Volkswagen hired Bob Corker’s former chief of staff, Todd Womack, to do lobbying on trade matters, proving that working as a public servant can pay off.
He is president and CEO of Bridge Public Affairs, a lobbying firm created by former Corker staffers including Womack, who has worked with Corker since he was mayor of Chattanooga.
— Todd Womack (@TWchatt) March 30, 2019
Terms of Womack’s’ deal are not known, but Volkswagen spent $1 million last year on lobbying, Politico said.
Corker was a U.S. senator (R-TN) when Volkswagen selected Chattanooga in 2008 for its assembly plant, the Chattanoogan said.
The plant received “attractive” state subsidies, the Chattanoogan said:
Volkswagen of America received an attractive, comprehensive package of incentives for the new facility from Gov. Bredesen’s office and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, it was stated. The statutory incentives are tied to job creation and capital investment. Additional support includes assistance for public infrastructure and job training, each designed to ensure the local economy best leverages Volkswagen’s investment to benefit the local work force and ensure the facility’s success.
Indeed, the state’s subsidies were “attractive” to the tune of more than $577 million, The Tennessee Star reported.
As Tennessee Watchdog reported five years ago, state officials offered the company $2 million in taxpayer money to use for marketing and public relations. Volkswagen officials took $266,000 of that money and painted a sign on its roof that simply said “Volkswagen Chattanooga.”
The idea was to market Volkswagen to two groups of people — airplane passengers looking out their windows as they fly over Chattanooga and people who go online to look at Google Earth.
State officials gave $577 million to Volkswagen for an assembly plant in Chattanooga in 2008. Good Jobs First said it was “the largest subsidy package ever offered to a foreign automaker in the United States.”
Volkswagen’s total federal and state subsidies are upwards of $1 trillion since 1976, according to Good Jobs First, not including hundreds of millions of dollars in public loans.
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