Corruption in Virginia, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe should be in a lot of trouble for bribing state senator, bribe caught on tape
1) Republicans offer a Democratic State Senator a job. Now it is true that the Democrat has to resign his seat to take the job and that his resigning will give the Republicans control of the state Senate, but there is no explicit quid pro quo.
2) Democrats promise the that same Democratic State Senator a job for his daughter if he remains in office. That is a definite quid pro quo and against the law -- it is a crime. To put it simply it is a bribe. More specifically, the bribe was being offered to get a particular piece of legislation through.
Now prosecutors have been looking diligently into the first case, even though the now former Democratic State Senator claims that there was no quid pro quo. Now the state Attorney General is a Democrat and prosecutors have not yet launched an investigation in to Terry McAuliffe, but the evidence here seems overwhelming simply because there is a recording of the McAuliffe's chief of staff offering the bribe. The Washington Post has this transcript (the part in bold is the key):
“Hey Senator. This is Paul Reagan again. I just wanted to bounce one idea off you. I know there was a lot of frustration with your daughter, not, you know, getting a judgeship or something. if there’s something that we can do for her, I mean, you know, we have a couple of big agencies here that we still need agency heads. We could potentially, potentially, subject to approval of the governor and so forth, you know, the department of mines, minerals and energy could be available. So we would be very eager to accommodate her, if, if that would be helpful in keeping you in the senate. We, we would basically do anything. 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. So anyway, please let’s keep all this confidential. Call me 703-850-----. Thank you sir. Bye.”Now the obvious point is this: Who could have turned the audio over to the Washington Post? It seems that the only person who was likely to do that is the former DEMOCRAT state senator.
Here is the problem for McAuliffe. His press spokesman noted: "Coy indicated that McAuliffe had no objections to it and suggested that the prospective job offer Reagan floated was not on par with what Republicans are accused of promising Puckett. 'The governor has full confidence in Paul Reagan,' Coy said." Paul Reagan is McAuliffe's chief of staff so it is also hard to put much distance between the two of them.
It is pretty hilarious to listen to some Democrats suggest a defense for the Democrats (from the Washington Post): “Certainly based on prior cases, an offer of a job would be a thing of value. But would it be a thing of value to Puckett if the job is being offered to his daughter? That’s not clear cut.” Does anyone who reads the above transcript not believe this is a bribe? Read it again: "So we would be very eager to accommodate her, if, if that would be helpful in keeping you in the senate. We, we would basically do anything. 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." Does anyone think that it wasn't clear that something of value to the state senator was being offered?
Will national media cover this? When McDonald got in trouble it instantly got major national attention. McDonald was convicted on less evidence than this. Jason Riley has a write up about this in the WSJ, but there are relatively few stories on all this.