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Letter to the Editor: Art Halvorson's farm subsidies

on April 03, 2014 10:30 AM

This response is to Clay Buckingham’s March 31 letter to the editor, “Attacks on Halvorson diminish Shuster.” Although I’m sure the retired general meant well, defending Art Halvorson benefiting from taxpayer-funded farm subsidies while campaigning against them. Unfortunately, his argument was devoid entirely of any real facts.

The letter incorrectly said the Shuster campaign “claimed” Art Halvorson’s farm in Iowa received a half-million dollars in federal subsidies. It’s not a claim, it’s a fact. It’s also a fact that Art Halvorson took several thousand more in subsidies for his farm in Bedford, something that he’s denied, and subsequently argued he had “no choice,” that the government forced him to receive them. Again, 100 percent not true; Art Halvorson’s signatures are on the forms. But don’t take it from me, Halvorson can tell you in his own words.

At the Sept. 5 Fayette Patriots tea party meeting, Halvorson bragged about subsidies that his Iowa farm receives, saying, “I own a farm in Iowa that benefits from the fact that corn is grown on that farm — it’s subsidized by ethanol.” But in that same public appearance he condemns real farmers, saying that “all subsides are bad.” How the times have changed. Gloating about his Iowa farm, then enlisting a surrogate to claim he hasn’t benefited from those subsidies, and now claiming he doesn’t even own the farm. This isn’t just hypocrisy, it’s flat-out untrue.

What’s most outrageous is the fact that Halvorson still hasn’t returned any of these federal subsidies he took from taxpayers. Instead, he got cute and wrote a check to a charity for the thousands he received — yet another creative tax write-off for him.

Halvorson told PoliticsPA on Jan. 13, “If there was a way that I could stop these subsidies or return it, of course I would.” Well, Mr. Halvorson, I have great news for you, there is a way. Just write a check to the U.S. Department of Treasury and in the memo line put “Money I owe the taxpayers.” I’ve even included the address for you: 1500 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, DC 20220.

Sean Joyce

Altoona

campaign manager, Bill Shuster for Congress

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