Business & Economy
Progress Iowa to Congressman Latham: 'We Want Our Money Back' PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Matt Sinovic   
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 14:56

Petition drive launched at to return the $2.4 million borrowed by his family bank and never paid back

DES MOINES, IOWA -- Progress Iowa today launched a petition drive at, calling on Congressman Tom Latham to return the $2.4 million loaned to his family bank, Green Circle Investments, as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). According to his most recent financial disclosure form, Congressman Latham’s personal investment in the bank is worth up to $5 million.

“For weeks Congressman Latham has ducked questions about his involvement in the decision to voluntarily accept a bailout from the taxpayers and never pay it back,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “We’re through waiting for answers, and have just one simple request: we want our money back.”

When Latham’s family bank, Green Circle Investments, accepted their $2.4 million bailout in 2009, it was just one year after Congressman Latham voted against it. He even issued a press release, asking:

“Why is Washington so quick to focus on the needs of Wall Street at the cost of those responsible Iowans who have sacrificed, saved and spent within their means? No wonder real America has lost faith in Washington.”

“Congressman Latham should take his own advice and help restore our faith,” said Sinovic. “Every dollar of the Latham Bailout that remains unpaid is a dollar that can’t be spent on our schools, our roads, our communities. Iowa taxpayers are footing the bill to support an investment for our Congressman, and we’re paying the price for it.”

Green Circle Investments is operated by a board comprised of Latham’s family and friends, including his brother Bob Latham, who is President and Chairman. Nine financial institutions in Iowa have voluntarily received funds from the Capital Purchase Program of TARP. Only three have failed to pay back any of the principal on their loan, including Green Circle Investments.

To learn more about the Latham Bailout, and to sign the petition, visit



Nationwide action RE: Federal Minimum Wage Raise Increase PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by   
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 14:34

This is a graphic that illustrates how long a minimum wage person has to work to buy a gallon of milk, a staple for most families,vs. a CEO.

1 Gallon of Milk: $3.70
Has to Work
½ Hours
for 1 Gallon of Milk

1 Gallon of Milk: $3.70
Has to Work
13 Minutes
for 1 Gallon of Milk

1 Gallon of Milk: $3.70
Has to Work
.01 Seconds
for 1 Gallon of Milk

Braley Announces $4.7 Million for Hawkeye Rural Electric Cooperative PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 14:30

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Bruce Braley (IA-01) today announced that Hawkeye Rural Electric Cooperative #2 has been awarded $4,750,547 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Hawkeye REC #2, located in Cresco, is proposing to strengthen 142.7 miles of overhead electrical distribution lines. The funding comes after severe storms, tornadoes, and heavy rains caused destruction in 2008.

“I am pleased FEMA is providing funding to Iowa for the strengthening of our important electrical system after the 2008 storms,” said Braley. “Continued efforts from FEMA to our small communities will help repair the weakened lines and provide strengthened electrical systems.”


# # #

Ongoing questions on federal loan to Fisker Automotive Corporation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 14:28

Monday, July 23, 2012

Grassley, Thune Continue to Seek Answers on Federal Loan to Luxury Car Maker

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. John Thune today continued their pursuit of information about the Department of Energy’s selection of a luxury automaker –described as “troubled” in various media reports -- for a $529 million federal loan for advanced technology vehicles manufacturing.  The federal government made part of the loan to the Fisker Automotive Corporation, then froze the remaining portion, raising questions about whether the company was vetted properly in the first place.

Grassley and Thune have sought answers from the Energy Department about the loan.  So far, the Energy Department has not provided much of the requested information.  Grassley and Thune today wrote to the Fisker Automotive Corporation, seeking much of the same information they requested from the Energy Department.

“The taxpayers deserve an accounting of what went wrong with the Fisker loan and whether the Administration misled the public about the economic benefits of the loan,” Grassley said.  “The riskiness of loans to companies that may or may not be able to pay them back deserves scrutiny.  The taxpayers can’t and shouldn’t have to subsidize these decisions.”

“There continues to be more questions than answers when it comes to the Obama administration’s decision to loan Fisker Automotive $529 million of taxpayer funds,” said Thune.  “Taxpayers deserve to know what went wrong and why this loan was approved in the first place.  Although taxpayers have already lost millions on bad Obama administration loans, this administration continues to ignore our basic questions on how these risky bets were made.”

The senators’ letter today to the Fisker Automotive Corporation is available here.  The senators’ June 25 letter to the Energy Department available here.  The senators’ initial letter to the Energy Department is available here.  The Energy Department’s response is available here.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 required the creation of a direct loan program from the federal government to car companies through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing incentive program.   Fisker’s two planned vehicles would sell for more than $100,000 and about $50,000.  The high retail prices seem to indicate the vehicles would be out of reach for most Americans, thereby seeming like a questionable choice of investment for a federal program.  Also, the senators questioned whether the company’s vehicle production in Finland diminishes the goal of developing advanced vehicle technology to create jobs in the United States.


Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Keynote the Iowa Farm Bureau's 2012 Economic Summit PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by USDA Communications   
Monday, 23 July 2012 13:51

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2012 - TOMORROW, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will keynote the Iowa Farm Bureau's 2012 Economic Summit. The Secretary will discuss the ongoing drought, USDA's efforts to assist producers, and the innovation and resilience of rural Americans in tough times such as these. He will also discuss some of the strengths shared by producers and rural communities that better position us to face this drought now than in years past - new technologies, lower debt, and the continuing strength of export markets.


As of July 20, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 1,297 counties across the country as disaster areas. According to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor report, 88 percent of our nation's corn and 87 percent of our soybeans are in drought-stricken areas.


At President Obama's direction, USDA has announced a number of measures using existing authority to help producers impacted by drought. On July 11 USDA announced a final rule to simplify the process for Secretarial disaster designations; reduced the interest rate for Farm Service Agency Emergency Loans, lowering the current rate from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent; and reduced the payment reduction for Conservation Reserve Program lands that qualify for emergency haying and grazing in 2012, from 25 to 10 percent.  Today Secretary Vilsack announced additional measures to create more flexibility within USDA's major conservation programs - allowing additional emergency haying and grazing on more Conservation Reserve Program lands and other conservation lands for drought-stricken producers. Secretary Vilsack also today sent a letter to crop insurance companies asking them to voluntarily defer the accrual of any interest on unpaid spring crop premiums by producers until November, an extra 30 days.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

12 p.m. CDT

WHAT: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will deliver keynote remarks to the Iowa Farm Bureau's 2012 Economic Summit

WHERE: Iowa State Center Scheman Building

Iowa State University

Ames, IA




USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

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