(RightWing.org) – Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) helped his fellow Democrats push through the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill (HR 2617) in December 2022. The measure included nearly $800 billion in nondefense spending, including annual allotments across every federal agency. A new report accuses his wife of violating an ethics pledge when she advised an Appalachian group to apply for a grant under that new public law.
Gayle Manchin currently serves as the federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), an economic development partnership between the federal government and 13 states. She submitted a letter to the ARC’s designated agency ethics official weeks before her appointment, vowing to take the appropriate steps to “avoid any actual or apparent conflict of interest” if she was confirmed as co-chair of the group.
Manchin’s wife broke 'conflicts of interest' ethics pledge, emails show https://t.co/nTVNGDJg83
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 15, 2023
Nevertheless, it appears Manchin may have violated that oath when she interceded on behalf of a group seeking a grant funded by the Democratic-led omnibus spending bill.
On April 15, Fox News published an article detailing the contents of several emails it received showing Manchin’s involvement with a nonprofit group with connections to a member of her husband’s campaign staff.
Fox News reported that Manchin “quietly advised” a local nonprofit organization called Coalfield Development regarding a $62.8 million grant initiated by the ARC. Emails show the CEO of that group sent Manchin a copy of its grant application for review. One of the accompanying electronic messages referenced earlier phone calls between the senator’s wife and the group, describing her role as “complementary and supportive” of their effort to obtain the funding.
Coalfield Development later paid the Charleston Area Alliance about $13 million of its $63 million to help fulfill the grant’s goals. As it turned out, Sen. Manchin’s campaign secretary sits on that group’s board.
It remains unclear whether Manchin violated her vow to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. The ARC sent a statement to Fox News Digital advising that Manchin “does not have” a financial interest in Coalfield Development. The commission also noted that although the senator’s wife “encouraged” Appalachian groups to apply for grants, she had “no role” in approving the applications.
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