Note from Dan: This is an email to the media that went out Wednesday afternoon from Chris LaCivita, a top architect of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s gubernatorial campaign. He titled it “The Cuccinelli Standard.” You may find something else more fitting — such as, “A Whiff of Desperation.” One thing LaCivita ignores, in arguing that Cuccinelli “steps forward” and knows “the right thing to do” are the long delays it takes Cuccinelli to realize he should do it. While doing it may be a admirable character attribute, failing to realize or acknowledge a course correction is necessary negates the attribute in certain respects. Especially when you don’t realize you did a “wrong thing” until you spot that problem in internal polls. Anyway, there’s a little bit of whining here plus seven paragraphs of attacks on Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe.
Yesterday, Ken Cuccinelli once again stepped forward. He did so despite having been fully cleared by a Democrat Commonwealth’s Attorney after an independent review. A review he voluntarily requested. No one asked Ken to do that. Nor did anyone ask Ken to come forward to the public after he found a few disclosure mistakes. Time and again, Ken has done these things because they were the right thing to do.
Yet for all of Ken’s efforts to focus on the core issues of this race – jobs, education, energy and workforce development – he continues to experience a significantly disproportionate amount of negative media scrutiny about various matters. The disparity in coverage between both candidates is particularly remarkable in light of the fact that Terry McAuliffe is embroiled in not one but two serious federal investigations. Just three weeks ago, The Washington Post reported that the company’s current president, Charles Wang, has been advised by lawyers not to talk to McAuliffe. If McAuliffe is not involved in the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation as he and his campaign have repeatedly said, then wouldn’t he be able to talk to Wang? Is that not a fair question? If so, why hasn’t he been pressed on it?
McAuliffe and his campaign have also said repeatedly that he has not at any point conferred with a lawyer regarding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or SEC investigations. Does anyone really believe Terry McAuliffe, who probably knows more lawyers than Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, didn’t pick up the phone and ask for legal advice considering the fact that the company he founded is now at the center of two federal inquiries?
And what about the tax returns? After Ken Cuccinelli released eight years of full tax returns a few brave media outlets called on McAuliffe to do the same. The former Democrat National Committee Chairman was able to put the issue to bed by releasing woefully inadequate tax summaries that only span three years. They don’t answer various compensation questions, including how much he was paid by GreenTech, which is currently embroiled in multiple federal investigations. It also doesn’t address whether McAuliffe received compensation from GreenTech’s parent company, which is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands – a known tax haven. Does anyone honestly believe that the same media outlets that repeatedly beat the drum for more disclosure from Mitt Romney last year aren’t showing clear bias when they allow Terry McAuliffe to skate by with hardly a mention or nary an inquiry?
We’re talking about Terry McAuliffe, whose life’s work is built on connecting powerful donors with the highest ranking elected officials in the country and then leveraging those donors to line his pockets. All the while, workers lose their jobs and savings. Yet he has the temerity to say “we’ve got to get this money out of politics” because he knows that many of his friends in the media won’t call him out. He’s willing to say absolutely anything to get elected and he is not being held to account.
These are just a few examples of the lingering questions that Terry McAuliffe has not been pressed on, but there are many, many more. For instance, Terry had no knowledge why his company didn’t pay taxes for the time period he was chairman? Doesn’t know why workers are accusing company officials of instructing them to pretend to construct cars to fool foreign investors? He doesn’t know anything about seeking special treatment for his company from the Obama Administration despite using his contacts to gain access to the White House?
The absurdities are so extreme, McAuliffe has yet to make an intellectually honest explanation about when he left GreenTech and why he lied to Virginians for months. And this doesn’t even begin to address the patently false statements made about Franklin Pellets or the multiple investigations be has been involved in, including by President Clinton’s Department of Labor.
Ken Cuccinelli, on the other hand, has held a multitude of public events, including more than a dozen free and open town hall meetings, and has bent over backwards to be open and transparent with the public. Even when voters primarily focus on economic or educational issues, some in the media are determined to report on anything and everything except substance, despite calling for a more constructive debate on the issues.
Ken Cuccinelli is being punished for his willingness to engage in an open and honest dialogue, while Terry McAuliffe is being rewarded for deceit and obfuscation. The disparity is not only a double standard; it’s a disservice to the voters of Virginia who have to make up their minds about the candidates on November 5th.
That leaves the fourth estate with a simple question: when will they hold Terry McAuliffe to the Ken Cuccinelli Standard?