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Cuccinelli’s Trust Problem

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From the McAuliffe for Governor campaign: 

To: Interested Parties



From: Josh Schwerin, Press Secretary for McAuliffe for Governor



Memo: Cuccinelli’s Trust Problem
Date: September 8, 2013

 
“One thing that even my staunchest opponents will concede is that I am a straight shooter, and I am a man of my word. And when this race is over, I will still be able to say that.” – Ken Cuccinelli, 3/14/13 CPAC Remarks

Ken Cuccinelli has a trust problem.  After premising his campaign on the idea that he was a straight shooter, Cuccinelli has seen scandal after scandal and an increasingly false and negative campaign destroy his credibility as a messenger.  This progression was capped off this week when it was revealed the Cuccinelli campaign had tricked people into appearing in his false and misleading attack ad. Unfortunately for Cuccinelli, this is hardly the first time that his inability to play by the rules has come into play in this election.

Star Scientific

By now we all know about Ken Cuccinelli’s involvement with Star Scientific and it’s CEO Jonnie Williams.  Virginia voters have heard about Cuccinelli’s role in the scandal in more than 400 broadcast news stories across the state.  Here’s a small sampling of what editorial boards have had to say:

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial: “Cuccinelli has now withdrawn from the case and brought in outside counsel to handle it. Yet he did not do so until after the relationship was revealed and considerable public pressure was brought to bear.” 

News Leader Editorial: “Cuccinelli managed to get mixed up in the Star Scientific gift scandal that has embroiled McDonnell in legal trouble. Another $53,000 in state money down the drain, all to provide lawyers to do what Cuccinelli couldn't do because of his conflict of interest.”

Virginian-Pilot Editorial: “Troy represented the governor – at a cost to taxpayers of $54,000 over five weeks – because current Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli had no choice but to recuse himself. Cuccinelli, now running to succeed McDonnell, has himself accepted $18,000 in gifts from Williams, including a vacation that the attorney general solicited and neglected to report. Predictably, Cuccinelli's campaign has been frantically attempting to deflect any suggestion that he acted inappropriately by attacking Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe, a naked effort to distract voters from examining Cuccinelli's relationship with Williams.”

Gas Royalties Scandal

Ever since a federal judge wrote that she was shocked that Ken Cuccinelli’s office was helping out-of-state energy companies, one of which had given him more than $100,000, in their fight against Southwest Virginia landowners, Cuccinelli has been grasping at straws to excuse his office's conduct.  That has not gone over well with Virginia’s editorial boards:

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial: Cuccinelli’s excuse is “hard to swallow.”

Bristol Herald-Courier Editorial: “Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has insisted that his office has played a limited and necessary role by intervening in a federal lawsuit over natural gas royalties in Southwest Virginia. But the Bristol Herald-Courier reported Wednesday that Cuccinelli’s office opposed a property owners’ motion to obtain the emails between an assistant attorney general and lawyers from EQT Production Co. and CNX. Many were sent months after a senior judge ruled on the constitutional challenge that was the basis of the state’s interest.”

Virginian-Pilot Editorial: “The level of involvement by Cuccinelli’s office in the current case is clearly inappropriate. It is, perhaps, eclipsed only by Cuccinelli’s explanation, which is itself worthy of rejection. In the strongest possible terms.” 

Washington Post Editorial:  ”‘Shockingly’ was the word employed by the judge. But, given Mr. Cuccinelli’s track record in office, it was not entirely unexpected.”

Trouble with the Truth

One of Ken Cuccinelli’s latest ads is called “Facts” but here’s what fact checkers had to say about it:

  • Politifact: “we rate his ad claim False.” 
  • Factcheck.org: “deceitful,” “not true,” “another claim without a factual foundation,” “bends reality 180 degrees.”

Cuccinelli has also tried to say his personhood legislation didn’t make contraception illegal (3 Pinnochios from the Washington Post) and conformed to the constitution (False from Politifact)

Cuccinelli was called out for lying in his attacks on Terry regarding the Lincoln Bedroomright-to-work, and not rolling out any policies.

The Result

After starting the race claiming to be a straight shooter, Ken Cuccinelli will now leave office and be remembered as one of the most scandal-plagued Attorney General's in Virginia history, a man “possessing a rigorous intellect with which he rationalizes an ethical blind spot.”