California Republican accuses primary opponent of living off the government while campaigning on fiscal responsibility

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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A Republican candidate in California is trashing her GOP primary opponent for criticizing government bailouts while, she says, “taxpayers are funding [his] political ambitions.”

The campaign of Elizabeth Emken, a Republican candidate for the seat held by Democrat Jerry McNerney, is distributing a flier titled, “How taxpayers are funding David Harmer’s political ambitions.” She attacks Harmer for accepting severance from JPMorgan Chase after he was laid off from his banking job, and then taking government unemployment benefits.

JPMorgan Chase received bailout funds from the government, and Emken makes the case that Harmer’s living off that government money while he runs for the House seat.

“Harmer took $485,770.00 in BONUS and PAY from a Wall Street Bailout Bank seized by federal regulators — then he turned around and filed for Unemployment Insurance,” Emken’s flier reads. See a copy of the flier here.

Harmer, according to one report, took in $2,395 in government unemployment funds and $84,586 in severance after he lost his job.

He’s an establishment Republican who has been endorsed by Mitt Romney and has spoken out against taxpayer-funded bailouts. “We’re disgusted by it,” Harmer said at a campaign breakfast of “the so-called stimulus that has not stimulated anything but government spending and federal debt.”

Harmer’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Caller, but a spokesman for him in an interview with a local newspaper disputed any notion of hypocrisy. “Whatever David was paid by JPMorgan came from JPMorgan.”

“The whole bailout process was flawed, and it was bad government, and it should have never happened,” spokesman Jim Clark said.

The Republican field in the California 11th Congressional District also includes Brad Goehring and Tony Amador. The winner of the GOP primary will face McNerney in November.

The primary is June 8.

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