Breaking: AP: McAuliffe lied to federal investigator in fraud case; Update: Did the AP blow it? Update: AP retracts story

posted at 10:38 pm on October 9, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Update 11 pm ET: Looking at the court document, McAuliffe’s denial looks … reasonable:

On or about April 20, 2010, the Postal Inspector met with T.M. and asked if a $2,000 check he received from CARAMADRE was a payment for referring a terminally ill individual to CARAMADRE. T.M. intentionally lied to the Postal Inspector, telling him that the check was not a payment for referring a terminally-ill individual to CARAMADRE, but rather was a payment for construction work that T.M. had performed in CARAMADRE’s house.

Was McAuliffe doing home construction in 2010? Doubtful.  This looks like a huge screw-up at the Associated Press.

Update, 11:10: AP story at the Washington Post has not yet been amended or retracted. Also, updated the headline.

Update: WTOP reports that the AP has retracted the story:

What a huge faceplant for the Associated Press.

Also, re-read the Cuccinelli statement again. I think they knew the AP had screwed up, and made sure they stuck to the facts of the McAuliffe investment alone. They may end up being the smartest players in this tonight, but they’re not going to get much traction on this now.  The story will be about the AP.

Update, 11:45: The only Twitter feed that hasn’t yet commented on the AP’s retraction of the story is … @AP. I think it’s time to break out Otter as the AP’s unofficial spokesman (NSFW):

Original post and updates follow …

====

With less than four weeks to go in the Virginia gubernatorial race, Terry McAuliffe appeared to be coasting to victory. Until now, that is:

 Documents in a federal fraud case allege that Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe lied to a federal official investigating a Rhode Island estate planner now imprisoned for receiving death benefits on annuities secured on terminally ill people without their knowledge.

A 2011 fraud, conspiracy and identity theft indictment against Joseph Caramadre and an aide, Raymour Radhakrishnan, also alleges that McAuliffe misled a federal postal inspector who was inquiring about a $2,000 check Caramadre had sent him.

Normally in an October surprise like this, one would suspect dirty tricks by the opposing campaign.  That doesn’t appear to be the case here, though.  This isn’t an old report uncovered in oppo research, but a new filing in a federal court.  McAuliffe’s name only got linked to the Caramadre case today.  Ken Cuccinelli is the current AG of Virginia, but there isn’t any apparent connection between the state AG’s office and a federal investigation in Rhode Island, at least not at the moment.

So at least for the moment, this looks like a very big and unspinnable problem for Team McAuliffe, and not just in the campaign.  Lying to federal investigators is obstruction of justice, which is a very significant felony — as Scooter Libby can attest.  McAuliffe is presumed innocent until proven guilty, but that’s only in the legal sense, not the political sense.

Unless McAuliffe has a really good explanation for this, Cuccinelli may be the luckiest man in politics this year — and Democrats may be looking through the Virginia election code to get all their options ready.  It’s difficult to imagine someone staying in a gubernatorial race with this on the public record.

Update: The Cuccinelli campaign has a statement out:

“There is no question that this is a deeply troubling story, and what it reveals most of all is yet another glaring example of Terry McAuliffe doing business with highly dubious individuals. We’ve seen this movie before. Any minute, Terry McAuliffe will release a statement claiming ignorance of details. He will say that he was just an innocent investor, just as he was when he made millions of dollars just before Global Crossing went belly up and employees lost their jobs and life savings. He will claim no knowledge or responsibility for what happened, just like he said about critical investor documents—now the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation—when he was the chairman of GreenTech Automotive. In this case, as with all of the others, McAuliffe will say, ‘it wasn’t me.’

“Is this the kind of leader Virginians want to be their chief executive? A person who always seems to be involved with individuals, businesses and investments that are almost always tied up in wrongdoing, whether legally or ethically? A person who seems to always make excuses and avoids responsibility? It’s becoming clearer by the day why Terry McAuliffe has steadfastly refused to release his tax returns to the public. This is not the kind of behavior or judgment worthy of Virginia’s highest office.”

McAuliffe acknowledges being one of the investors, but says he has no knowledge of the fraud:

McAuliffe’s campaign was quick to distance the candidate from the report. They claim that while he had invested in the annuities he knew nothing about Caramdre’s fraudulent activity.

“Terry was one of hundreds of passive investors several years ago and had no idea about the allegations against the defendant – who, at the time, was widely respected by business leaders and elected officials,” said spokesman Josh Schwerin. “The allegations are horrible and he never would have invested if he knew he was being deceived.”

Schwerin said that McAuliffe and his campaign would donate the equivalent of the campaign donations from Camardre to the American Cancer Society. $27 thousand from the campaign. $47 thousand from the candidate himself.  The $27 thousand was to return campaign contributions. The $47 thousand was for the investment into Caramadre’s business venture.

I don’t think that’s going to help.

Update: McAuliffe’s team also denies that he’s the one who lied to investigators:

 They contend that the “T.M” in the court document is not the candidate.

“The person referenced on page 68 is absolutely not Terry McAuliffe since he was a passive investor and did none of the things referenced: First, he was not interviewed by law enforcement on April 20, 2010; rather, he was in Richmond for a day of meetings,” said Schwerin. “Second, he was never involved in the referral of any annuitants to Mr. Caramadre, ever.

“When an investigator contacted Terry briefly by phone, as he said he was doing with other investors, Terry answered a few questions and never heard from him again.”

We’ll see — but Republicans also point out that McAuliffe certainly waited a long time to divest themselves of Caramadre’s contributions.


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**cough** Green Tech Automotive **cough**

kingsjester on October 10, 2013 at 7:09 AM

What the HANG is going on, down in Virginia ?

Aren’t there any contemporary “Patrick Henrys” around ?

listens2glenn on October 10, 2013 at 1:06 AM

Not in the GOP.

Cuccinelli started burning bridges to have the State GOP use the convention to nominate a candidate and not the Primary system. That reeks: if his credentials are good enough and he is a good campaigner, then he should have been able to easily win a Primary going away.

We’ve also got a local D for delegate who only has as his campaign: USAF experience flying a desk and the ‘War on Wimmins!’

The amount of money the National D party is throwing into VA is amazing as both Pirate Supporting McAuliff and this other bozo of the smile and not willing to tell you what he wants to do are getting lots of air time with commercials. Especially at the delegate level: no candidate I’ve ever seen for local delegate can get enough cash to saturate commercial time with no record and not saying what he wants to do.

It is just defensive reaction to contribute to both of the GOP campaigns, but they are being outmanuevered on air and not doing a better job of responding and saying what their record actually is. The only factors in favor of the GOP are low turnouts for State and local elections, and a public distrustful of big time spenders.

If the GOP has decided on suicide in VA they could not have done a better job of it. And it is all coming from the top, not the bottom of the party and it shows you just how bad that top really is that they could screw up things in VA to this extent.

ajacksonian on October 10, 2013 at 7:14 AM

Whatever the case. This comment remains true.

Send him packing good people of Va!

Bmore on October 9, 2013 at 10:58 PM

Bmore on October 10, 2013 at 7:53 AM

I’m not sure this will matter. Virginia is too blue in NoVa.

I know. I live here. They’re all crazy and they all vote.

Washington Nearsider on October 9, 2013 at 10:45 PM

So do I, which is why I have moved my family further west in NOVA. Seriously, those idiots inside the beltway elect Jim Moron and Gerry Connoly. Right there proves dem voters don’t care about ethics. At least I am represented by Frank Wolf.

RandallinHerndon on October 10, 2013 at 8:13 AM

C’mon ..

Hey the first story sounds the most believable…

Let’s stick with that one…

Squirming dems is fun to watch anyways

BigSven on October 10, 2013 at 8:24 AM

From what I’ve read, he has actually run a pretty good campaign.

At least he has talked about the issues. All TM has done is run ads about woman’s health care being taken away.

Barred on October 9, 2013 at 11:07 PM

I get political junk mail every other day from TM, ……. or is it Terry Mcauliffe, ……. or Terry McAuliffe, ……. I’m confused. Got one yesterday from ole TM claiming that Cuccinelli would ensure that guns make it into the hands of those who shouldn’t have them. This from the campaign of a sh!tbag directly tied to an African gun-runner. Thanks you dumb liberal sh!ts in NOVA.

If you think the current non-scandal involving Gov. McDonnell and Star Scientific is bad, I guarantee you, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

RandallinHerndon on October 10, 2013 at 8:26 AM

As if this matters to dems…

right2bright on October 10, 2013 at 8:28 AM

but good ol’ Terry always walks away unscathed.

Adjoran on October 10, 2013 at 2:03 AM

let’s not forget his pockets lined with millions of dollars.

RandallinHerndon on October 10, 2013 at 8:38 AM

“Green Tech Automotive”

GTA

aka: “Grand Theft Auto”

Not an accident…….and I can easily picture the “Punk” wearing a hoodie with his chum buddies laughing about it…..really not much of a stretch…….

RealMc on October 10, 2013 at 8:52 AM

It’s not like any of this matters – Virginians simply can’t wait to vote for anti-coal McAuliffe.

Pork-Chop on October 10, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Isn’t it all about the seriousness of the charge with lefties?

Kissmygrits on October 10, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Why didn’t AP just print a headline that says

Terry McAuliffe Lies??

They would never have to retract that story.

ToddPA on October 10, 2013 at 10:33 AM

If only the GOP have a good candidate. This Tea Party candidate are only good to help elect bad democrats.

Falz on October 10, 2013 at 12:08 PM

A leader of fraud perfect Democrat should bring him some moderate RINO’s too if he will just let them in on the take.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 10, 2013 at 12:32 PM

So, what are the facts on this global warming CO2 EPA commie Democrat tax and spend fraud.

http://www.wattsupwiththat.com/

just a finger tip away, yet,,, ???

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 10, 2013 at 12:34 PM

No, No, a Democrat in a lie and in bed with crooks who steal our tax money,,, say it ani’t so….

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 10, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Comment pages: 1 2