By RONNIE ELLIS
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin on Tuesday gave yet another explanation for his signature on a 2009 letter to investors containing praise for the Troubled Asset Relief Program or TARP, saying it was applied digitally.
Bevin, the Louisville investment manager who is challenging incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, continues to be hounded by questions about the letter in light of his criticism of McConnell’s vote for the TARP in the fall of 2008 when many thought the economy was hovering on the brink of collapse.
Tuesday, Bevin said his signature was applied electronically, though he never actually said it was done without his knowledge.
“It wasn’t a signature,” Bevin said. “It was a digital signature that was put on there as required by law. It was submitted electronically. They always are.”
But an hour later, after attending a rally in the Capitol Rotunda by a group called Christians at the Capitol, Bevin simply said he signed all the documents.
“I’ve signed many documents as president and CEO as required by law,” Bevin said. “I signed every single document that we were required to file. I did not write any of the investment commentary for any of them.”
Bevin often criticizes McConnell for voting for the TARP. Then last week, John Bresnahan reported in POLITICO that Bevin signed an Oct. 28, 2009, letter to investors of Veracity Fund, of which Bevin was president and chairman of the board, praising governmental intervention in the financial markets.
“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.”
The report was signed by Bevin and Daniel Bandi, chief investment officer and vice president for Veracity.
Since then, Bevin has struggled to try to put the controversy to rest, at first suggesting he didn’t sign the letter but then revising that to say he’d signed it, but did so only because he was required by law to sign it and that Bandi was responsible for the content of the letter.
The controversy has dogged Bevin, fueled by media questions and criticism from the McConnell campaign. Over the weekend, Kentucky’s other Republican U.S. Senator, Rand Paul, said the controversy has hurt Bevin.
Paul endorsed McConnell before Bevin entered the race, but many of Paul’s supporters have backed Bevin and Paul declined previously to criticize Bevin at the request of the McConnell campaign, going so far as to call Bevin “a good and Christian man.”
But when asked about the controversy surrounding the 2008 letter this past weekend, Paul told the Associated Press that he thought it had damaged Bevin’s credibility.
Tuesday Bevin said Paul’s “opinion is his opinion and everybody has a right to one.”
Some tea party groups have said they accept Bevin’s explanations of the letter and the controversy hasn’t dampened their support for him.
Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.