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Tags: Virginia

Ed Gillespie Will Run Plenty of Ads in the Next Two and a Half Weeks



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We’re at the time of year where every little decision is interpreted as a significant indicator of what will happen on Election Night. But Politico should have known better than to run a story with the screaming headline, GILLESPIE OFF THE AIR THIS WEEK, only to note . . . 

Republican Senate candidate Ed Gillespie has gone dark on Virginia television, three sources tracking the airwaves told POLITICO. An adviser to his campaign says they plan to go back up on Saturday.

Eric Wilson of the Gillespie campaign stated, “Since we went up on TV, we always switch off TV for a day or two between rotating new messages in.” You can argue whether that’s wise or not, but it’s not exactly unheard of — and how likely is it that the deciding factor in this race will be whether Gillespie is running ads on a Thursday night and a Friday night in mid-October? Tomorrow night the hipsters are out, and the families are at high-school football games.

And Gillespie’s campaign manager Tweets:

For a long stretch, Ed Gillespie trailed by a lot (20 points or so) and this race wasn’t competitive. Now the Republican is down only about 10 points, and now we learn Warner may have offered a job to a lawmaker’s child in an effort to influence a state legislator:

Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) said Monday that while he “brainstormed” with a son of former state senator Phillip P. Puckett about “possibilities that his sister might want to pursue,” he did not and would not offer a job to the daughter of a state lawmaker. 

As the Post reported Friday, Puckett’s son told federal investigators that Warner discussed the possibility of several jobs, including a federal judgeship, for Martha Puckett Ketron in an effort to dissuade her father from quitting the evenly divided state Senate.

Those allegations don’t mesh well with his “I’m a good guy who puts Virginia first” messaging. Also remember that Republicans can overperform their final polls here — last year, Ken Cuccinelli finished five percentage points ahead of his final RCP average.

Ed Gillespie is still an underdog, but this is a race to keep an eye on in the final weeks.

Tags: Ed Gillespie , Mark Warner , Virginia

Hilarious Outrage From Before Media Knew Virginia Horse-Trade Was a Democratic Scandal [Wayback Edition]



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Charlie Cooke has already mourned the bones of Sir Walter Raleigh and Patrick Henry in his great Terry McAuliffe philippic, so I’ll just point out something about the specific scandal that has the gladhanding governor of Virginia in hot water.

The Phil Puckett resignation started out as a Republican scandal — and back then there didn’t seem to be much concern from the media that, in the Washington Post’s Laura Vozzella and Jenna Portnoy’s phrasing, “it was not entirely clear to Richmond’s increasingly bewildered and antsy political class just what [the offender at the moment] had done.”

Back then, Virginia Senate Republicans stood accused of offering state senator Phillip Puckett a job if he resigned his seat, which would have thwarted a McAuliffe scheme to push increased Medicaid commitments through the senate. I reported on that story in June, when Puckett had in fact given up his senate seat. At the time, Puckett, a Democrat with deep roots in southwestern Virginia who managed to stay in office for many years in a heavily Republican district, mentioned the need to vacate his seat so his daughter could be confirmed to a judgeship that was being blocked by what Vozzella and Portnoy call “Senate Republicans’ anti-nepotism policy.” (When will the Republicans lighten up with these ethical rules of theirs, for heaven’s sake?) Puckett also alluded to some family health problems (also rumored to be the case by other observers), and he discontinued discussions of his own job prospect once the issue came up. 

Quoting my earlier article:

Yet Puckett has been turned into an Old Dominion Benedict Arnold by national media.

“They come with festering cancers, rotting teeth, wheezing lungs and aching joints, lining up for hours to see the doctors who arrive with a mobile clinic to deliver health care to the most underserved of America’s poor,” the Washington Post’s Petula Dvorak wrote in her column titled “By resigning, Virginia lawmaker Phillip Puckett betrayed his own people.”

“GOP Straight Up Bribes Democratic Senator In Effort To Block Obamacare,”reported the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim and Ashley Alman. “Republicans offered to move Democratic state Sen. Phillip P. Puckett and his daughter into prestigious jobs in exchange for Puckett’s resignation,” Grim and Alman continued, “which will flip the chamber into Republican hands. Puckett officially accepted the offer on Monday, but then appeared to back away amid a public outcry.”

“I used to think Gov. Terry McAuliffe was the most venal politician among Virginia Democrats,” thought Jamelle Bouie of Slate. “But, I was wrong. That title goes to state Sen. Phillip Puckett, who resigned on Monday as part of a deal to give Republicans control of the state Senate, and thus a full veto on the Medicaid expansion.”

© Larrymetayer | Dreamstime.com - Former President Bill Clinton And Candidate For Governor For The State Of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe Photo

Bouie had it right the first time. Now the Puckett brouhaha has boomeranged on the Democrats, as it turns out McAuliffe’s chief of staff Paul Reagan made an extraordinarily straightforward and oily plea to Puckett to stay in office:

“We would be very eager to accommodate her if, if that would be helpful in keeping you in the Senate,” Reagan said in a voicemail to Puckett. “We, we would basically do anything.”

Why don’t I ever get voicemails like that?

And while it’s fun to read about team McAuliffe’s venality (McAuliffe’s proud delight in his own corruption is in fact the closest thing he has to charm), do we really need federal investigators hunting heads over some horse trading in a state capital? (Presumably the answer will be yes, because the GOP got the better of this particular trade.)

At least the Democrats can still blame Reagan.

Tags: Virginia

Not Much Is Coming Easy to the GOP This Cycle



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The Thursday morning poll roundup…

Arizona Governor: ”Forty-one percent of likely voters said they were likely to vote for Doug Ducey, the Republican nominee, while 39 percent said they would vote for Fred DuVal, the Democratic nominee — within the poll’s margin of error. Seven percent said they would vote for Libertarian Barry Hess.”

Georgia Senator: ”In the fierce fight to fill the seat vacated by Saxby Chambliss, Republican David Perdue leads Democrat Michelle Nunn by just one point: 46 percent to 45 percent.”

Georgia Governor“Incumbent Republican Nathan Deal is behind Jason Carter by one point: Carter 45 percent, Deal 44 percent.”

Virginia Senator:Virginia voters favor U.S. Sen. Mark Warner over Republican challenger Ed Gillespie with more than half saying they don’t consider President Barack Obama a factor when deciding who should be their senator, according to a poll released today. However, the telephone survey of likely voters also indicated that, while Warner, a Democrat, enjoys a nine-point lead over Gillespie, the race is not settled. About one of every five voters contacted said they still might change their minds before Nov. 4.”

Florida Governor: “The result – according to a new independent poll – is essentially a tied race between Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist, with Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie picking up 8 percent of the vote. And voters don’t seem to like or trust either of the major candidates. The Quinnipiac University poll showed Scott leading Crist 44-42 percent among likely voters, well within the poll’s margin of error.”

 

Tags: Arizona , Georgia , Virginia , Florida

How You Checking Your Phone at a Red Light Assists the Nanny State



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The first Morning Jolt of the week features a Senate-race poll roundup, the potential breakup of the United Kingdom, and then this observation about how selfish behavior fuels the nanny state:

How You Checking Your Phone at a Red Light Assists the Nanny State

Dear driver in front of me of the left-turn-only lane,

It appears you’re reading this message on a smart phone during a pause that began as a red light, but became a green light while you were staring at this phone instead of the traffic light in front of you. And now we’re behind you, honking our horns.

I have a feeling you’ve been here before. You’re familiar with this intersection, right? This is the left-turn lane, and we have a green arrow for maybe twenty seconds, tops. If everyone’s paying attention, we can get six cars through, maybe seven if we really push it and slip through in the closing seconds of yellow. We’re all sitting here, trying to get to the preschool. We all have roughly the same drop-off time. We all want to get on with our day, just like you do.

I understand the temptation to check your smartphone. We all know that this is a long light — if you miss the green or yellow arrow, you’re sitting there for another two or three minutes. I can tell you’re not checking your rear-view mirror, but if you did, you would see a lot of us back here.

Those of us back here are sitting here — weekday morning after weekday morning — because you feel the need to check your smartphone when you’re the first car in line in the left-turn lane. And with frustratingly metronomic regularity, you’re looking at your phone when the light turns green, and those of us back here have to honk our horns to alert you to the fact that the light has changed, and you and maybe one or two cars get through, and the rest of us are waiting another couple minutes for the lights to cycle again.

This is a basic matter of consideration for your fellow human beings. Yes, it is boring to just look at a traffic light. But you’re prioritizing your need to interrupt just a few minutes of boredom over our need to get moving when the light turns green.

In Virginia, texting while driving now gets you a $125 fine, $250 for a second offense. It was recently upgraded to a “a primary offense, which means police can pull you over if they suspect you of texting while driving.” But we don’t really need to throw the book at the people unlucky or unwise enough to check their phones while behind the wheel in front of a cop. We just need people to not look at their farshtunken phone while driving, or while sitting at a red light!

Government and police enforcement are not really needed to deal with you, driver in front of me. It just requires you to use a little better judgment and think about the people behind you. It’s a lot easier to preserve personal liberties when people practice personal responsibility. The touchy-feely communitarians always want to put the needs of the community first — well, their chosen definition of the community’s needs first — above the rights of the individual. Their instinct to try to make a rule, regulation, homeowners’-association bylaw, or law for every single circumstance is a pain in the tush, but they have an easier case to make every time you behave in a manner that prizes only your interests and needs and disregards everyone else’s.

Unfortunately, every time you delay the rest of us, you create a problem that Authenticity Woods busybodies will want to turn into a crime.

Green means “go”, pal.

Tags: Something Lighter , Nanny State , Virginia

Bob McDonnell Lesson: Be Nice to Your Chef, Or Cook for Yourself, Or Something



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Knowing now how the Bob McDonnell trial ended, it’s worth taking a look back at how it began: with a disgruntled cook who turned incriminating records over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Virginia State Police. The Washington Post’s Rosalind S. Helderman and Matt Zapotosky catch up with the former chef (executive chef to you) to the McDonnells at his new home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Todd Schneider was fired in March 2012 after being accused of stealing food bought by the taxpayers to supply his side catering business. (He maintains that he had worked out a barter system with Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell.) Schneider’s providing police with a $15,000 catering check from dietary supplement honcho Jonnie Williams, Jr., put authorities on the McDonnells’ scent, and they eventually turned up about $177,000 worth of gifts and loans Williams laid on the McDonnells in exchange for some promotion of his wares at state events.

Schneider in turn was able to plead no contest to two misdemeanors and pay a fine. Leaving behind a soured reputation in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Schneider set up shop in the Venice of America, and he now claims to feel pity for his former pal Maureen McDonnell.

Schneider’s reminiscences are both slippery and precise. A giggly wine party between the exec chef and the first lady is interrupted by persistent phone calls from the governor. Maureen McDonell’s irregular hours are detailed. (“He said he would often get texts from the first lady about the mansion’s food late at night, sometimes after midnight.”) But the question of why one of Schneider’s underlings, rather than Schneider himself, testified at the McDonnells’ trial goes unanswered. The chef is at the same time bitter over what he believes was a railroading from the governor’s mansion and effusive about the McDonnell’s sexual chemistry.

“Even when the spotlight was off, you would see them being cuddly and in love,” he says, a characterization that conveniently undercuts the legal defense the McDonnells were still using when Schneider apparently gave the interview. (The defense — that the state’s first couple had been estranged and under emotional strain — did not work, as the former governor was convicted on 11 of 13 counts and the former first lady on nine of 13 counts. The McDonnells will be sentenced in January.)

While the desire to romanticize the days of footmen and scullions seems to be deathless (even the first family of the United States tunes into Downton Abbey, lest we ever be allowed to forget), the 21st-century model of running your own home with more powerful tools but no human attendants carries distinct advantages. The primary advantage is that in the lordly past you and I and almost everybody else would have been the attendants, not the lords. Another is that a self-cleaning oven won’t work out a grudge against you.

The case against Robert and Maureen McDonnell originated in petty malice and never really moved beyond it. That the McDonnnells are going to prison over a total figure of $177,000 is a cruel joke on the public in a state that managed to liquidate $42.7 billion of the people’s money during McDonnell’s last full year in office. The taxes are high, the services are poor, and the traffic stinks. The governor’s wife (one of 50 such counts and countesses across a nation that already pays to maintain a presidential family in high style) is swanning around with an executive chef and that’s considered normal. Yet we’re supposed to be happy because somebody’s been caught with less than the down payment on a four-bedroom house in Loudoun County.

The only government that would not attract oily influence peddlers like Johnnie Williams would be one that does not have billions of dollars in goodies to give away. We have the opposite of that kind of government, and stories like this one remind us that we have it not only in Washington but in many smaller versions at the state, county, and municipal levels. Enforcing gift limits on the Senate candy dish or throwing people in prison for “lending the prestige of the governor’s office” are not going to solve the problem. The low character of so many people around the McDonnells is striking, but can you imagine the kind of people Terry McAuliffe hangs out with? It is foolish to give a person an executive chef and a mansion and a staff and a $43 billion budget, and not expect him to act like royalty.

Tags: Bob McDonnell , Virginia

McDonnells Go Down On Nearly All Felony Counts



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Former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell and his wife Maureen were found guilty on most charges today in the conclusion of their felony corruption trial. Bob McDonnell, who was convicted on 11 out of 13 counts, becomes the first governor in Old Dominion history to be convicted of crimes related to his office. Maureen McDonnell was found guilty on nine out of 13 counts.

The Washington Post’s Mark Berman provides a handy chart of the convictions:

Count 1: Conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud

Maureen G. McDonnell: Guilty

Robert F. McDonnell: Guilty

Count 2: Honest services wire fraud: $15,000 wedding check

Maureen G. McDonnell: Guilty

Robert F. McDonnell: Guilty

Count 3: Honest services wire fraud: MoBo $50,000

Maureen G. McDonnell: Guilty

Robert F. McDonnell: Guilty

Count 4: Honest services wire fraud: MoBo $20,000

Maureen G. McDonnell: Not guilty

Robert F. McDonnell: Guilty

Count 5: Conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right

Maureen G. McDonnell: Guilty

Robert F. McDonnell: Guilty

Count 6: Obtaining property under color of official right: $50,000 in 2011 to MGM

Maureen G. McDonnell: Guilty

Robert F. McDonnell: Guilty

Count 7: Obtaining property under color of official right: $15,000 wedding check

Maureen G. McDonnell: Guilty

Robert F. McDonnell: Guilty

Count 8: Obtaining property under color of official right: $2,380 Kinloch 5/29/2011

Maureen G. McDonnell: Guilty

Robert F. McDonnell: Guilty

Count 9: Obtaining property under color of official right: $1,424 Kinloch 1/7/2012

Maureen G. McDonnell: Not guilty

Robert F. McDonnell: Guilty

Count 10: Obtaining property under color of official right: $50,000 MoBo

Maureen G. McDonnell: Guilty

Robert F. McDonnell: Guilty

Count 11: Obtaining property under color of official right: $20,000 MoBo

Maureen G. McDonnell: Not guilty

Robert F. McDonnell: Guilty

Count 12: False statement to Townebank on 10/03/2012

Maureen G. McDonnell: N/A

Robert F. McDonnell: Guilty

Count 13: False statement to PenFed on 02/01/2013

Maureen G. McDonnell: Not guilty

Robert F. McDonnell: Not guilty

Count 14: Obstruction of an official proceeding

Maureen G. McDonnell: Guilty

Robert F. McDonnell: N/A

“Both McDonnells sobbed openly, but quietly as the verdicts were read,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. “Family members and supporters also wept openly.”

Trial observers had expected the McDonnells to skate on most of the charges other than those related to false statements made in obtaining loans, so the heavy conviction numbers come as a surprise. Although the charges (which involved $177,000 in gifts and loans from a dietary-supplement purveyor who agreed to testify for the prosecution in exchange for criminal immunity) were relatively light in the scale of American political corruption, and the case was brought by the heavily politicized Holder Justice Department against a former GOP governor, McDonnell’s plight generated little sympathy even from Republicans. The McDonnells’ self-abasing legal defense strategy was off-putting even for supporters, and it served as a cap on an unimpressive tenure as chief executive of a severely overtaxed and over-regulated state that remains heavily dependent on the federal government jobs and support, despite retaining the motto Sic Semper Tyrannis.

The McDonnells will be sentenced in January.

Tags: Virginia , Bob McDonnell

Senator Mark Warner, Road Runway Warrior



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The office of Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat, periodically issues press releases informing his constituents that he’s “on the road” or “hitting the road.” It evokes images of the senator out riding like Jack Kerouac.

Apparently “the road” refers to the short drive to the nearest airport, where Warner meets his chartered airplane, paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

USA Today offered a graphic, contrasting Warner’s private plane rides with the actual car rides of his fellow Democratic senator, Tim Kaine:

His spokesperson defended his travel, saying: “Sen. Warner is a road warrior, and he insists on a schedule that goes from dawn to dusk.”

Road warrior, runway warrior… easy to mix that up.

The Virginian Pilot editorial board wrote Saturday, “All explanations aside, chartering a plane when a car would suffice is precisely the kind of spending that makes Americans furious with the federal government. Virginia isn’t Alaska. Or Texas. It’s less than 400 miles from D.C. to Bristol.”

The campaign of Warner’s rival, Ed Gillespie, identified at least six other instances when Senator Warner has touted in a press release that he’s “on the road”… when he was actually chartering private luxury planes and charging them to taxpayers:

1.       On April 18, 2011 Senator Warner charged taxpayers for $3,586 in chartered flights to travel 140 miles to West Point when he said in a press release he was “on the road.”

2.       On August 16, 2011 Senator Warner charged taxpayers $3,160 in chartered private air travel to the Eastern Shore while notifying the press in a release that he was “on the road.”

3.       On July 20, 2012 Senator Warner charged taxpayers for $5,837 in chartered flights from DC, Danville, Lynchburg, and back home to DC while trumpeting in a press release he was “on the road” to the same destinations.

4.       A month later on August 22, 2012, Senator Warner said he was back “on the road” to talk about tough choices in the federal budget, on a trip that actually started with taxpayers footing the charter plane bill for Warner’s return from moving his daughter in to college in North Carolina, as reported by NBC12. The total cost of multiple luxury charters for this trip was $11,037.  

5.   USA Today reported on Warner embarking last year on what “his office trumpeted as a four-day, 1,000-mile trip across his state, with press releases noting he ‘woke up early to hit the road,’ making stops at a minor league ballpark, a craft brewery and a Roanoke rail yard, among others.

But for several hundred of those miles, Warner was not hitting the road — he was flying a chartered plane at a cost totaxpayers of $8,500.”

6.    When Senator Warner reported to his email list that he was back “on the road” a month later, September 20 last year, it that time cost taxpayers $7,551 in charter luxury jet fees from Senator Warner’s favorite charter company, Zen Air.

7.     And when Senator Warner purported to be “on the road” in a press release January 20 of this year, a few days after Ed Gillespie announced his Senate campaign, taxpayers later got the bill for a $3,462 chartered luxury flight.  

It’s all perfectly legal, although some may ask if it’s such a good use of taxpayer money, and a rather inconvenient habit for any lawmaker who wants to claim to be a fiscal conservative or populist.

It’s probably too much to expect Warner to cover these costs himself; he’s only the second-wealthiest member of Congress, with a net worth estimated at $257 million.

Tags: Mark Warner , Ed Gillespie , Virginia

Chatting With Ed Gillespie (and Snooping Around His Office)



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A short while ago, I taped a pair of video interviews with GOP Senate candidate (and friend of NR) Ed Gillespie. In the first, discussing the state of the campaign and the big issues at stake in his bid against incumbent Democratic senator Mark Warner, you can see that if you’ve donated to Gillespie’s Senate campaign, you can rest assured that your money did not go to fancy office furniture:

In the second, Gillespie shows me some of the knickknacks in his personal office – a letter his daughter sent to George W. Bush in crayon and the president’s response; a windbreaker from his days as a U.S. Senate parking attendant, and mementos of his work as a campaign manager for Dick Armey in 1986.

Google Maps seems convinced that the Gillespie campaign is working in a giant oil terminal tank. No doubt that the Warner campaign will cite this to claim that Gillespie’s campaign is “a product of the big oil companies.”

Tags: Ed Gillespie , Mark Warner , Virginia

Libertarian Candidate: Give Crooks the Death Penalty, or Just Board Games



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Eric Cantor’s district may get even tougher on crime if one candidate looking to replace the outgoing congressman has his way.

Libertarian Party candidate James Carr gave a shock to advocates of minimal government recently by arguing that government should have a lot more power to kill people:

To begin I will say very clearly that I believe the death penalty should be used much more widely than it currently is applied. Examples of crimes that should carry a capital punishment possibility include but are not limited to attempted murder, violent sex offenses, and any sex offense against a child. I do understand that most people reading this will have serious misgivings about application of the death penalty for offenses in which someone else did not die it is not my intent to enforce an eye-for-an-eye approach. I am much more interested in the best outcome for society as a whole and the individuals that perpetrate these offenses are best removed from society permanently.

Unlike Don Corleone at around the 2:50 mark here, Carr can’t be bothered with the details of punitive ethics. A libertarian always, um, puts the best interests of society ahead of individual justice.

I speak from long and doleful experience when I say libertarians are the reason we can’t have a libertarian society. But coming after the breakthrough gubernatorial run of L.P. candidate Mark Sarvis — whose platform included a vehicle-mileage tax that would have made George Harrison’s nightmare vision in “Taxman” a literal reality — Carr’s death penalty plank indicates that, at least in Old Dominion, libertarian candidates are not even digesting the Randrothian soup of ideas that is supposed to be the basis of the libertarian diet.

The “fiscal policy” page on Carr’s website reads only “Details forthcoming.” So does the page for foreign policy. The Healthcare page reads only “Information forthcoming,” though Carr claims that he has “been in the healthcare field for over seven years–specializing in finance, business systems and advanced analytics.”  The abortion page at least shows some consistency of double-death principle; but don’t look for an argument building on, say, Murray Rothbard’s clever free-rider pro-abortion conclusion. Carr, last of the truly free men, hews to his own logic no matter what dense jungles of excogitation it leads him into. (“Of course, the range between nuclear weapons in every home and abortion is a wide one.”)

Many commenters, most recently the Virginia conservative blog BearingDrift, questioned the libertarian foundations of Carr’s platform, and the candidate offered a compromise, because politics is the art of the possible: Life without parole and separation from non-violent offenders.

This new population of life sentence inmates should be given no special amenities. No additional costs should be assumed by the taxpayers to provide television, Internet, weight-lifting equipment, etc. Their very existence should be basic and as cost-effective as possible with books and board games as the only entertainment.

Carr will face off against Republican David Brat and Democrat Jack Trammell in November, in a district Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates as “Safe Republican.” Brat unseated Cantor in a surprise win in this month’s Republican primary.

Update: Carr responded to National Review Online after posting time and explained that he has not yet had time to fill in the “details forthcoming” pages on his site. He acknowledged that fiscal, foreign and health care policy are defining issues for a libertarian congressional candidate  — possibly more so than either the death penalty or abortion, over which the U.S. House has little authority — but he said his positions there would be within the libertarian mainstream. He also said some pieces of his platform (several of which, such as the campaign financing page, this reader found incomprehensible) might get a polishing up. An earlier version of this post indicated Carr updated his death penalty plank recently in response to the BearingDrift blog post. In fact, he updated it in May, in response to other interlocutors.

Tags: Virginia , Libertarians , Capital Punishment

Washington Post Belatedly Realizes Who Terry McAuliffe Is



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From the Washington Post editorial board’s endorsement of Terry McAuliffe for governor of Virginia, October 12:

There is no disguising that Mr. McAuliffe, a self-described wheeler-dealer who burst on to the national stage as a prodigious fundraiser for Bill Clinton in the 1990s, lacks the close engagement with policy possessed by Virginia’s recent governors. The ultimate political insider, his stock in trade has been playing the angles where access and profit intersect.

Nonetheless, as a candidate for governor Mr. McAuliffe has taken sensible stands on key issues, and he has had the political savvy to stay mostly on message. Critically, he embraced the transportation funding bill enacted by a bipartisan majority of the General Assembly this year, a measure that will ensure that the state’s roads and rails keep pace with a 21st-century economy.

That same editorial board, beginning to realize what they have done, this weekend:

IT’S HARD to think of a more tone-deaf political move lately than Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s unveiling of his Common Good Virginia PAC, which peddles dinners and sit downs with Mr. McAuliffe, a Democrat, his wife and unnamed “policy experts” for fat cats with a policy agenda for fees reaching $100,000.

Of all people, in all places and at all times, Mr. McAuliffe in Virginia right now is about the worst combination we can think of for this particular brand of fundraising. If Mr. McAuliffe, after fewer than three months in office, is intent on opening fire at his own feet, he’s seized on an effective way to do it.

Wait a minute! You guys assured us he had “the political savvy to stay mostly on message”! How can you be surprised that he’s now “playing the angles where access and profit intersect”?

ABOVE: Terry McAuliffe in 2008, a bit before he came to Richmond
to restore honor, dignity, and decency to Virginia state politics.

Tags: Terry McAuliffe , Washington Post , Virginia

The Cautionary Tale of Bob McDonnell



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From the Wednesday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Bob McDonnell, Once One of the GOP’s Rising Stars, Heads to the Courthouse

Bob McDonnell, you’re a big jerk.

Here’s one detail from the indictment that’s just heartbreaking if you ever thought Bob McDonnell had a bright future as a leader on the national stage:

On or about August 1, 2011, MAUREEN MCDONNELL also met privately with JW (presumably McDonnell donor and Star Scientific CEO Jonny Williams). During the meeting, MAUREEN MCDONNELL noticed JW’s watch and asked what brand it was. JW informed her it was a Rolex. She informed JW that she would like to get one for ROBERT MCDONNELL because he would like a Rolex. JW expressed concern regarding whether ROBERT MCDONNELL would actually wear such a luxury watch given his role as a senior government official. MAUREEN MCDONNELL told JW that she wanted JW to buy a Rolex for ROBERT MCDONNELL. JW subsequently bought a Rolex for ROBERT MCDONNELL. When JW contacted MAUREEN MCDONNELL to ask her what she wanted engraved on the watch, MAUREEN MCDONNELL instructed JW to have “71st Governor of Virginia” engraved on the back of the Rolex.

If these points in the indictment are accurate, even Jonnie Williams — the guy allegedly bribing the McDonnells with these gifts and loans — seemed to sense this was a bad idea. McDonnell earned $175,000 per year as governor — one of the highest salaries of any governor — and obviously doesn’t have to worry about paying rent while he’s governor. But the Rolex cost $6,500. That’s a pretty hefty chunk of change for a timepiece. People would inevitably ask questions about how he could afford it.

It sounds like the McDonnells had well-hidden financial issues from the moment they entered the governor’s mansion. In December 2009, one month after McDonnell wins in a landslide, Maureen McDonnell e-mails “JE,” one of Robert McDonnell’s senior staff members:

“I need to talk to you about Inaugural clothing budget. I need answers and Bob is screaming about the thousands I’m charging up in credit card debt. We are broke, have an unconscionable amount in credit card debt already, and this Inaugural is killing us!! I need answers and I need help, and I need to get this done.”

Painful lesson: You never really know a candidate or public official, unless you’re in the innermost of inner circles. Little or nothing in Bob McDonnell’s past as state attorney general or state legislator pointed to an extravagant lifestyle, serious personal debts, or blind spots in judgment. Even if you know a candidate . . . you never really know how power will change them.

Someone asked how much of this mess is the responsibility of Maureen McDonnell, and how much is the fault of the governor. That doesn’t really matter much, now does it? He’s the governor. He’s got to know that if he’s going to accept a gift, he has to disclose it. He’s got to have the basic common sense to realize that one guy offering more than $150,000 in loans and gifts isn’t just doing it because he’s a nice guy. And if his wife is getting him involved in financial arrangements that appear compromising, he’s got to put his foot down and get himself out.

The legal response from McDonnell’s lawyersciting me! Thanks a heap, guys!* — is that governors get gifts from donors all the time, and that no matter how awful it stinks, nothing actually breaks federal law.

But part of me can’t believe they’ve been reduced to arguing this:

All that Governor McDonnell is alleged to have done for Star or Mr. Williams was facilitate two meetings with Virginia Health and Human Resources officials (who gave Star nothing but a little of their time), make a brief appearance at a Star event in Richmond, attend a private luncheon hosted by his wife (and paid for by his PAC) at the Governor’s mansion at which Star announced the award of research grants to two Virginia universities, and attend a large healthcare reception at the Mansion to which his wife had invited a few Star representatives (invitations indistinguishable from those extended to thousands of other people over the Governor’s time in office).

Yeah, that’s all!

The Commonwealth of Virginia does not provide its governor a mansion so that he can help donors sell their products, and we don’t elect these guys so they can suddenly become enormously popular with rich guys who want to share their vacation homes and buy them watches. You can’t cash in on your office — and if the argument is that every elected official does it, you can’t do it on this scale.

* This is sarcasm.

Tags: Bob McDonnell , Virginia

What Ed Gillespie Brings to Virginia’s Senate Race



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What does 2014 hold for Ed Gillespie, and his hopes of beating incumbent Democratic senator Mark Warner?

Could Gillespie fall flat on his face as a Senate candidate? Theoretically; Virginia’s current governor, Terry McAuliffe, will tell you& it’s one thing to be a party chairman and another thing to run for office. McAuliffe stumbled badly in his first bid for governor in 2009, spending $8.2 million to win 26 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary.

But it’s more likely Gillespie adjusts to life as a candidate pretty handily. Gillespie is familiar with appearing on national television, and debated McAuliffe on stage when the pair were opposing party chairmen. He’s worked in the policy realm at the White House as counselor. He’s got an extensive network of potential donors from his days running the Republican National Committee and chairing the Republican State Legislative Committee. He’ll have all kinds of big GOP names in for rallies and fundraisers. (Gillespie was a senior adviser to the Romney campaign and was communications director for John Kasich’s short-lived 2000 presidential campaign.) He’s got a local network of supporters and potential donors from chairing Bob McDonnell’s campaign in 2009.

The floor for a solid Republican campaign in a midterm election is probably around Ken Cuccinelli’s 45.2 percent. (With no third-party option in the state attorney-general race, Republican Mark Obenshain won 49.8 percent, losing by less than 200 votes with 2.2 million cast.) It’s quite possible Gillespie wins, particularly if Warner’s centrist image and rhetoric are contrasted with his reliably Democratic voting record — Warner’s lifetime ACU rating is 12.5 out of a possible 100. Gillespie won’t get drastically outspent the way Cuccinelli did.

It’s also easy to picture Gilespie doing well, but falling short of a majority against Warner — Democrats will pull out all the stops to protect their incumbent in a state McAuliffe won and Obama carried twice.

If Gillespie does not win, but comes close, he’ll set himself up as a solid GOP candidate in the next statewide race, the one for governor in 2017.

Tags: Ed Gillespie , Terry McAuliffe , Virginia , Mark Warner

Geraghty for Congress 2014: Inaction In Action



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Today’s Morning Jolt explores how popular culture is attempting to redefine Chris Christie, some new signs about Congress toying with the public in Washington, and then this key announcement about the opening in Virginia’s 8th congressional district:

Geraghty for Congress 2014: Inaction In Action

(Somewhere in Virginia’s eighth congressional district, Jim takes the stage to cheers from crowd of residents.)

My fellow Virginians . . . 

I have heard your call, ringing loud and clear from the wood-paneled offices of the trade associations in Arlington, to the gleaming glass tower of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, to the elegantly landscaped cul-de-sacs of Yuppie Acres, to the teeming miles upon miles of Starbuckses in our communities . . . 

We of the eighth congressional district now face the question of how we will go on, without a representative who keeps being accused of violent behavior around women, who pursues a vigilante campaign against eight-year-old carjackers, who blames the Iraq War on Jews, and so many other unforgettable moments in a political career that is rivaled only by Mayor Quimby of Springfield. Clearly, we will soon see a vacancy in an office that needs to be cleaned out with sugarless Gummi Bears.

I have been asked what I am willing to do to earn the great responsibility and honor of representing you in the House of Representatives. My answer is simple and direct: Absolutely nothing.

(Nervous laughter from crowd.)

My fellow Virginians, if you elect me to Congress, I promise that I will not lift a finger for the special interests, the corporate interests, the lobbyists, Big Oil, Big Business, Big Papi, the Big Ten, the Notorious B.I.G., or The Big Bang Theory. I won’t answer to them or any other one of our public discourse’s designated villains of the week.

(Cheering)

I can make this promise with confidence because I’m pretty sure I won’t do much of anything for you, either.

(Cheering stops)

This is an area where my principled commitment to limited government and my deep disinterest in dealing with your problems will align perfectly.

Do you want a deduction or tax credit written into the tax code to benefit your business? Well, tough, because you’re not getting it. Your business is supposed to thrive because it provides quality goods and services, not because it gets some special help from the IRS.

(Murmurs of discontent.)

Do you want an earmark written into an appropriations bill? Argo-you-know-what.

(Someone drops a glass.)

Are you hoping I’ll persuade my colleagues to pass a law that will help your industry? I’ll pencil that in my schedule for the first of Never.

If you’ve got a great project that you want some federal agency to invest in . . . go find some venture capitalists, because it’s not the taxpayers’ duty to give you money and hope it all works out.

If you think Medicare isn’t spending enough on “vacuum erection systems” . . . go call somebody who cares. When you do, I hope you don’t use an Obamaphone.

My fellow Virginians, it’s time to take the service out of public service. That big dome on the Hill over there has one job, protect people’s rights. It is not supposed to be like Oprah giving away free cars to the audience. A lot of us have gotten way too comfortable with the idea that government’s job is to help us by giving us stuff and doing stuff for us.

Have you ever considered that maybe the reason Congress is so awful is you, dear voters? I mean, you elected these clowns. But even beyond that, most of the time when members of Congress interact with the public, they’re being asked for favors. The mail they get, the phone calls they get, most of the people who show up at their town halls – everybody’s asking them for something. Get more funding for this! Help us get money to do that! Make sure this agency spends more on this local project! Look, your congressman is not Santa Claus! (Okay, former Rep. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii kind of looks like him.) Through your behavior and expectations, you’ve conditioned our elected leaders to think of themselves as walking ATMs.

Ask not what your country can do for you . . . because I’m sick and tired of your whining. Do it yourself.

(The crowd is silent and not happy.)

What do you say, Virginia? Are you ready for a congressman who has nothing to offer you but . . . well, basically nothing to offer you?

Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOO!

Guy in crowd: Hey, doesn’t Mary Katharine Ham live in this district, too?

Another guy in crowd: Let’s nominate her!

The crowd moves on.

Tags: Virginia , Something Lighter

What Kind of Turnout Will Virginia See Tuesday?



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A small reason for Republican hope in Virginia: In 2009, Bob McDonnell’s margin of victory was 4 percentage points larger than the RealClearPolitics average — 17.5 points, instead of 13.4 points.

McAuliffe currently leads in the RCP average by 8.4 points. Quinnipiac created a stir in the race earlier this week when they showed McAuliffe leading by only 4 points.

There are two differing schools of thought on how big the turnout will be. NBC News looks at history and contemplates lower turnout than 2009’s 40 percent:

Turnout has dipped only twice from the previous election — in 1985 and 1997. Interestingly, those two elections featured candidates who didn’t become household names for the long haul (Baliles and Gilmore), and they came after presidential RE-ELECTs. Will we end up adding 2013 to that list?

Another analyst thinks last cycle was the floor:

Geoffrey Skelley, an analyst and spokesman for the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said off-cycle elections like the commonwealth’s gubernatorial race have seen a steady drop in voter participation since 1997. But he believes the roughly 40-percent turnout in 2009 was an aberration.

“I think we’ll see somewhere between the 2005 [45-percent] mark and 2009,” Skelley said. “One of the reasons turnout was that low last time was that it was a 17-point blowout. It looks like McAuliffe may win by 10 or more points by Election Day, but that’s not quite at the same level.”

And the Washington Post’s poll contended that turnout will favor the Democrats:

The poll finds McAuliffe with a substantial lead across a variety of high- and low-turnout scenarios. Among all registered voters, McAuliffe’s supporters are slightly more apt to say they are “absolutely certain” they will go to the polls than Cuccinelli’s.

Tags: Ken Cuccinelli , Terry McAuliffe , Virginia

Want to Win a Big Statewide Race? Don’t Get Outspent by $4 Million.



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From my article on the state of the Virginia governor’s race, Wednesday: “If you lose the spending war on the airwaves, you’re likely to lose on Election Day.”

New data:

Since the government shutdown, Democrat Terry McAuliffe has outspent Republican Ken Cuccinelli 2-to-1 on the airwaves.

In the last two weeks, pro-McAuliffe groups have doubled Cuccinelli and his allies $2.2 million to $1.1 million, according to an analysis by SMG Delta, which tracks broadcast, cable, and radio advertising for Republican campaigns. “We have been on the air. We have not run out of money,” said a top Cuccinelli strategist, who acknowledged, “But this much is true — we are getting outspent 2-1.”

Overall, the McAuliffe campaign and pro-McAuliffe groups have outspent Cuccinelli and his allies $12.5 million to $8.4 million on the air since the beginning of the campaign, per SMG Delta.

Some of the blame for this is on Cuccinelli, who told me earlier this year that he had always been outspent in his previous successful state legislative and state attorney-general campaigns, and that he was confident he could overcome the same advantage this year. Clearly, that confidence was misplaced. Some is on his campaign, which needed to realize how McAuliffe was ready to turn the campaign into a spending race as early as May and adjust accordingly. Some of the fault lies with the GOP’s big-time donors. And some of the blame falls on the grassroots, who frequently complain that the Republican party doesn’t nominate sufficiently conservative nominees, but who have failed to pull out all the stops on an undeniably conservative candidate in a state Republicans swept by large margins four years ago.

Tags: Terry McAuliffe , Ken Cuccinelli , Virginia

The Predictable Tone of the Post’s Virginia Editorials



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Ken Cuccinelli’s gubernatorial campaign is cheered by this coverage in today’s Washington Post:

The speeches [at the Virginia Summit on Economic Competitiveness and Higher Education] fed into the narrative that emerged from the TechPAC flap: that McAuliffe is breezy while Cuccinelli grasps the details and gravity of the job. Both candidates had 45 minutes to address the group. Cuccinelli gave a 39- minute address heavy on wonky details. McAuliffe gave his standard 16-minute stump speech.

Cuccinelli’s campaign sent out a release asking, “Has Terry McAuliffe lost the Washington Post?”

Let me help them with that: “No.”

I would love to be proven wrong, but the editorial board has torn apart Cuccinelli for the past four years, and detests him in a way few Republicans can match. We can predict what the Post’s endorsement editorial will say:

McAuliffe’s inability to discuss the details of his policies is troubling, as is his past characterization of the ease of electing a governor based upon the ability to distribute government contracts to supporters. But in his sensible support of sufficient funding for the state’s needs (read, tax increases) coupled with his sensible centrist position on social issues (read, never going to touch any restriction on abortion of any kind with a ten-foot pole) make him the clear choice for Virginia.

And if the Washington Post editorial board wants to endorse candidates based on a litmus test of higher taxes, higher spending, and abortion-on-demand, that’s their right. It would just be preferable if they were honest about it, and that they could admit that those issues rank higher in their criteria than say, ethics, or experience, or a genuine plan to ensure the state’s economic health, instead of seeing the state government as a giant prize bag to be used to reward donors . . . 

Tags: Terry McAuliffe , Ken Cuccinelli , Virginia

The Big Guy and the Little Guy in Virginia



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In Richard Wolffe’s new book about Obama’s reelection campaign, The Message: The Reselling of President Obama, he quotes David Axelrod on what he was hearing in focus groups in early 2011:

“When you hear people talk, you feel two things,” he said at the outset of his campaign. “When you think about the average middle-class American, what they feel is that above them they see people getting bailouts. Below them they see people getting handouts. And they feel that they are on their own. They feel they are working hard and they’re not getting a fair shake, and other people aren’t doing their fair share.”

This is not a new theme in American politics; a few pages earlier, Wolffe quotes Clinton’s convention speech in 1992: “Those who play by the rules and keep the faith have gotten the shaft, and those who cut corners and cut deals have been rewarded.”

It’s a resonant theme, and it’s unlikely that it’s any less powerful today than it was in 2011 or 1992 — the percentage of Americans in the workforce, 63.2 percent, is the lowest in 35 years. About 75 percent of the 1 million new jobs created this year are part-time. Wages have barely budged in the past five years. Meanwhile, corporate profits are up 42 percent from 2007, and the stock market has spent much of the year at new highs.

Times remain hard for a lot of people, and there are still plenty of vivid stories of greed, selfishness, arrogance, and unethical behavior at the highest levels:  “Too big to fail” banks that are bigger than before the crash. Bernie Madoff. The gobs of taxpayer money that went to Solyndra. Jesse Jackson Jr. spending his campaign money on expensive gifts for himself. The General Services Administration spending oodles on fancy conferences in Las Vegas. Tina Brown’s charity spending most of its money on parties. Finally, there’s Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, throwing away his political future for a bunch of expensive gifts from Jonnie Williams, the CEO of a nutritional supplement maker.

Here in Virginia, the site of the only competitive statewide race in 2013, there’s an extreme contrast between the two choices . . . and yet the polls suggest Virginians are about to choose the rich guy whose whole career has been built on connecting wealthy donors to politicians over the candidate who’s spent a good chunk of his life fighting for the littlest of guys.

Ken Cuccinelli can make a strong case that he’s done more for the “little guy” in this state and this country than Terry McAuliffe will ever do.

You don’t get a lot of credit for hiring a guy wrongfully convicted of rape to do clerical work in your office, to help him get back on his feet.

You don’t get a lot of credit for working in food banks and working with groups providing mental-health treatment for Richmond’s homeless, and then donating $100,000 to the group.

You don’t get a lot of credit for leading a protest and forcing the University of Virginia to hire a full-time coordinator to prevent and address sexual assault on campus. In fact, decades later, your opponent will run ads suggesting you hate women.

You don’t get a lot of credit for taking on your largest donor, Dominion Virginia Power, in court and limiting their ability to raise rates for consumers.

Cuccinelli is the “little guy” in this race. For the past eight years, Ken Cuccinelli has earned between $134,000 and $264,000 before taxes. That may seem like a lot, and it is a lot, to most people . . . but remember Cuccinelli has seven kids, and sends his older children to Catholic school.  (The Cuccinellis home-school their children through sixth grade.) He drives a minivan.

By contrast, McAuliffe earned $8.2 million in 2011, $1.8 million in 2010, and $6.5 million in 2009. His 7,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom, seven-and-a-half-bathroom house in McLean was purchased in 1992 for $1.1 million ($3.3 million today). He’s made his money through his own businesses and investments, when not serving as finance chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, finance chairman for the Dick Gephardt for President 1988 campaign, national finance chairman and then national co-chairman of the Clinton-Gore campaign, and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

As the New York Times noted, McAuliffe “usually conducted business at restaurants like the Palm and the Oval Room,” and he has his own regular table at Georgetown’s Café Milano. (Apparently in 2008, McAuliffe caused a scene at The Palm, declaring “at the top of his lungs: ‘No one does porn like me.’” ) In his autobiography, he declared, “Let me tell you, it’s a lot easier to raise money for a governor. They have all kinds of business to hand out, road contracts, construction jobs, you name it.”

Look, fellow Virginians, I understand the reticence about Cuccinelli. I doubt he or his campaign will be offended if I declare the man is not a whirling dervish of raw political charisma. He’s Joe Friday. If you needed a lawyer, you would want Ken Cuccinelli. If you wanted a fun neighbor down the street who would invite you to raucous parties with famous people, you would want Terry McAuliffe.

That, in a nutshell, is what drove Democratic strategist Dave “Mudcat” Saunders to announce he’ll be voting for Cuccinelli.

“I just can’t sit here anymore and watch this coin-operated government continue. Wouldn’t I be a hypocrite if I came to Richmond last year and jumped on Eric Cantor for it and then came back and supported Terry McAuliffe?”


Saunders said he and Cuccinelli agree “on matters of economic fairness” and share concerns about the middle class.



“I’ve just got to vote for my people,” rural people and urban people, Saunders said. “Our part of Virginia looks like Sherman went through it and didn’t burn anything. It’s due to these corporatist Washington policies.”

The choice doesn’t get much clearer, Virginia. 

Tags: Terry McAuliffe , Ken Cuccinelli , Barack Obama , Virginia

New Ad: Cuccinelli Launched the Investigation into McDonnell



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Perhaps it was inevitable that eventually, Republican Ken Cuccinelli would end up explicitly running against incumbent Republican governor Bob McDonnell.

Cuccinelli’s ad from last week had generic language that could be seen as a subtle shot at McDonnell’s controversy over accepting massive gifts and failing to disclose them:

Our tax code should encourage middle class families and small businesses, not reward the powerful and well-connected. Special interests shouldn’t get special treatment. As your governor, I’ll fight to make sure everybody has a fair shot.

The newest television ad from the Cuccinelli campaign is much more direct. A narrator declares, “Cuccinelli personally launched the investigation into Bob McDonnell and called for immediate reform to strengthen ethics laws.” The ad begins with a slam at McAuliffe’s GreenTech Automotive scandal, and notes Cuccinelli was cleared by the Democratic state’s attorney for Richmond on any wrongdoing in his own acceptance of gifts.

Tags: Ken Cuccinelli , Bob McDonnell , Terry McAuliffe , Virginia

It’s Hard to Take the Lead When You’re Outspent by $1.5 Million



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This isn’t all you need to know about the Quinnipiac poll showing Democrat Terry McAuliffe leading Republican Ken Cuccinelli by 6 percentage points in the Virginia governor’s race, but it’s a big piece of the puzzle: “McAuliffe and allies outspent Cuccinelli and his allies on TV ads by at least $1.5 million.”

What it suggests is that the coverage of McAuliffe’s scandals and his troubles at GreenTech Automotive hasn’t penetrated many voters, or they simply don’t care. Meanwhile, McAuliffe’s relentless attack ads aiming to Akin-ize Cuccinelli are working; McAuliffe leads among women by 50 percent to 38 percent, according to Quinnipiac.

And McAuliffe leads in cash on hand, $6 million to $2.7 million. There are 75 days until Election Day.

Some folks on the right are expressing skepticism of the party breakdown in Quinnipiac’s sample; Democrats have a seven-percentage-point advantage there. But after the Obama campaign successfully “changed the electorate” in 2012, driving up turnout among African-Americans, Hispanics, and young people, Republicans can’t be certain that this year’s turnout will echo the 2009 model, when self-identified Republicans were 37 percent of the electorate and self-identified Democrats only 33 percent.

More than a few conservatives asserted after Romney’s loss in 2012 that Republicans win when the party nominates genuine conservatives who aren’t afraid to take bold stands. So far, it appears they’re not putting their money where their mouth is.

Tags: Ken Cuccinelli , Terry McAuliffe , Virginia

Here’s the GreenTech Deal that the SEC Is Investigating



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Leading off the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Did GreenTech’s Contract With EB-5 Visa Applicants Violate the Law?

Let’s connect some dots, and see if we can figure out why GreenTech Automotive is in such hot water. Here’s what the SEC investigation of Terry McAuliffe’s electric-car company is about, in part:

An electric-car company co-founded by Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe (D) is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission over its conduct in soliciting foreign investors, according to law enforcement documents and company officials.

In May, the SEC subpoenaed documents from GreenTech Automotive and bank records from a sister company, Gulf Coast Funds Management of McLean. The investigation is focused, at least in part, on alleged claims that the company “guarantees returns” to the investors, according to government documents.

Here’s the GreenTech Automotive promissory note, as obtained and published by the Franklin Center’s Kenric Ward:

“GTA Shall Issue Individual Certificate To The Fund For The Benefit Of The Individual Investor A Unit Of Preferred Stock To Be Converted At The End Of The Five-Year Term To GTA’s Common Stock Market Value Of Five Hundred And Fifty-Five Thousand Dollars ($555,000). Alternatively, GTA Promises To Purchase back Its Preferred Stock Unit As A Way Of Reducing The Proportion Of Preferred Equity From The Individual Investor Named Herein ________________, In Case GTA Fails To Go Public Upon Five-Year Anniversary Of The Named Investor’s Investment In The Amount Of Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars (USD $500,000.00)

Meaning either the investor gets preferred stock worth $555,000, or GreenTech buys back its preferred stock for $500,000.

An EB-5 visa requires an investment of $500,000 . . . and investors were charged $55,000 as an administrative fee, according to the offering memorandum.

So the only potential loss to investors was the $55,000 administrative fee. As any EB-5 site will tell you, the investment from the EB-5 applicant must involve risk; otherwise it’s not really an investment. As one immigration lawyer put it, “The law requires the capital to be at risk, and case law forbids guaranteed redemption agreements — a certain price and a certain time. That’s not really an investment; it’s more like a loan.”

I’m not a Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer, but don’t GreenTech Automotive’s terms sound an awful lot like guaranteeing a return?

Tags: Terry McAuliffe , GreenTech Automotive , Virginia , Securities and Exchange Commission

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