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Iowa GOP Senate Candidate Gave Money to Corzine

Supported Arlen Specter, cap and trade.

12:43 PM, Feb 10, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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A candidate for U.S. Senate in Iowa, who calls himself a “life-long Republican,” once donated $1,000 to the Senate campaign of Democrat Jon Corzine. Mark Jacobs, a Republican businessman who is running for the Senate seat of retiring Democrat Tom Harkin this year, gave the money to Corzine, the CEO of Goldman Sachs who was running for Senate in New Jersey in 2000. Jacobs was working for Goldman Sachs in Houston at the time.

Corzine

The Federal Elections Commission filing can be viewed here. Jacobs’s first name is misspelled as “Marc,” though the Republican’s campaign confirms Jacobs made the donation.

“Mark gave Corzine a contribution when he was CEO of the company which employed Mark,” says Jacobs spokeswoman Alissa Ohl. “Mark gave him no subsequent contributions and remains very disappointed at Corzine’s performance as a public official.”

Corzine went on to win election the Senate that year, serving until 2006, when he became governor of New Jersey. After losing reelection in 2009, Corzine became CEO of MF Global, a brokerage firm that filed for bankruptcy in 2011 amid allegations of misuse of funds. 

Jacobs, an Iowa native, lived in New York and Houston as a business and energy consultant. He eventually became CEO of Reliant Energy, a Texas-based firm, in 2007. Jacobs has returned to Iowa and is running in a crowded Republican primary.

While Jacobs has given plenty of money to Republicans over the years, he has also given to Democrats, like Corzine. In 2009 and 2010, Jacobs gave a total of $3,000 to the PAC supporting Arlen Specter, the Republican senator from Pennsylvania who in early 2009 switched to the Democratic party after signs that he would receive a strong challenge in the GOP primary. In September of 2009, several months after Specter’s party switch, Jacobs gave two contributions, one for $600 and one for $2,400, to Citizens for Arlen Specter.

Those aren’t the only examples of Jacobs’s deviations from the GOP. As CEO of Reliant Energy, Jacobs said in a November 2007 conference call with investors that the company supported pending cap and trade legislation to regulate carbon outputs. 

“I would say this: We are very much committed to environmental stewardship. It’s one of our core values here at Reliant,” Jacobs said in the call, according a report by the Des Moines Register from last month. “We believe the best approach is a national level policy. We believe the market-based cap and trade system works very well.”

The Register also notes that in September of 2007, in the midst of the debate over cap-and-trade legislation, Jacobs said at a conference sponsored by Lehman Brothers that such a regime would work “quite well” at regulating carbon.

Ohl explained to THE WEEKLY STANDARD that Jacobs’s support for cap and trade and for Arlen Specter were for the benefit of Reliant and in the political context of total Democratic control of the federal government.

“Reliant, the company Mark was responsible for, had a number of coal-fired power plants in states like Pennsylvania, where the specter of those regulations could force the shutdown of plants and the lay-off of hundreds of workers,” Ohl said. “While never personally supporting a cap and trade alternative, as CEO, Mark was forced to decide if he wanted to ‘be at the table, or on the table.’ The only responsible approach to saving those jobs was to try to work with folks like Senator Specter from Pennsylvania and the leadership in Congress that would allow the Reliant plants and the jobs related to them to survive.”

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