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Eric Hovde, Republican Senate Candidate, Backs Tech Company That Benefited From Stimulus

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Eric Hovde, an outspoken critic of the federal stimulus program and Republican Senate candidate in Wisconsin, sits on the board of a technology company that was granted more than $2 million from the same initiative, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Hovde, who is running for the GOP nomination to replace retiring Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), has called himself the "second-largest shareholder" of Herndon, Va.-based ePlus,according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The company sells computer services and products, such as data centers and cloud computing.

Recovery.gov, a federal government website tracking stimulus spending, shows that ePlus received more than $2.3 million in federal department grants set up by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Hovde's campaign told the Associated Press that he "beneficially owns less than 15 percent, both directly and indirectly," of ePlus, downplaying any notion that Hovde is a key player in the company's operations.

Hovde has said he opposes the federal stimulus, which has emerged as a flashpoint in the Wisconsin Senate race as other candidates have been tied to benefiting companies.

Hovde opponent and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson pounced on the stimulus hypocrisy as an example of Hovde's coziness with Beltway politics.

"Eric Hovde has spent the past 24 years in Washington, D.C., selling access and leveraging government-assisted transactions," Thompson spokesman Brian Nemoir told the AP. "The latest revelation that Hovde has benefited from stimulus dollars is nothing but business as usual."

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