Ralph Norman – the former South Carolina state senator, who is running as the conservative candidate in the state’s fifth congressional district, sat on the board of a bank that accepted millions of dollars from the Obama administration’s 2008 bailout.
Norman served on South Carolina Bank and Trust Financial Corporation’s board of directors in January 2009 when the bank sold $64.8 million in preferred stock and a 10-year warrant to the Treasury Department under its Capital Purchase Program, which was created as part of the federal government’s $700 billion bailout.
The Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, enabled the federal government to purchase stock from struggling financial institutions in an attempt to strengthen the financial sector during the recession.
Weeks after SCBT Financial Corporation completed the January 2016 sale, Chief Financial Officer John Pollok told local media his bank was participating in the federal bailout program not because the institution needed the funding, but due to a longing to “give back to the community.”
“We think there is a lot of negative spin on it,” Pollok told local news site T&D, referring to TARP. “We raised capital this year and we obviously didn’t need it [the funding].”
Conservative lawmakers have derided the Obama-era bailout for spending $700 billion in taxpayer dollars to bailout the financial institutions that caused the 2008 recession.
Norman, who clinched endorsements from Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and former Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint, has said he would likely join the conservative House Freedom Caucus if elected.
He told the Charleston Post and Courier this past weekend that if voters should vote for him if they are interested in “duplicating” the actions of Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R., N.C.), who chairs the Freedom Caucus.
Norman will face off against Tommy Pope, the state House speaker pro tempore, in South Carolina’s fifth district Republican runoff election on Tuesday. Pope has positioned himself as the establishment Republican in the race and has the backing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.