New controversy in already sizzling Virginia campaign
(L) Terry McAuliffe (R) Ken Cuccinelli
August 5th, 2013
11:21 AM ET
9 years ago

New controversy in already sizzling Virginia campaign

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(CNN) - It looks like the heat's being turned up in a gubernatorial campaign that's already very hot.

The campaign of Virginia Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli said Monday that it's going up with a new TV commercial titled "scandal" that slams Democratic rival Terry McAuliffe over federal investigations of an electric car company that McAuliffe co-founded.

The spot, which uses local television news clips of reports of allegations against GreenTech, includes the announcer saying "It's time for Terry McAuliffe to tell us the truth."

The Cuccinelli campaign declined to share details on where the ad will run and how much money they are spending to run the commercial.

And the Republican Governors Association is putting out a new spot that attacks McAuliffe, saying "he's desperate to shift attention away from news of this federal investigation."

The spot ends with the announcer saying "Terry McAuliffe, you just can't trust him."

The RGA characterizes their ad buy as "significant."

McAuliffe issued a statement on Saturday saying he had no prior knowledge of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the company.

"I left GreenTech in early December of 2012 to focus full time on running for Governor. The first I learned of this investigation was earlier this week when the Washington Post reached out to my campaign. I have no knowledge of the investigation other than what I have read in the papers."

"If there are concerns as to whether procedures were properly followed, those concerns should be examined and I'm glad the company said it is cooperating fully," added McAuliffe.

The Washington Post reported last week, after reviewing documents obtained by federal investigators, that the SEC is looking into the way in which the car company and a sister firm, Gulf Coast Funds Management, encouraged the participation of foreign investors, including Chinese citizens trying to enter the U.S. Both firms have pledged to cooperate with the investigation.

GreenTech, with the help of Gulf Coast, used a program through the Department of Homeland Security that grants permanent residency to foreign investors who contribute a half million dollars or more for ventures that create American jobs in areas in the U.S. that are struggling through tough economic times.

Gulf Coast is run by Anthony Rodham, brother of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. It's a further connection between McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee who made an unsuccessful previous bid for Virginia governor in 2009, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. McAuliffe is a close adviser and fundraiser to the Clintons and some political pundits see his bid for Virginia governor as a campaign training ground for a possible second run for the White House in 2016 for Hillary Clinton.

Virginia and New Jersey are the only two states to hold elections for governor in the year after a presidential contest, resulting in outsized attention. And with the Garden State's Republican governor, Chris Christie, holding a huge lead over his Democratic challenger in his re-election bid (and the Democrats expected to win the special Senate election in New Jersey scheduled for October), the Virginia race is considered the only competitive statewide contest this year.

The campaign has long been heated, with Cuccinelli and Republicans portraying the New York born McAuliffe as carpetbagger. And they've attacked McAuliffe for basing a GreenTech electric car start up plant in Mississippi rather than Virginia.

The McAuliffe campaign and Democrats have characterized Cuccinelli's views on social issues and science as too extreme for mainstream Virginia voters, and remind voters of Cuccinelli's connections and gifts from a political donor at the center of a gifts scandal hovering over the state's current governor, Republican Bob McDonnell.

Recently a state investigation indicated the attorney general would not face charges for the failure to report the gifts, adding that there was no evidence Cuccinelli committed a crime.

Polls indicate the race for governor remains tight. There were two non-partisan live operator surveys conducted last month, with one indicating McAuliffe with a four point margin and the other giving Cuccinelli a six point advantage. Both had high levels of undecided voters.

Filed under: Ken Cuccinelli • Terry McAuliffe • Virginia
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. just askin

    let's see... democrats and liberals pushing for all of these green companies getting government money and look at who is running all of them? democrats and liberals! they go belly up, the taxpayer takes the hit. how convenient.

    and this bs about selling permanent residency for half a million dollars is ridiculous. is this the cost to get foreign spies into the usa now? aren't there enough rich people here already? or have we chased them all away or taxed them so much they have fled to other countries?

    August 5, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  2. PaulCat

    I know this isn't a republican saying "tell us the truth"
    ......and which governor said he would never sign an abortion bill?
    ......and let's not forget about the governor of Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida just to name a few .
    ......republicans will say whatever you want to hear until they are elected.
    .......and now they want to use the words "tell us the truth."

    August 5, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein

    Neither is a saint, but where is the indication that McAuliffe had any connection to this other than working at the company? Just because he was in charge (was he really?) doesn't mean that he knew everything in detail. Has he been named by the SEC or FBI as a part of the investigation? The old "guilt by association" charge is always fun to waive around.

    August 5, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  4. penguin

    The Republican's only hope is to convince people to not vote for the Democrat because the Republicans have nothing to offer

    August 5, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    I think the real story here is that you purchase permanent residency for half a million dollars.

    August 5, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. ghostwriter

    Just askin'....are you aware of Paul Ryan's successful attempts to get stimulus money from the very same program you mention for some of his donors to start up an energy company? It was a highlight of the VP debate last year.

    August 5, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. just sayin

    S.B. Stein
    Neither is a saint, but where is the indication that McAuliffe had any connection to this other than working at the company? Just because he was in charge (was he really?) doesn't mean that he knew everything in detail. Has he been named by the SEC or FBI as a part of the investigation? The old "guilt by association" charge is always fun to waive around.

    democrats do it all the time. they file bogus ethics complaints then attack the person because there are ethics complaints/invetsigations. it is the usual democrat campaign deceit. btw, if mcauliffe was in charge of the company, the buck stops with him. i know this is a very foreign concept to liberals that think they can just keep saying, i wasn't there, i don't know, i waasn't aware of it, i was home doing laundry, the dog ate my homework, ....

    August 5, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. morrie

    If Virginia hires Cuccinili they are in for a rough ride. The first thing he will do is pounce on women's reproductive rights. He will make sure the people have a right to work for low wages so he can get rid of the unions. Republicans have already convinced these poor people that they should not want to have a union because the union wont give them the right to work. Good luck with Govenor Cuccinilli.

    August 5, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. Bill

    The election will be decided in northern Virginia and the Cooch will have a hard time convincing folks there to vote for his extrememist agenda. Botton line, McAuliffe will win.

    August 5, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  10. Ron L

    FIRST, everyone should wait and see what is discovered. From what I read it does not sound like someone broke the law, more like someone using their status or friends status to get something pushed through a agency. After the IRS scandal, and the Benghizi scandal (which to me a WAY over blown) lets just cool the jets and see what happens next.

    August 5, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |