Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Haslam On $300M VW Deal: "We Had An Interest In The Outcome Of That Vote"

Posted By on Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 8:09 AM

In a follow-up to yesterday's piece, Phil Williams asked Gov. Bill Haslam directly about the state's $300M incentives deal with Volkswagen that was contingent on the company stopping a potential partnership with the United Auto Workers union.

But the incentives were "subject to works council discussions ... being concluded to the satisfaction of the State of Tennessee."

NewsChannel 5 Investigates pointed to that stipulation.

"That proposal said these incentives are contingent upon our satisfaction with the process," we noted.

"Right, and that's exactly right," Haslam responded.

"But you never admitted that," we continued.

"There's nothing to admit to," the governor said. "We've been really clear all along that we had an interest in the outcome of that vote. That's never been a secret to Volkswagen or anybody else."

In fact, it was a secret to the public that the Haslam administration was using the offer of taxpayer money as a way for them to have a say in VW's labor relations.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates also reported that the state withdrew that $300 million offer back in January as VW finalized the plans with the UAW for a vote.

And now Democrats on the Hill are calling for an investigation into the deal.

"Nothing in the current code authorizes the Executive Branch to use corporate incentives for the purpose of intervening in a lawfully organized labor election," said House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Turner wrote in a letter to Speaker Beth Harwell.

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