PolitiFact Rates McAuliffe Claim: 'Pants on Fire'

PolitiFact Rates McAuliffe Claim: 'Pants on Fire'

PolitiFact, the left-leaning fact-checking organization, said Virginia gubernatorial candidate, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, made “hyperbolic” and false statements during last Saturday’s debate when he alleged that an independent prosecutor had concluded that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate, should be prosecuted on ethics charges.

“There is nothing in the report that remotely supports McAuliffe’s claim. To the contrary, the report concludes Cuccinelli did not violate any laws,” PolitiFact concluded. “McAuliffe’s hyperbolic statement is not only wrong, it defies any reasonable reading of the report. We rate his comment Pants on Fire.”

At last Saturday’s gubernatorial debate, McAuliffe alleged that a special prosecutor wrote in his report that Cuccinelli should be prosecuted for failing to disclose some benefits he received from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. Cuccinelli has said his failure to disclose the benefits was an oversight, and the special prosecutor agreed.

“If you read the report, which I have done, it says the attorney general should have been prosecuted,” McAuliffe said at the debate. 

Cuccinelli immediately called McAuliffe out on the false charges.

After he was briefed for 15 minutes by his handlers after the debate, McAuliffe, when pressed on his statement, said, “Well, that’s my analysis of the report.”

As PolitiFact noted, though, the nine-page report released on July 18 said, “our investigation finds no evidence” that Cuccinelli “violated any laws or intentionally failed to disclose the gifts.” The report, according to PolitiFact, did not even mention the word “prosecute,” and it offered “no opinion on the strength or weakness of the state’s disclosure laws.”