Barrasso asks Senate to postpone Tracy Stone-Manning vote on developer loan
Senate Democrats have backed President Biden’s appointment of Tracy Stone-Manning to head the Bureau of Land Management despite her role in a tree-planting plot, but Republicans say the six-figure loan she received as a member of government from a wealthy developer from Montana should give them a break too.
Sen. John Barrasso, a senior member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, urged Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer to delay a confirmation vote for the key Home Office post until ‘So lawmakers can determine whether Ms. Stone-Manning violated Senate ethics rules by not reporting the $ 100,000 loan.
“I urge you to suspend consideration of the appointment of Ms. Stone-Manning until she provides further information regarding this loan,” Barrasso said in a letter Wednesday. “It is imperative that before we vote to confirm a candidate for such an important position, we have all the facts at our disposal so that we can determine whether, as seems likely, she has violated the ethical rules. of the Senate or other laws. “
Ms Stone-Manning, currently senior conservation policy advisor at the National Wildlife Federation, said she repaid the 6% interest loan from real estate developer and Democratic donor Stuart Goldberg last year, which she called a personal friend, but Mr Barrasso said she had not provided any payment documents in response to Senate Republicans’ demands.
He also said she appeared to have broken Senate rules by not seeking a waiver of the Senate Ethics Committee’s ban on gifts from personal friends exceeding $ 250, including loans, while working as Regional Director for Sen. Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, 2007-2012.
“At best, Ms. Stone-Manning did a poor job of record keeping,” Barrasso said. “At worst, Ms. Stone-Manning took advantage of her leadership position in government in which she was able to influence federal, state and local policies.”
Senator Joe Manchin IIII, who chairs the committee, defended Ms. Stone-Manning at the July 22 hearing on her appointment.
“[T]The friend who loaned him the money was not a lobbyist, and there is no evidence that he loaned him the money because of his official position at the time or that he ever asked for any favors or special consideration because of the loan, ”the West Virginia Democrat said.
Mr Schumer is yet to schedule a vote on Ms Stone-Manning, whose appointment was lifted after the committee split on July 22 on a 10-10 vote, setting up a likely confirmation vote at 50-50 which would require a vice president. Kamala D. Harris to break the tie in his favor.
In the meantime, Republicans continue to stir up opposition to Ms. Stone-Manning. Rep. Bruce Westerman, Republican of Arkansas, last week led 75 House Republicans to call on President Biden to withdraw her nomination, citing her “links to eco-terrorism.”
At least nine rural Utah counties recently passed proclamations urging the Senate to reject the candidate. The American Loggers Council, which represents lumber workers in 30 states, voted unanimously earlier this week to oppose his appointment.
Her involvement in the 1989 tree-hanging incident in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest dominated debate, but Republicans also urged her to get answers on Mr. Goldberg’s loan aimed at l ” help save his home theater business during the 2008 recession.
While Ms Stone-Manning said she did not view the loan as a gift, “Senate rules and federal law treat a loan as a ‘gift’ with an exception for off-the-shelf loans,” he said. reported Forbes.
It seems likely that under penalty of perjury, Tracy Stone-Manning lied about a federal loan application.
Sanctions include: “A fine or imprisonment or both under the provisions of Title 18, United States Code, Sec. 1001, et seq. ; “https://t.co/2VEBbwPgXz
– BidenNoms, an AAF project (@bidennoms) July 16, 2021
Whether she committed mortgage fraud by failing to disclose the loan, a question raised by ethics oversight body American Accountability Foundation, which said it took out three mortgages between 2009 and 2017, also makes subject to scrutiny.
Mr Barrasso said she “has not provided any documents showing that she disclosed this loan to the banks holding her mortgages in the past 12 years.”
“As such, she likely received a lower interest rate that did not reflect her actual financial situation,” the Wyoming Republican said.
Ms Stone-Manning said she could not recall the details in response to written questions submitted by Republican Senator Steve Daines of Idaho about his mortgage applications.
“I don’t remember the details of these loan applications and I don’t have copies of previous mortgage documents,” she said in her response to the AAF’s BidenNoms.com website. “I fully honored the unsecured loan to Mr. Goldberg prior to taking out my current mortgage.”
Mr Barrasso also sent a letter to Mr Goldberg requesting information about his professional and personal relationships with Ms Stone-Manning and her husband, Richard Manning, who ran the home theater business.
The Home Office declined to comment on the criticism of the loan.
As a graduate student, Ms Stone-Manning patched up, edited and posted an anonymous letter to the Forest Service warning of spiky trees on behalf of the perpetrators, then testified against them in 1993 after receiving immunity from prosecution. . She said she wanted to protect forestry workers, while critics argue she should have exposed eco-saboteurs instead of protecting their identities for three years.