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Mongiardo/Conway spar over personal investments

by Joe Arnold


Posted on November 18, 2009 at 2:21 PM

After the Daniel Mongiardo campaign accused Senate race rival Jack Conway of making a huge investment that will pay off at the expense of Kentucky's coal industry, the Jack Conway campaign countered the allegations by citing Mongiardo's investment in a different natural gas company.

As the Herald Leader's Jack Brammer reports, the two sides also bicker over whether Conway listed the investment on a state ethics form (Conway initially did not, but amended the form later).

It is nothing new for one campaign to question the investments of a rival candidate.  And, it seems certain that the Mongiardo campaign will use Conway's investment in Kinder-Morgan Energy in an effort to undermine the perception of Conway's commitment to Kentucky's coal industry and workers.  Yet, as the Conway news release response suggests, Mongiardo also needs to face criticism of his own investments and reporting.

Both campaigns news releases follow....

 Mongiardo campaign news release:


Conway's Ties to Kinder-Morgan Energy: Part 2

Conway Fails to Report Huge Investment in
Kinder-Morgan Energy on State's Executive Branch Ethics Form
Conway Invests Millions in Texas Energy Co.
That Favors Natural Gas over Clean KY Coal
If 'Cap and Trade' Passes, Conway to Make Huge Profits
While KY Families Lose Jobs and Pay Higher Electric Rates

"Jack Conway's apparent failure to report the Kinder-Morgan stock and the fact he owns millions in a Texas company that would cost Kentuckians their jobs while he makes huge profits all raise serious questions that Conway needs to answer to Kentucky voters," said Geveden.

FRANKFORT---According to federal and state financial disclosure reports, Attorney General Jack Conway failed to disclose on his 2008 Kentucky Financial Disclosure report that he purchased $1 million-$5 million of Kinder-Morgan Energy (LP) stock, a Texas energy company that favors developing natural gas over developing clean Kentucky coal.

As reported in last Monday's Courier-Journal, according to his U.S. Senate Personal Financial Disclosure Report filed with the Senate Clerk on August  13, 2009, Conway reported investing between $1 million and $5 million dollars in Kinder-Morgan in 2008.

However, a review of his 2008 State Financial Disclosure Report filed with the Kentucky Executive Branch Ethics Commission on April 8, 2009 shows that nowhere does Conway list the Kinder-Morgan stock purchase.

"When it comes to Jack Conway's financial ties to the Texas-based energy company, Kinder-Morgan, the more we learn, the more foul the smell.  It is bad enough that Jack Conway's largest financial asset---worth millions---is stock in a Texas energy company that favors natural gas over developing clean Kentucky coal. Now, it appears Attorney General Conway did not disclose the Kinder-Morgan stock purchase on his 2008 Kentucky financial disclosure report. Jack Conway has serious questions to answer," said Kim Geveden, campaign spokesman for U.S. Senate candidate Daniel Mongiardo.

"Which financial report accurately reflects Jack Conway's financial holdings - his financial disclosure statement filed with Kentucky's Executive Branch Ethics Commission or his Financial Disclosure statement filed with the U.S. Senate Clerk?  What is Jack Conway's explanation for the discrepancy? Did the Attorney General purchase $1 million to $5 million shares (91% of his entire financial assets) of Kinder-Morgan stock in 2008 or 2009?  Exactly, how much does Conway have invested in Kinder-Morgan?" asked Geveden.

"But most importantly, Jack Conway needs to explain why he has more than 90% of his wealth invested in a Texas energy company that advocates using natural gas to replace Kentucky coal---that will destroy tens of thousands of Kentucky jobs and cause electric rates to soar,"  said Geveden.

Kinder-Morgan is one of the largest natural gas transporters in North America.  It controls over 37,000 miles of pipelines to transport natural gas throughout the United States and Canada. According to a July Houston Chronicle op-ed by Richard Kinder, CEO of Kinder-Morgan, to address climate change, "natural gas and nuclear are the only answers for the next 10 to 20 years," while developing clean coal technology will waste "enormous sums of money.

Not only is over 90% of Conway's assets invested in Kinder Morgan, but according to Conway's 3rd quarter  FEC report, Sara Morgan, the wife of founder William V. Morgan, has contributed $4800 to Conway's campaign.

According to Natural Gas Week, natural gas use will go up as natural gas is substituted for coal under cap and trade legislation.  As reported over the summer, Jack Conway said he supports cap and trade legislation.

"No matter what Jack Conway says on cap and trade now, his investments tell the real story. If cap and trade passes, natural gas use will go up while coal use will go down. As a result, Jack Conway will make huge profits on his natural gas holdings, while Kentucky families lose their jobs and pay higher electric bills.  Kentucky families simply can't afford Jack Conway," said Geveden.


Conway campaign news release:


Steve Beshear Can’t Trust Dan Mongiardo,
Why Should Kentucky Voters?


“Mongiardo’s attacks are flat-out false and reek of absolute hypocrisy.”

 (Louisville – KY) Once again showing he can’t be trusted, Dan Mongiardo is telling lies and has thrown another stone from his glass house of impropriety.  

Today, after the press corps ignored an earlier Mongiardo release with these claims, he again tried to attack Conway for owning stock in a natural gas company.  It’s too bad Dr. Dan didn’t check his facts.

Here are the facts:

  • Kinder-Morgan (Conway investment) operates 6 coal terminals and employs 121 people in Kentucky.

  • Mongiardo owns stock in a natural gas company called Oneok Partners – a company with no coal interests, employs no Kentuckians, and whose  partners question the use of coal. [Oneok Partners, L.P. website, accessed 11/13/09]

  • Mongiardo attacks Conway for failure to disclose stock, which is absolutely false.  Conway voluntarily amended his state disclosure to report the initial purchase of Kinder-Morgan stock. (see attached)

  • Jack Conway opposes the cap and trade bill. So Mongiardo’s claims that he would personally profit are groundless. (Attached Hazard Herald article)

  • Dr. Dan stands to profit from the only issue he talks about – E-Health.  He owns stock in a company that will profit from efforts to put healthcare records online. [2008 United State Senate Financial Disclosure Report, 3/4/09; McKesson.com, accessed 10/12/09]

The facts prove once again that you can’t trust Dan Mongiardo.  The people of Kentucky can’t trust Dan Mongiardo’s word any more than Steve Beshear can,” said the Conway campaign. 

Note: Attached are the Statements of Financial Disclosure, CY 2007 and 2008

The Facts:

Mongiardo Owned Between $15,001 And $50,000 Of Oneok Partners, L.P. Stock. Mongiardo owned between $15,001 and $50,000 of Oneok Partners, L.P. stock. He received dividends on the stock between $2,501 and $5,000. [2008 United State Senate Financial Disclosure Report, 3/4/09]

Oneok Partners, L.P. Said They Were Proud To Use Natural Gas Which Was Inherently Cleaner Burning Than Coal. Texas Gas Service, a division of Oneok Partners, L.P. touted the benefits of natural gas. “Texas Gas Service is proud to offer our customers a cleaner burning, efficient and economic fuel. Read more about the benefits of using natural gas. Save money on your gas bill and conserve natural gas usage by reading our gas conservation tips. Benefits of using natural gas. Cleaner burning - reduces pollution. Since natural gas is inherently cleaner burning than other fossil fuels such as coal and oil, switching from those fuels to gas can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, acid rain, smog, solid waste and water pollution. More efficient - conserves resources.  The efficiency of the natural gas system helps conserve the nation’s energy resources…Natural gas is the most economical energy option.” [Oneok Partners, L.P. website, accessed 11/13/09]

Oneok Partners, L.P. Touted Natural Gas As A More Environmentally Friendly Option Compared To Coal.  Oneok Partners, L.P. said, “Despite rising costs, natural gas is still the best option for energy. Environmentally friendly – Compared to coal and oil, natural gas produces one half the gas emissions, making it the cleanest burning fossil fuel on the planet. More efficient – The efficiency of the natural gas system helps conserve the nation’s energy resources. For instance, when the entire cycle of producing, processing and transporting energy is measured, natural gas is delivered to the customer with a total energy efficiency of about 90 percent, compared with 27 percent for electricity. Natural gas is the most economical energy – Save money on your gas bill and conserve natural gas usage by reading our energy conservation tips.” [Oneok Partners, L.P. website, accessed 11/13/09]


Mongiardo Owned Up To $15,000 Worth Of McKesson Corporation Stock Which Provided Health Information Technology Systems.
Mongiardo reported owning between $1,001 and $15,000 worth of McKesson Corporation stock on his 2008 financial disclosure form. According to their website, “McKesson can help provide the right mix of health information technology solutions.” [2008 United State Senate Financial Disclosure Report, 3/4/09; McKesson.com, accessed 10/12/09]

Failure to Disclose:

2007: Mongiardo Failed To Disclose Financial Interest Of $725,000 Frankfort Apartment Complex On Disclosure Form. According to the Associated Press, “A candidate for lieutenant governor failed to disclose a financial interest he holds in a $725,000 Frankfort apartment complex in a mandatory disclosure form filed with two state agencies. Daniel Mongiardo, a Democratic state senator running on a ticket with former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear, said he is a ‘passive investor’ in the apartments. ‘It’s just an oversight on my part,’ Mongiardo said. Mongiardo sent a letter…to the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission amending his earlier filing. Mongiardo acknowledged owning enough of the apartment complex to require reporting it under state law, but said that he had received no income from his apartment-owner partnership ‘over the past five or six years.’” [AP, 3/24/07]

Kinder Morgan:

Currently, Kinder Morgan has six Kentucky coal terminals with 121 jobs. None of these facilities are tied to natural gas or petroleum including
Grand Rivers, KY.

In 2002, the Messenger-Inquirer reported “more than half of the 55 million tons handled by Kinder Morgan terminals is coal.” (9/20/02)

Conway on Cap and Trade:

Conway details opposition to cap-and-trade program

http://www.hazard-herald.com/pages/full_story/push?article-Conway+details+opposition+to+cap-and-trade+program &id=3895545-Conway+details+opposition+to+cap-and-trade+program&instance=home_news_lead
Citing a recent study released by the treasury department that noted a cap-and-trade system could increase cost to American families, U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway on Wednesday articulated his opposition to the cap-and-trade energy bill currently in the Senate.

In June, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved a Democrat-sponsored version of an energy bill that includes a cap-and-trade system. In part, the legislation seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by limiting the amount of carbon pollution private companies, such as those that operate coal fired power plants, can emit into the atmosphere. If companies produce more than the capped amount, they can purchase carbon credits to offset those added amounts.

This provision of the bill is where many critics take exception, calling it “cap and tax” legislation that would cost jobs and increase utility rates to consumers across the country.

The treasury department study cited by Conway during an interview on Wednesday concluded that a cap-and-trade system would come with a total of between $100 and $200 billion per year in new taxes, or nearly $1,800 per household, the equivalent of a personal income tax increase of about 15 percent.

“That is unacceptable to me,” Conway said, adding that he would be a “no vote on the cap-and-trade bill in the Senate.”

Conway, a Democrat, said he thinks there is room in today’s market for a variety of energy sources, including coal, wind, and solar, and he would like to see a bill that helps to harness those resources, but also keeps Kentucky coal as a viable part of the country’s energy portfolio.

“I’m not going to make any vote in the U.S. Senate that would harm Kentucky coal or that would do away with coal,” he said.

Conway noted that Kentucky harnesses about 91 percent of its energy from coal which allows for low rates to consumers, in turn helping officials lure new business to the state. He said he thinks “a new energy bill, if done right” can be a boon to Kentucky.

But the larger issue, he continued, is that coal continues to play a large role in the energy generation for the country, in all providing about 50 percent of the nation’s energy needs.

“For the foreseeable future, coal has to be an important part of baseload generation,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Senate version of the cap-and-trade bill, called the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, was unveiled last week by Senators John Kerry, D-Mass, and Barbara Boxer, D-California. This Senate version drops any references to the term “cap-and-trade,” opting rather to call their initiative the “Pollution Reduction and Investment” program, which basically works in the same manner as the House bill. Companies can still produce carbon pollution, but if they want to produce over a set amount, they have to pay for it.

The Senate version also seeks to cut greenhouse gas levels by 20 percent by 2020 and provides $10 billion to support research and development of clean coal technology.