“Green Bank” Questions Continue to Dog Perlmutter

October 12, 2012

Mr. Perlmutter is under fire for authoring legislation designed to benefit so-called “green banks” – despite having a personal financial interest in just such a bank

GOLDEN — Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden) has been under fire recently for inserting “last-minute” language into a bill that would benefit a bank his family partially owned. Recent comments by Perlmutter at a debate have further inflamed the issue, leading his challenger’s campaign to demand Perlmutter admit fault.

At a Colorado Public Television debate on October 8 between Perlmutter and his Republican challenger Joe Coors, Perlmutter admitted to having a stake in what has been billed as the “first green bank,” though he vehemently denied that language he inserted into a House bill that benefitted green banks would benefit himself.

When asked by CBS4 whether the green bank in question would have benefitted from Perlmutter’s language, inserted “last-minute” according to the LA Times, Perlmutter said “Absolutely not. The bank was called “New Resource” and we had a tiny, tiny percentage of that bank. And it — across the board — was like treated like all other banks and when my cousin sold the stock in the bank, we lost money.”

That admission of partial ownership in a bank targeted for preferential treatment by Perlmutter’s legislative language caused the Coors campaign to hit back hard, asking in a press release: “Congressman Perlmutter stated that he didn’t “benefit from the bill” but there’s mounting evidence he did. Why does he continue to deny this claim?”

Prior to acknowledging a financial stake in New Resource Bank, Perlmutter claimed he didn’t benefit from the bill after CBS4 asked whether Perlmutter should be authoring an amendment he could potentially benefit from, calling it an issue of perception.

The question of perception around Perlmutter’s last minute legislative maneuvers has plagued the Congressman going back to 2009 when The Denver Post said Perlmutter “ought to consider divesting his green-banking portfolio.” The Post said it is “correct to assert that New Resource Bank would benefit from the new regulations, even if it has to compete with other banks to do so.”

The Coors campaign has made Perlmutter’s personal financial interest in green energy legislation a key part of its campaign ads.

Last week, the Coors campaign ran an ad accusing Perlmutter of “working the system” for voting for legislation that ended up funding failed solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, while Perlmutter’s then-wife was a lobbyist for Solyndra. When he ran for Congress, Perlmutter had pledged to The Denver Post editorial board his wife wouldn’t lobby the U.S. House while he served there, but soon after Perlmutter arrived in the House, lobbying records show Deana Perlmutter was indeed lobbying Congress’s lower chamber.

The allegations surrounding Perlmutter personally benefiting from green bank legislation are the focus of an ad the Coors campaign is running this week. You can read more about that ad and its allegations in The Colorado Observer here.

The Coors ad can be viewed below.

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