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Hypocrisy Alert: Congressman Southerland Rails Against the Stimulus… Just One Year After ACCEPTING Stimulus Funds Himself

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Southerland's Stimulus Hypocrisy Shows He's Become A Typical Washington Politician Who's Out of Touch With Reality  

TALLAHASSEE, FL — Congressman Steve Southerland said he'd change Washington — but it's becoming clear that all Southerland has done is gone Washington, and now he's out of touch with reality. And Congressman Southerland's hypocrisy on the Stimulus — railing against the program after accepting millions in Stimulus dollars one year earlier — is just further proof that he's become a typical, hypocritical Washington politician who will say anything and has become part of the problem in Congress. 

As Chair of the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida in 2009, Steve Southerland accepted over $2 million in Stimulus Funds, and the program accepted over $11 million in federal funding while Southerland was Chairman. But that didn't stop Southerland from railing against the very same Stimulus dollars he accepted just one year later — calling the program a "Boondoggle" in 2010 and attacking the Stimulus as a failure in 2011.  

"Congressman Southerland said he'd change Washington — but it's becoming clear that all he's done is gone Washington, and now he's out of touch with reality," said Florida Democratic Party spokesman David Bergstein. "Just like the typical, hypocritical Washington politician he's become, Southerland railed against the Stimulus program — just one year after he accepted millions of dollars in Stimulus funding himself. The residents of north Florida deserve better than a Congressman who epitomizes the hypocrisy and broken politics of Washington, and when Congressman Southerland says one thing — after doing the exact opposite — it's hard to trust him with Florida's future." 

Recent polling shows that the race between Congressman Southerland and Al Lawson is tied, with the embattled incumbent looking increasingly vulnerable.

THE TIMELINE OF SOUTHERLAND'S STIMULUS HYPOCRISY:

  • July, 2005 to December 2009: Southerland serves as Chair of the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida. According to Southerland's website, the Early Learning Coalition "promoted educational initiatives that unite families and prepare young children who are entering kindergarten.”
  • Calendar Year, 2009: The Early Learning Coalition was awarded two grants in Stimulus money, totaling $2,091,444. The ELCNW spent $554,017.38 of these federal Stimulus dollars in 2009. 
  • October 11, 2010: After accepting over $2 million in Stimulus funding for the ELCNF, Steve Southerland calls the Stimulus a "Boondoggle."
  • February 17, 2011: Then Congressman Steve Southerland attacks the Stimulus Program again. 

BACKGROUND:

Southerland Served as Chair of Early Learning Coalition and Touted The Coalition as Job Creators.  In July 2005, Southerland was appointed as Chairman of the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida by then-Governor Jeb Bush.  Last year, he called the ELCNW “job creators.” [Tallahassee Democrat, 9/28/11]

In 2009, While Southerland chaired the program the ELCNF Was Awarded $2,091,444 in Stimulus Funds. According to Recovery.gov, the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida was awarded two grants for a total of $2,091,444. $554,017.38 was dispersed during 2009. 

According to Recovery.gov, the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida was awarded a sub-award of $544,260, as part of an award of $491,453,230 to the Executive Office of the Governor of Florida. The overall award was granted on May 8, 2009 and the sub-award on July 1, 2009. As of December 31, 2009, all $544,260 had been disbursed. [Recovery.gov, Award Number S397A099010, 7/01/09]

According to Recovery.gov, the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida was awarded a second sub-award of $1,547,184, as part of an award of $105,331,254 to the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation. The overall award was granted on April 9, 2009 and the sub-award on April 17, 2009. As of December 31, 2009, $9,757.38 had been disbursed. [Recovery.gov, Award Number 0901FLCCD7, 4/17/09]

In 2010, Southerland called the Stimulus a "Boondoggle." According to a blog post on Southerlandforcongress.com, the stimulus bill was a “boondoggle”. The Southerlandforcongress.com blog also calls it a giveaway. [Southerlandforcongress.com Blog, 10/11/109/17/10]

In 2011, Southerland decried the 2009 Stimulus. Southerland used the second anniversary of the passage of the 2009 Stimulus bill to attack President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget. He also states that the stimulus failed and its only accomplishment was to expand the deficit. [Representative Southerland Press Release, 2/17/11] 

While Southerland was Chairman of the ELCNF, it received $11,622,593 in Federal Funding. According to an independent auditor’s report for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2009 the ELCNF had accepted $11,622,593 in “Public support – Federal funding.” Southerland had been the Chairman of the Board for the whole of that fiscal year. [Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida Financial Statements and Independent Auditor’s Report, 6/30/10; Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida Board Minutes, 5/09/08; 6/18/08; 8/08/06; 10/01/06; 11/05/08; 1/21/09; 3/18/09; 6/03/09; 7/15/09] 

Southerland Said He We Can’t Afford the Department of Education.  “I think departments like the Department of Education, Department of Energy, the EPA,  I think those are things that right now we can’t afford. And in business, if we can’t afford it, we don’t buy it. There’s a lot of money being spent in Washington D.C. that we could eliminate if we cut, and those are some of the departments I would cut right there.” [Suwannee County REC Candidate Forum, 6/08/10]

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