I'll be on WRIC-8 tonight, probably at 6pm, discussing this bombshell:
Back when Phil Puckett was holding the fate of the State Senate, plus Medicaid reform, in his hands, the Governor's office apparently jumped into the bidding.
A quick recap: Puckett was a Democratic State Senator in a Republican-leaning district, with Dems holding a razor thin margin. Puckett resigned abruptly, throwing the Senate to the GOP, right before key action on the Governor's prized Medicaid reform. We quickly learned that Puckett was allegedly promised a plum state job, plus a clear path for his daughter's appointment to a judgeship. (Senate rules discourage giving appointments to family members of sitting members.)
And now last night's news from the WaPo: McAuliffe's Chief of Staff, Paul Reagan, called Puckett before he resigned and offered his daughter the moon. According to the transcript, Reagan left this subtle and coded voicemail:
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.
OK, maybe not so subtle and coded.
So this is not good for the Governor. As I told WRIC reporter Mark Tenia, it's hard to have credibility on ethics reform if you're playing the same game as everyone else. And while state ethics laws are a bad joke, the McDonnell trial has shown that the feds are paying close attention, and they're already investigating the Puckett affair.
If this keeps up, we'll be moving up this list in no time.