Mead Treadwell’s Ties to Stimulus Recipient Run Deep

Campaign insists he’s only tangentially involved, but Alaska Senate candidate admits he’s a ‘partner in business’

Mead Treadwell / AP

A Republican Senate candidate running on a platform of fiscal responsibility has maintained ties to a Maryland company that benefitted from millions in grants from a major 2009 spending bill derided by Republicans—including the candidate himself—as profligate.

Former Alaska lieutenant governor Mead Treadwell stressed that he was a non-executive board member who played no part in Ellicott Dredges’ decision to apply for the grants when the Washington Examiner reported on those grants last month.

A spokesman for Treadwell’s campaign for a U.S. Senate seat in Alaska said that Treadwell had left the company’s board in 2009. However, financial disclosure forms filed by his campaign show that he remains on the company’s payroll.

Those disclosures show that Ellicott paid Treadwell at least $6,000 in "board compensation" over the past two years. He has also received between $30,000 and $100,000 in dividend payments on his stake in the company, which is worth between $100,000 and $250,000, over the same period.

Campaign spokesman Tom Intorcio said Treadwell is paid every time he attends a quarterly meeting of the company’s advisory board.

Intorcio and Ellicott CEO Peter Bowe downplayed the candidate’s involvement with the company since he left the board in 2009. However, in addition to his advisory role thereafter, a disclosure form filed in May says he has been Ellicott’s "partner in business" ever since.

Ellicott, a Baltimore-based dredge builder, received a $1.75 million stimulus grant in 2009 through a shipyard assistance program designed to support capital improvements and workplace training.

Two months later, Ellicott investors, which included Treadwell, sold a majority stake in the company to a venture capital firm. Treadwell made $1.1 million on the deal.

In 2010, while Treadwell remained Ellicott’s adviser and "partner in business," it received another $4 million stimulus award.

Some fiscal conservatives have alleged hypocrisy in Treadwell’s involvement with the company during that time.

"If you’re a fiscal conservative, you’re not just a fiscal conservative when you’re running for office," Taxpayer Protection Alliance president David Williams told the Examiner. "It’s part of your DNA and who you are, and there should have been some recognition by him at the time that this isn’t right."

Bowe noted that Treadwell played no part in the company’s effort to secure stimulus funds. However, his financial disclosures suggest that he still benefits from the company’s continued profitability, which is aided by its receipt of stimulus funds.

The company accepted stimulus money "so that we would get it rather than our competition," Bowe said, suggesting that the company, and its investors, benefitted from the competitive advantage yielded by those stimulus funds.

Treadwell has heavily subsidized his political efforts with his own money, derived in part from his stake in Ellicott and the partial sale thereof.

He poured nearly $300,000 into his 2010 lieutenant governor campaign and admitted that his bid may not have been viable if he had not financed it himself.

"Most political pundits would have said that I had zero chance of winning the primary, so it was very hard to raise money," Treadwell told the Anchorage Daily News. "So I committed my own resources to the race."

That trend has continued during his Senate bid. Treadwell has donated at least $65,000 to his Senate campaign, and loaned it another $240,000, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Bowe has also donated directly to Treadwell, writing his Senate campaign two $2,500 checks last year—one marked for the primary, the other for the general election.

Treadwell has decried the stimulus as "just another case of government spending too much and placing the price tag on the backs of future generations" that did not spur the economic activity the president and other supporters claimed it would.

According to Recovery.gov, Ellicott’s two stimulus awards created 70 jobs at more than $83,000 apiece.