Rep. Paul Broun: fiscally conservative in both personal and professional life?

 

On the Ballot ranks Rep. Paul Broun as a 92 percent fiscal conservative.

However, in Broun’s personal life, he declared personal bankruptcy and co-owned a failed bank that was closed by the FDIC.

These facts pose a interesting question as Broun prepares to run for the U.S. Senate: How can a politically fiscal conservative politician be fiscally irresponsible personally?

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported that fiscal responsibility is at the forefront of Broun’s Senate campaign.

“We must have someone to lead the fight to stop this madness, and restore fiscal restraint to our nation’s capital,” Broun said. “Georgia needs a senator who will take a stand to stop the irresponsible spending.  I’ll be that leader.”

Despite this campaign message, Broun’s personal financial history raises many questions.

Broun co-owned McIntosh Commercial, a bank started by his brother in Carrollton, Ga.  The bank failed in March 2010, and it was taken over by the government.

The bank closure cost taxpayers more than $100 million in federal bailout funds.

Though depositors were grateful for FDIC protection, Broun blamed the federal government.

“The federal government is closing these banks down when there is absolutely no reason to do so.  It’s just wrong,” Broun said.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation closes banks when they are deemed insolvent, meaning the bank is unable to meet debts.

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said, “Our job is to protect depositors.  We don’t want depositors to lose any money.”

Other residents, like business student Colton Heubner, question Broun’s personal financial history.

“I’ve heard that he was bankrupt at one point.  This doesn’t say much about fiscal responsibility,” Huebner said.

 

Broun declared bankruptcy in the early 1980s.  According to the Athens Banner-Herald, “Broun falsified financial documents in an effort to obtain a loan and misrepresented his assets and debts during bankruptcy hearings.”

A federal judge ordered Broun to pay an Americus, Ga. bank $69,653.07.

Other citizens say his personal financial history is not as important as his conservative congressional voting record.

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution cites Broun as “one of the most conservative members of Congress,” and his 2011 voting record received an 87% rating from the National Taxpayers Union.

Broun caused a stir as a freshman Congressman when he voted against a $20 million program to help kids in neighborhoods with high drug rates.

When asked about his vote, Broun pulled out his pocket Constitution and said, “Most of the things this Congress does, we don’t actually have the authority to do.”

Kaitlyn Branson, a third year political science student at the University of Georgia, interned with Paul Broun’s campaign in Summer 2012.

“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to send someone as great as Congressman Broun back to Washington.  He is a great conservative man.”

Branson said Broun’s past is not relevant.  “People should focus on what he’s doing now and how he is trying to cut national spending.”

Broun supports a Balanced Budget Amendment.  The amendment would require a two-thirds majority to raise revenue in Congress.  The bill would also return excess revenue to taxpayers.

Undoubtedly, the remarks of Athenians will continue beyond 2014.  Paul Broun remains the only declared candidate for the 2014 Senate race.

Some of Georgia’s current executive branch officials may make a run for the seat, including Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Attorney General Sam Olens.  However, in an unofficial straw poll of 30 people, Athenians chose a congressman every time to fill Chambliss’ seat.

Popular representatives for the seat include: Rep. Tom Price (R-6), Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-11), Rep. Jack Kingston (R-1), and Rep. Tom Graves (R-14).

“Tom Price is smart, knowledgeable about healthcare policy and shows expertise in policy-making.  He’s not flashy or a showboat, and he’s proven himself in the House,” Blake Seitz said.

Other Athenians want someone like Rep. Jack Kingston because they think he will diminish partisan polarization, a precedent Sen. Chambliss established.  Chambliss’ bipartisan work landed him in The Washington Post’s “Best Leaders of 2011.”

“Kingston’s got a stable head and is willing to put aside party lines to do what’s best for the country.  He’s really knowledgeable and experienced,” Hadley Dreibelbis said.

As Athenians voice their opinions, the nation will be watching.

The Washington Post reported that the Ga. 2014 Senate race is one of the “top 10 Senate races of 2014.”

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