A Fox Business review of grants and loans by the federal government has discovered that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has helped to funnel millions of dollars in federal aid to companies and organizations in which his wife Gayle Manchin is involved.
Gayle Manchin is co-director of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) since April 2021, when she was appointed to this position by the White House. The commission has gotten $165 to 200 million from Congress since 2019, and was given $1 billion as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Manchin championed at the time.
Bethany College, where Gayle Manchin was a trustee, received $39.6 million in loans in 2018 under its Rural Development plan.
Reconnecting McDowell got a $250,000 grant in 2019, and other smaller grants were given to West Virginia civic organizations with ties to Gayle Manchin.
Conflict of Interest
While providing the funding doesn’t necessarily mean corruption, it could be an inappropriate conflict of interest on Sen. Manchin’s part.
A spokesperson for Manchin defended the moves as part of Manchin’s job to get aid for West Virginia.
“Senator Manchin’s position on the Senate Appropriations Committee uniquely positions him to fight for causes important to West Virginia,” the spokesperson told FOX Business. “The loans and grants specially outlined in this article were all announced with bipartisan support from both state and federal legislators representing West Virginia.”
The moves could explain, however, why Manchin was persuaded to vote for some of these big spending bills, while opposing others.
It just looks bad
There is not a law that directly prohibits the kinds of actions Manchin took, but it just looks bad when you vote a billion dollars to a non-profit co-chaired by your wife.
Gayle Manchin’s position at ARC pays her $160,000 per year, according to the Washington Times, but she would likely receive that pay no regardless of the government millions.
Sen. Manchin has prided himself on his integrity along with his ability to bring home the bacon for West Virginia.
He has also been the one vote in the Senate that has held back the full force of President Joe Biden’s progressive agenda.
Current West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (R) has said he is considering a challenge to Manchin in 2024, when Manchin’s senate seat will be up for grabs and term limits will prevent Justice from returning as governor.
News about apparent corruption on Manchin’s part could be just the kind of thing Justice needs to unseat Manchin and flip the seat to a solid Republican on going forward.