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Warren Fiske
By Warren Fiske June 27, 2016

Bryce Reeves falsely says Terry McAuliffe has stated his desire to be in Clinton's cabinet

State Sen. Bryce Reeves is out to prove that Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s restoration of voting rights to more than 200,000 felons who served their time is a ploy to help Democrat Hillary Clinton win the presidency this fall.

On June 17, Reeves filed a request under the Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act for all communications between the governor’s office and Clinton’s campaign. In a news release that day, the senator said that McAuliffe’s restoration order was "motivated by his attempt to help Hillary Clinton win Virginia in the fall."

Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, elaborated during a June 19 interview on NewsRadio WINA in Charlottesville.

"Certainly, he’s looking out for his own skin," Reeves said of McAuliffe. "It goes without saying that he’s made several statements that he would love to be in a Cabinet secretary position with the Clinton administration, and we’re trying to uncover that. We’re going to get to the bottom of this. One way or another, we’re going to find out what’s going on."

No doubt McAuliffe, a Democrat, is a longtime close friend and key fundraiser for Clinton and, should she win, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him working for the White House in some capacity.

But we hadn’t heard the governor say once - let alone "several" times - that he’s aiming for a Cabinet seat. On the other hand, we have heard the governor promise to serve out his term, ending in January 2018. And during a June 3 interview on radio station WURV (103.7 FM) in Richmond, McAuliffe questioned whether his "temperament is right to be sitting in a Cabinet" and said he’s "never worked for someone else in his life."

So we asked Reeves for evidence that McAuliffe has stated his ambition to be in Clinton’s Cabinet.

Bill Clinton

Reeves, in an email, pointed to a story McAuliffe told in his 2007 autobiography, "What a Party!" McAuliffe devoted a large part of the book to talking about his friendship and fundraising feats for another Clinton - former President Bill Clinton.

McAuliffe wrote that during a 1 a.m. game of cards with the Clintons at the White House in May 1999, the president mentioned that Secretary of Commerce Bill Daley would be resigning. Dorothy McAuliffe said her husband would be a good replacement, and both Clintons agreed.

"I was excited driving home that night with Dorothy thinking about being in Bill Clinton’s cabinet as secretary of commerce, and was especially pleased by the prospect of not raising money any more," McAuliffe wrote.

But the appointment was scrubbed the next morning. McAuliffe wrote that John Podesta, the White House chief of staff, told him it would be hard to win congressional approval of a Cabinet nominee who had such close political ties to the president.

McAuliffe wrote that Bill Clinton instead was willing to name him to be ambassador to the United Kingdom - a job he also would "love" to land. But at the request of then-Vice President Al Gore, McAuliffe wrote that he instead agreed to become chairman of the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.

Hillary Clinton

Reeves never mentioned Bill Clinton during the radio interview. But he and radio host Rob Schilling named Hillary Clinton five times during the six-minute chat and referred to her campaign three more times. And, of course, Reeves said the goal of his FOIA request is to uncover what he claims is a political deal between McAuliffe and Hillary Clinton.

So what evidence does Reeves offer that McAuliffe has said he would love to be in Hillary Clinton’s Cabinet? The senator points to:

•Five articles from newspapers and electronic publications about McAuliffe’s intentions to help Clinton’s campaign. None of them mention a Cabinet position.

•A partial transcript of a March 31 radio interview on WVMP in Roanoke during which McAuliffe talks about his friendship with Hillary Clinton and says, if she’s elected, "I’m going to try to convince her that everything should go to Virginia." No mention of an administration post.

•An April 22 article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on McAuliffe’s announcement of the blanket restoration of voting rights for felons. Reeves points to a disapproving quote by House Speaker Bill Howell, R-Stafford, who said McAuliffe views the governorship "as a stepping stone to a job in Hillary Clinton’s Cabinet."

We searched the archives of four newspapers - The Times-Dispatch, The Washington Post, The Virginian-Pilot and the Daily Press -- from the start of McAuliffe’s term in January 2014 to present. We didn’t find a single article in which the governor said he wanted a Cabinet post, or any White House position, should Hillary Clinton become president.

Our ruling

Reeves says McAuliffe "has made several statements that he would love to be in a Cabinet secretary position with the Clinton administration."

We wouldn’t be surprised to see McAuliffe wind up in the White House if Hillary Clinton becomes president. The two are longtime friends and political allies. Perhaps they’ve had private conversations about this.

But Reeves says the governor is pining for a position and uses that statement as the basis of an attack: that McAuliffe has restored voting rights to more than 200,000 felons as part of an agreement to help Clinton win the presidency and to receive a Cabinet seat in return.

There’s a burden on Reeves to provide evidence that McAuliffe is seeking a Cabinet seat, and he comes up empty. We rate his statement False.

Our Sources

State Sen. Bryce Reeves, Interview on WINA Radio, June 19, 2016 (4:45 mark on audio).

Email from Reeves, June 21, 2016.

Reeves, "Sen. Bryce Reeves files FOIA request to Gov. McAuliffe,"June 17, 2016.

Terry McAuliffe, "What a Party!" published 2007 ( pages 219-221).

Politico, "Terry McAuliffe’s other jobs," June 26, 2015.

The Washington Post, "Va. governor pulls out all the stops in largely symbolic Senate battle," Nov. 1, 2015.

The Huffington Post, "Who the super delegates are and why they will not switch to Sanders," May 19, 2016.

The Atlantic, "Why Hillary Clinton still needs Terry McAuliffe," June 24, 2015.

Richmond Times-Dispatch, "McAuliffe stumping for Hillary Clinton in N.H. this weekend," Jan. 15, 2016.

Richmond Times-Dispatch, "McAuliffe restores voting rights for 206K ex-felons," April 22, 2016.

The Free Lance-Star, "Reeves seeks correspondence on voting rights between McAuliffe’s office, Clinton campaign," June 17, 2016.

The Daily Press, "McAuliffe not intending to leave office for Cabinet post," June 4, 2016.

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