Georgia Senate candidate David Perdue (R), whose campaign has focused on the need to cut federal spending, is on the board of a company that received millions of dollars from the federal stimulus program.
Perdue has been on the Alliant Energy Corporation's board of directors since 2001. Since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in 2009, the company received $3.4 million in stimulus funding.
That includes a $3.2 million grant to one of its subsidiaries, Wisconsin Power, for smart grid investment.
Perdue has touted his business record and understanding of the international economy as a key reason to elect him, highlighting his successes heading Dollar General and Reebok. The personal wealth he's amassed in business has helped fill his campaign coffers, letting him run early ads that have propelled him to the top in many polls.
But the details of some of his business dealings could prove problematic as he fights for one of two slots in Georgia's crowded Senate race, and the stimulus is deeply unpopular with Republican primary voters.
Perdue has been fiercely critical of government overspending, and his call to rein in deficit spending is a cornerstone of his campaign. His website prominently features a national debt clock, and the deficit is the first issue he discusses on both his website and in most campaign speeches.
"We have a crushing $17 trillion national debt that is growing larger and larger every day," Perdue says on his website. "And the debt keeps growing because the politicians keep spending."
He has rarely mentioned the stimulus package itself in his campaign, though a spokesman says he opposes the spending package.
"David believes that overall, like most spending by Washington politicians, the stimulus was a waste of taxpayer money that missed its mark while piling on even more debt," Perdue spokesman Derrick Dickey told The Hill.
Perdue's campaign says he was aware of the stimulus grant to Wisconsin Power, but wasn't involved in seeking the funds or in the company's day-to-day management.
"A board of directors at a company that size is not involved in granular level operational decision making," Dickey said in an email. "Of course the board has a general awareness of the company's activities, most of which are highlighted in annual and quarterly public reports; however, it does not direct the day-to-day operational decisions."As a non-employee director, Perdue earns $145,000 per year not to know what the company is doing.