By William Callahan
The campaign for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe released another advertisement Tuesday criticizing Republican opponent Ken Cuccinelli over his office’s role in an ongoing investigation over natural gas royalties.
Virginia’s inspector general is looking into the office after a staffer supposedly gave advice to two Pennsylvania energy companies embroiled in a lawsuit with Southwest Virginians who say the companies have withheld royalties after mining on their land.
The ad, titled “Landowners,” attempts to discredit the GOP’s recent offensive against McAuliffe over a federal investigation into the Democrat’s former car company, GreenTech Automotive, and its investment practices.
“Ken Cuccinelli’s attacks on Terry McAuliffe twist the facts, and have been called false and ridiculous,” says the narrator in the spot. “The truth is, it’s Cuccinelli who has an ethics problem.
“Cuccinelli’s office is now under investigation by the Inspector General of Virginia for secretly helping an energy company that’s taking gas from landowners, but refusing to pay them.”
Like a similar ad sponsored by Democrats in July, Wednesday’s spot also questions why one of the companies in the lawsuit donated $100,000 to Cuccinelli’s campaign for governor.
Cuccinelli has said his office followed protocol and did nothing wrong.
Furthermore, Inspector General Michael Morehart has clarified that Cuccinelli is not the subject of the investigation; rather, he’s investigating an employee in the attorney general’s office, reports the Virginian-Pilot.
The GOP says this is another instance of McAuliffe bending the truth to look better than his opponent.
McAuliffe has been accused of doing the same when discussing his support for Gov. Bob McDonnell’s historic transportation package, a piece of legislation that critics say McAuliffe had absolutely nothing to do with.