressSec (See Updates)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:35 pm

An overzealous press secretary thought he struck early gold.

Unfortunately, based on what I have found, in his apparent enthusiasm, he has overstated the facts on ground in Columbus, Georgia.

I received the following e-mail yesterday from Rob Nichols at Kasich for Ohio:

Strickland’s Support for Federal Bailout Program Helps Pave the Way for Dayton Job Losses

Columbus, Ohio – According to the Columbus (GA) Ledger-Enquirer, Columbus, Georgia, plans to use federal stimulus money to purchase a building that NCR will use to house its new ATM manufacturing facility.

“Ohioans will remember that Governor Strickland led his fellow governors to Washington, D.C., to beg for federal stimulus money to bail him out. Now that same money is being used by the State of Georgia to lure NCR away from its 125 year home in Dayton, Ohio,” said Rob Nichols, press secretary for Kasich for Governor. “It is astonishing that Dayton residents’ own tax dollars are being used to finance the departure of one of the city’s most important economic assets.”

….. “Beyond the incentives package offered to NCR, Ohio offered no compelling economic reason to stay and conduct business in Ohio,” said Nichols. “Sadly, the Governor has done nothing to address the fundamental problems that have plagued Ohio’s economy for decades and have put us at a competitive disadvantage in our ability to bring jobs to this state.”

That’s fine, if you ignore the following, which of course you can’t — According to the Ledger-Enquirer (click on the fourth item at the link to get to the actual article), as of Tuesday, the stimulus funding in Columbus, Georgia is NOT “being used,” isn’t on hand to be used, and may not ever arrive (bolds are mine):

To get up and running quickly, NCR will move into the Corporate Ridge Business Park facility formerly owned and occupied by Panasonic, which has been out of it for almost two years.

The 340,000 square foot facility was purchased for $5.2 million by the Development Authority of Columbus.

To make the deal happen, the Development Authority and city of Columbus got “creative and aggressive,” said Becca Hardin, the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce industrial recruiter credited by Perdue, Mayor Jim Wetherington and NCR officials as the one who deserves credit for her work on the project for the last four months.

How aggressive?

The city has said it will guarantee $7.5 million in incentives. The city has applied to the Economic Development Administration for $5.5 million in federal stimulus money to offset the cost of buying the Panasonic property.

“The city is the backstop in the event we don’t get the money from the EDA” Wetherington said.

If the city has to fork over money for the project, it will borrow the money and pay it back at no more than $1 million per year, Wetherington said.

Now it may be that Columbus, GA will ultimately get the stimulus money (though given the likelihood that politics is involved in the EDA’s decision-making process, Nichols’s press release may cause its rejection). And of course, NCR is leaving Ohio because of its awful business climate whether or not the stimulus money arrives.

But the stimulus money is NOT currently “being used by the State of Georgia to lure NCR away from its 125 year home in Dayton, Ohio” — because they don’t have it to use it.

This is really weak.

Rob Nichols, you screwed up, and the center-right, sensible conservative Ohio blogosphere, including but not limited to the State of Ohio Blogger Alliance, is not going to pretend that you haven’t when we find things like this.

The press spokesmouth for the guy who wants to be Ohio’s next governor should be better than this. He has 17 months to prove it.


UPDATE, 11:30 p.m.: I’d say after looking over this Columbus (OH) Dispatch report that Columbus, GA can forget about that stimulus money and start working on Plan B (or I should say Plan S for “self-reliant) –

“We have applied for stimulus funding, but we haven’t heard anything whether we’re going to get the money we applied for,” he (Columbus GA Mayor Jim Wetherington) said. “If we don’t, then local government would have to foot the bill.”

Wetherington said he “personally wouldn’t have a problem” using federal stimulus dollars to lure jobs from one state to another, although he acknowledged that “other people might. This money that we’ve applied for is what President Obama said is going to be available.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who cast the deciding vote in the Senate to pass the stimulus bill earlier this year, was sending a letter today to Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke objecting to such us of stimulus money.

“He is writing Secretary Locke to urge him to prevent funds from being used for the purpose of building a new facility that would take jobs from Dayton, Ohio, to Columbus, Ga.,” said Meghan Dubyak, a Brown spokeswoman. “The senator would say the Economic Recovery Package (stimulus bill) was passed to create jobs, not help relocate them.”

Because of the Democratic majorities in Congress, it would be reasonable to believe that what Sherrod Brown wants, Sherrod Brown will get — which makes the Kasich release at the beginning of this post even more ridiculous and wrong.


UPDATE 2, June 5: An early morning report from the Columbus (OH) Dispatch indicates that Columbus, GA will probably have a very difficult time getting that stimulus money

The White House appeared yesterday to rule out using federal stimulus money to help Georgia officials build a manufacturing plant for NCR Corp., which is moving its headquarters from Dayton to Georgia.

The effort by officials of Columbus, Ga., to seek money from the $787 billion economic-stimulus package provoked anger and outrage among Ohio politicians, who said federal tax dollars should not help NCR move to another state.

A White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said no stimulus money has been awarded, “and the administration obviously had no role in the relocation,” noting that NCR had decided to move before Georgia officials said they would apply for the money.

But the official added that the Department of Commerce, which has control over the money, won’t allow it be used to encourage “corporate relocation from one U.S. region to another and will review every request very carefully.”

However, the Commerce Department seemed to leave the door open to using stimulus money to help Georgia build a plant for NCR.

Another source, who also spoke anonymously, said a Commerce official told the staff of an Ohio lawmaker last night that there did not appear to be a direct link between NCR leaving Dayton and the request by Georgia officials for stimulus money. But, the source said, “We’re going to work to make sure this doesn’t happen again in the future.”

Rob Nichols loses either way:

  • If the Obama administration stops the stimulus money from going to Columbus, GA, which in the real seems pretty likely, there was no obviously no justification for the press release.
  • If Commerce lets it go because of the lack of a direct link, he was still wrong in issuing the release, because the stimulus money was not approved, and therefore wasn’t “being used,” at the time he issued his clearly false gotcha.

Kasich deserves better than this from his PressSec. He’d better get it, or it will be a long 17 months.



  1. Overreact much?

    Comment by DJ Tablesauce — June 4, 2009 @ 3:25 pm

  2. #1, Surely you jest.

    What about …

    …. the stimulus finding in Columbus, Georgia is NOT “being used,” isn’t on hand to be used, and may not ever arrive

    … don’t you understand?

    Comment by TBlumer — June 4, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

  3. On the flip side, I wonder if there are any Obamaites in the Georgia newspapers trumpeting the stimulus package as having helped bring the state a huge economic asset?

    Comment by zf — June 4, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

  4. 2. Yep. I understand.

    And I don’t think it was unintentional. Campaigns twist and spin words to have the desired effect. And without question, the quote was effective.

    The evidence is right there in front of you. The paper didn’t call out Nichols for twisting the reality. If they had, this post might have a point.

    Comment by DJ Tablesauce — June 4, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

  5. #3, Oh stop it. I kept on waiting for the /sarc sign, because you can’t be serious.

    “The paper” is in Georgia. As of a few hours ago, Kasich hasn’t posted the e-mail on his web site. Do you think they care?

    So that’s your standard now, whether somebody at a paper 500 miles away calls someone out?

    This isn’t “twisting and spinning,” this is untruth. Thus it is by definition INeffective. Who the bleep do you think you’re kidding?

    If this is considered acceptable behavior, and this is what we’ll be fed the next 17 months, Kasich is doomed. Absolutely, doomed.

    Consider this a dry run for how Ohio’s media will rip untruths out of Kasich and his team to shreds, with a lot less civility and with a lot greater effect.

    Comment by TBlumer — June 4, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

  6. #3, Interesting follow-up point — if/when the app gets approved.

    Comment by TBlumer — June 4, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

  7. Tom:

    Received the same thing you did yesterday and dismissed quickly. Especially since the vast majority of the stimulus funds are backloaded for two years later. Plus there’s the fact that Sonny Perdue is a Republican and not likely to get any special favors to the detriment of one of Obama’s lapdog governors like Strickland.

    Kasich had better watch out. This sort of thing will come back to bite him in the butt.

    Comment by RightRunner — June 4, 2009 @ 5:23 pm

  8. Saying it was ineffective doesn’t make it so. I say it was. See how that works?

    Also, I disagree with your characterization that it’s a lie or “unacceptable behavior”. It’s quite possible, and even very likely that GA told NCR that they would attempt to get stimulus money for the project. That would be considered “luring”, which is all Nichols asserts.

    Remember, “the money” is the stimulus package that Strickland supported. “used by the state to lure” is what I described above. It isn’t a lie by any stretch.

    Hell, I even take back my first comment.

    Either way, you’re still overreacting.

    Comment by DJ Tablesauce — June 4, 2009 @ 6:01 pm

  9. #8, I keep on hoping you’ll say “aha, I’m just a lefty jerking your chain.” Apparently not.

    Let’s count the lies any 10 year-old would understand are lies:

    - #1 — Headline, “NCR’s Move to Georgia Leveraged with Stimulus Money.” Since the City of Columbus Georgia doesn’t HAVE the stimulus money and doesn’t know if it will GET the stimulus money, it can’t possibly leverage the stimulus money.

    - #2 — Text, “Now that same money is being used by the State of Georgia to lure NCR away from its 125 year home in Dayton, Ohio.” The State of Georgia doesn’t HAVE the money, the City of Columbus GA doesn’t HAVE the money. If they don’t HAVE it, they can’t USE it.

    - #3 — Text, “It is astonishing that Dayton residents’ own tax dollars are being used to finance the departure of one of the city’s most important economic assets.” Dayton residents’ own tax dollars aren’t being used by Georgia or Columbus GA, because Georgia doesn’t have it.

    I’m a pretty patient guy, but …. Are you really this dense? Do I need to get out the crayons next?

    Then you try to rely on something you can’t possibly know (“It’s quite possible, and even very likely that GA told NCR that they would attempt to get stimulus money for the project”) to defend the indefensible. How pathetic.

    The sad thing is that there was and still is plenty of ammo there without having to make stuff up out of thin air.

    I expect honorable behavior from the people who are supposed to be helping a candidate I would like to support get Ohio voters on their side. The press release is not honorable or even acceptable. Average Ohioans will not accept a continuation of this.

    Cynical, amoral crap like this is why the Ohio GOP has fallen from dominance to doormat in five short years. I can assure you that enough SOBers to matter do not and will not accept this.

    And I note that you aren’t commenting on how Ohio’s media will capitalize on things like this. They will, you know it, it won’t be pretty, and there is no defense.

    If Rob Nichols feels the same way about this release as you, he should leave the campaign before he does permanent damage.

    Comment by TBlumer — June 4, 2009 @ 11:15 pm

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