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Is my congressman bowling for dollars?

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Bloggers in my neck of the woods have been beating up my Republican congressman, the Hon. John R. “Randy” Kuhl, over federal assistance his Web site says he arranged for a local bowling alley.

I’m not sure the beat-down has been fair to my congressman. (Disclosure: I supported his Democratic opponent in the 2006 mid-term election.)

Rep. Kuhl says he arranged for a $2.5 million federal loan guarantee that would allow the owner of Roseland Bowl in Canandaigua, N.Y., to restructure current loans. According to Rep. Kuhl’s Web site, that would save 36 jobs — and he says he’s all about saving jobs.

Some local bloggers and commenters have pooh-poohed this, citing Republican money connections to Roseland’s owner, Jack Moran. Mr. Moran, they point out, gave the National Republican Congressional Committee $1,000 during the 2004 election cycle (that’s the year Rep. Kuhl was first elected). Mr. Moran is also an officer and member of the Bowling Proprietors Association of America PAC. Beginning in 1998, the BPA’s PAC has handed out more than $340,000, mostly to Republican candidates and organizations. (It’s interesting to note that the Brunswick Corp. has given $15,000 to the BPA’s PAC. If you bowl, you know the name Brunswick.)

Mr. Moran has given $4,000 to this Republican PAC since 2003.

But

I cannot find in the Federal Elections Commission database any direct contributions to Rep. Kuhl from the BPA. Nor can I find any independent expenditures by the BPA on behalf of Rep. Kuhl. Nor can I find any direct contributions in Mr. Moran’s name to Rep. Kuhl.

Outside of Mr. Moran’s apparent lack of financial connection to Rep. Kuhl, sufficient stink arises. For example, one blogger notes that “right near the bowling alley is a VA facility that just closed its acute psychiatric care facility, apparently due to funding cuts. But that’s not what’s interesting here. Kuhl voted against the supplemental [funding] and called it full of pork.

Rep. Kuhl’s press release says that the federal loan guarantee will allow Roseland to re-finance mortgage and equipment loans at “an interest rate of 8.43% over 25 years. The refinance is expected to save Roseland Bowl about $10,000 a month …”

If Roseland pays off this loan in 25 years, Mr. Moran will have saved $3,000,000. If Mr. Moran pays his 36 employees at the minimum wage of $7.15 (not counting payroll deductions, etc.) that three large will just about cover their wages. That, it seems, makes Roseland’s revenues, less expenses, profit to ownership.

Yes, this is crude financial reasoning. But while 36 jobs are apparently being “saved,” Mr. Moran, thanks to Rep. Kuhl, stands to save some serious money. I’ll be watching Rep. Kuhl’s campaign finance filings, and I’ll be curious to see if Mr. Moran’s name shows up in the 2008 election cycle.

I have only one question for Rep. Kuhl: If Roseland Bowl’s owner had been a Democrat who financially supported Eric Massa, his Democratic challenger last year, would Rep. Kuhl have helped to save those jobs?

And you might ask, “Wonder if my rep in Congress bowls for dollars, too?”

Thx to lullabypit for the tip …

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

April 6, 2007 at 2:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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