Katie McGinty: Putting Special Interests Ahead of Pennsylvania’s Interests

“I believe in a hand-up, not a handout.”

That’s what Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty professed recently at the Pennsylvania Press Club. Her political career, however, reveals just the opposite — at least when it comes to favored corporate interests, that is. McGinty has helped steer millions to the wealthy and well-connected, furthering her own career at the expense hardworking Pennsylvanians.

Simply look at her record. In 2003, Governor Ed Rendell appointed McGinty as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Her five-year stint proved to be little more than a costly Don Quixote expedition. She lured the Spanish company Iberdrola and its subsidiaries to build two windmill manufacturing plants in Pennsylvania. In return, the Rendell administration awarded them nearly $20 million in subsidies. But the windmill project has yielded nothing more than empty promises. Since receiving the money in 2006, both plants have closed, their workers have been laid off, and taxpayers were left to foot the $20-million bill.

The outcome for Ms. McGinty? While hundreds of workers were left jobless, she took a six-figure job with Iberdrola’s board. So let’s get this straight: she used taxpayer dollars to fund her pet project, it flopped and put Pennsylvanians out of work, and McGinty profited hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In another instance in 2007, The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority, of which McGinty was chairwoman, recommended that NRG Energy receive $112,000 from Pennsylvania taxpayers. Though McGinty recused herself from that particular decision,the next year she left office and accepted a post on NRG’s board as independent director of the company. Over the course of the next five years, McGinty received $1.1 million in cash and stocks. That’s the equivalent to a nearly 1,000 percent rate of return — but the return went into McGinty’s bank account, not back to the state’s taxpayers.

Also during her tenure at the DEP, her husband’s employer — the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and a subsidiary — received $2.6 million from McGinty’s department. The secretary’s actions were so questionable that the State Ethics Commission condemned her actions.

As president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association, David Taylor expressed, these events reveal McGinty’s “glaring absence of perspective.”

But it doesn’t stop there. Under McGinty’s leadership, dozens of companies received millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies. Many, such as AE Polysilicon, Solar Power Industries, and Plextronics, have since filed bankruptcy or shut down facilities in Pennsylvania. So what have Pennsylvanians received thus far thanks to Ms. McGinty? Zilch.

Ms. McGinty is asking Pennsylvanians to trust her with more hard-earned tax dollars after she’s advanced failed companies — and herself. That’s exactly the kind of rigged game we don’t need more of in Washington, D.C.

What’s more, while McGinty has funneled millions to favored energy companies, she’s also sided with President Obama on job-killing energy policies. The administration’s latest plan mandates carbon emission levels that as President Obama has boasted, would bankrupt coal power plants. Here in the Keystone State, we know it’s our families who will feel the brunt of McGinty’s partisan policies, which studies have shown could effectively shut down manufacturing plants across the state and leave as many as 97,500 Pennsylvanians jobless over the next 15 years.

All the while, Pennsylvanians could see their energy bills go through the roof as gas prices could rise by 25 percent and electricity by 41 percent, by 2040.Increased energy costs would result in higher prices for food and household items, which require energy to be produced and transported, making it harder for Pennsylvanians to buy basic necessities.

As Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate has continued to rise in 2016, this much is clear: We don’t need another politician in Washington advancing a job-crushing agenda on the taxpayers’ dime. Yet that’s exactly what McGinty has done for over a decade, promising to offer a hand up when her record shows she’s all too willing to offer a taxpayer-funded handout to the favored few. McGinty’s pattern of self-interest is one that Washington — and Pennsylvania — could do without.

Beth Anne Mumford is Pennsylvania state director of Americans for Prosperity.