The Gillespie campaign is wisely making the most of Mark Warner’s corrupt errand in service of Obamacare. [read_more]
A quick refresher for those not paying attention:
Back in June, when the leadership of the General Assembly reached agreement with the Governor to pass a so-called clean budget (i.e., one with the provision buried in it that Gov. McAuliffe was relying on to expand Medicaid on his own), thus ending the fake standoff over the budget, Mark Warner was enlisted by McAuliffe’s staff to help protect that Medicaid deal by keeping Democrat state senator Phil Puckett from resigning.
What errand did the Governor, via his chief of staff Paul Reagan, give Mark Warner? Warner was tasked with scratching Sen. Puckett’s itch with respect to a judgeship for his daughter, Martha Puckett Ketron. You see, because of the Virginia Senate’s anti-nepotism rules, Ketron could not be appointed to a Virginia judgeship while he served in the Senate, so he planned to resign directly ahead of when judicial appointments would have been considered, on the understanding that his daughter would get an appointment after he was no longer in the Senate.
That’s why Warner discussed with Puckett and his son a lifetime federal judicial appointment for Ketron, among other potential lucrative gigs Warner could arrange for her. This was likely part of the effort of the Governor’s office, detailed in a leaked transcript of a voicemail left by them with Senator Puckett:
“We just need you really, we need you for the rest of your term and beyond, but in the immediate future, we need you to help us get this Medicaid deal through and I think we’ve got a way to do it.”
Not having gotten through to Puckett on the appeal to his desire to protect the Medicaid expansion deal, the McAuliffe team dispatched Warner to do what he could to remove Puckett’s incentive to resign.
When this story broke, Warner refused to address his ethically-challenged behavior beyond saying that the discussion with the Puckett’s was merely “brainstorming” session. As we wrote at the time, that’s not brainstorming. That’s #BRIBESTORMING: laying out a buffet-table of corruption from which Puckett could choose to convince him to remain in the Senate.
Now, when the public is finally paying close attention and are demanding answers, Warner is betting that he can keep his head down long enough to squeak into re-election. He continues to refuse to take questions from the press, and to generally let his millions of dollars of TV advertising do all his talking for him. Luckily for all of us, Ed Gillespie has his own millions to make sure we hear about it:
As we enter the homestretch final week of the campaign, it’s time for the press to do their jobs and DEMAND that Mark Warner provide the voters answers about his conduct. This is what a free press is supposed to do, instead of being complicit in the cover-up. It shouldn’t be up to Ed Gillespie and his donors to expose this, and to tell the voters the details of an obvious instance of public corruption. Reporters: do your jobs, please.