Topeka On July 26, 2008, U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., voted for the $200 billion bailout of mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The bill, signed into law by then-President George W. Bush, allowed the U.S. Treasury to extend credit and buy stock to help the mortgage firms and raised the national debt.
Now, Brownback is running for governor. Last Saturday, during a gubernatorial debate at the Kansas State Fair, Democratic candidate Tom Holland brought up the vote, saying it was an example of Brownback willing to bailout special interests while voting against every day Kansans.
Brownback responded, "To set the record straight, I voted against the bailout."
On Wednesday, Holland said Brownback is misleading voters. "It might be acceptable in Washington to shirk responsibility and never admit the truth -- but this is unacceptable here in Kansas. Senator Brownback voted for the $200 billion bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. This is a matter of fact and a matter of record; it cannot be spun, brushed aside or explained away," he said.
Asked to respond to Holland's statement, Brownback's campaign spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag said, "This is quickly becoming absurd." She said Brownback "has voted repeatedly to protect taxpayers, increase oversight of Fannie and Freddie and repeal the bailouts."
But Holland, a state senator from Baldwin City, said Brownback voted for the "Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac bailout. Period. Real leaders do not try to hide their agenda." Holland also took Brownback to task over his vote for the $85 billion bailout of American International Group.
Meanwhile, Holland noted that Brownback recently voted against a federal funding package to help states. Despite Brownback's vote, that legislation was approved and allocated $191 million to Kansas for school funding and health care for the poor.
Holland said there needs to be more debates so that voters have a better idea of where the candidates stand on the issues. He said he would like to have three more debates with Brownback and one between the lieutenant governor running mates -- Democrat Kelly Kultala and Republican Jeff Colyer, who are both state senators.
Holland said the Brownback campaign hasn't responded. Brownback's spokeswoman Jones-Sontag would only say that the State Fair debate wouldn't be the last.