McAuliffe Chief of Staff Caught On Tape Making Political Job Offer

A recording has surfaced demonstrating that Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s chief of staff, Paul Reagan extended a prospective job offer to a Democrat preparing to quit the General Assembly in June, “saying that the senator’s daughter might get a top state job if he stayed to support the governor’s push to expand Medicaid…”

That, according to “descriptions from three people who heard the recording”.

Then-Sen. Phillip P. Puckett wound up resigning, flipping control of the chamber to Republicans and thwarting McAuliffe’s signature goal of expanding health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

It matters particularly as Democrats claim Puckett left due to a job offer from Republicans.

The governor’s spokesman initially denied Thursday that Reagan had made any potential job offers, but he later acknowledged that the call had been made after he was read a transcript of Reagan’s message given to The Washington Post.

Democrats have been busy trying to smear Republicans over ethics issues in the wake of the Bob McDonnell scandal. That effort may lose steam as voters realize ethics problems are more of a bi-partisan affair in Richmond than Democrats would like them to know.

The phrase “a plague on both your houses” comes to mind. 

According to the people who heard the recording, Reagan suggested that the governor could make a top agency appointment available to Puckett’s daughter, Martha Puckett Ketron, who had been seeking a District Court judgeship. Under Senate anti-nepotism rules, she could not be appointed to the bench while her father served. She has been doing the job on a temporary basis, and it is unclear whether she will get the permanent appointment.

“I know there was a lot of frustration with your daughter, not, you know, getting a judgeship or something,” Reagan said, according to the transcript provided to The Post. “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.”

Coy said the governor was not aware of Reagan’s message until Thursday, “shortly after you [The Post] called for comment.” But 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.

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