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  Hovde says he will drop tobacco subsidy payments to his real-estate firm
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ContributorThe Sunset Provision 
Last EditedThe Sunset Provision  Jul 19, 2012 05:22pm
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MediaNewspaper - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
News DateThursday, July 19, 2012 11:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionU.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde said he'll drop tobacco subsidies paid by federal taxpayers to his real-estate firm after being contacted about them by reporters.

Hovde, a multimillionaire with real-estate and investment holdings, has sharply attacked farm subsidies going to big businesses as part of a self-funded U.S. Senate bid built around cutting government spending and deficit. But meanwhile, Hovde's Madison real-estate firm has been collecting about $2,700 a year in subsidies meant for tobacco farmers.

That's not the only area where Hovde Realty Inc. has sought to gain subsidies or tax benefits normally going to farmers. In 2006, the Hovde family's real estate and development firm settled for $22,500 a lawsuit by the city of Madison that charged Hovde Realty with improperly classifying some of its holdings as farmland to lower its property taxes.

In an interview on Monday, Hovde said that he hadn't benefited from farm subsidies or lower property tax assessments aimed at farmers. But late Wednesday, he acknowledged that the firm had been receiving the tobacco subsidies, saying that he knew nothing about the payments arranged by lower-level company employees until he was contacted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The Associated Press.

If elected, "it's just another thing that I would try to kill," Hovde said of the "utterly ridiculous" federal subsidy program. "I said, 'What the hell are we doing this for?'"

Online federal records show that Hovde Realty received $2,663 each year in the tobacco payments from 2010 to 2012, for a total of just under $8,000.

Hovde's campaign opponents pounced on the revelation about the tobacco subsidies.
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