A top Sen. Joe Manchin donor reportedly received a $1 million grant from the Department of Energy ahead of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm’s trip to West Virginia. The so-called donation is being viewed as an attempt to lobby the senator on the Biden administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill.
The Washington Free Beacon reports:
The U.S. Research Impact Alliance, an incubator for energy startups, received $1 million as part of the Department of Energy’s “grant funding for research and innovation projects,” Manchin and Granholm announced during the energy secretary’s two-day visit to West Virginia late last week. The company’s treasurer is West Virginia businessman Michael Green, a longtime political ally and donor to Manchin.
The grant was part of a $6 million Department of Energy spending blitz in West Virginia last week, where the Biden administration is working to secure support for the American Jobs Plan from Manchin—a Democratic swing vote, with the power to make or break the administration’s legislative priorities in the Senate. The news raises questions for the Biden administration, which has already been accused of providing benefits to curry favor with Manchin. In March, the White House appointed Manchin’s wife Gayle to lead the Appalachian Regional Commission, a $175 million economic development agency, just two days after Manchin cast a divisive, last-minute vote to approve Biden’s embattled Pentagon policy nominee Colin Kahl.
Manchin acknowledged his leverage over the American Jobs Plan in a radio interview in April, noting that he objected to the proposal’s large corporate tax hike.
“If I don’t vote to get on it, it’s not going anywhere. So we’re going to have some leverage here,” he said.
Granholm said during her trip that the funding was the “tip of the iceberg” for West Virginia, and more money would follow if Biden’s proposal passes.