Reeves’ Excuses Fall Flat For His Role In The Largest Public Corruption Scandal In State History
Yesterday, the Brandon Presley campaign released “Too Close,” exposing Reeves’ role in the largest public corruption scandal in Mississippi history.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 2, 2023
Nettleton – Yesterday, the Brandon Presley campaign released “Too Close,” exposing Reeves’ role in the largest public corruption scandal in Mississippi history. Then, the Reeves team panicked and put out a pathetic press release of excuses that failed to refute Tainted Tate’s role in the scandal.
The release said that all of the misspent money happened under Gov. Phil Bryant, ignoring that Tate Reeves was Lieutenant Governor, second in command, and failed to do his job, which includes oversight. Bryant placed blame on Tate Reeves’ legislature, “So, no one caught that during the appropriations process, during the audit process, the attorney general, but I was supposed to catch it? None of them caught it, but I’m, being governor, and I’m supposed to catch it?” While Tate wants to publicly throw Bryant under the bus, he just solicited a $1,000 donation from Phil’s firm.
Tate Reeves used to brag about his watchdog role when he was lieutenant governor - but has now forgotten it because it is politically inconvenient. Back then, Tate Reeves ran a TV ad titled, “It’s YOUR money…” where he said, “We’re off to a good start… managing the government’s money like it’s your money - because it is.” Tate Reeves often referred to himself as the state’s “fiscal watchdog” and touted his finance background to make that point. When he ran for lieutenant governor, Reeves said, “For the last seven and a half years, I've been a watchdog for the taxpayer. (As lieutenant governor I will be) watching out for our taxpayer money, making sure we're efficient with it, and making sure we're getting the best bang for our buck."
The Reeves release teetered on absurd, claiming that Paul Lacoste, who cut an endorsement video for Tate Reeves saying that he was Tate’s coach of 15 years, “was never the governor’s personal trainer.” Tate might have never learned to do jumping jacks, but that doesn’t mean Paul Lacoste didn’t spend fifteen years trying to teach him.
Here are the facts:
“Under Tate Reeves, millions were steered from education and jobs programs to help his rich friends.”
While criminals stole Mississippians' hard-earned taxpayer dollars, Tate Reeves did nothing. Tainted Tate and his legislature failed to hold a single oversight hearing that could have caught this corruption - which was his job as President of the Mississippi Senate. Even former Gov. Phil Bryant implied the reason taxpayer dollars were wasted was because Tate Reeves did not perform oversight to catch the abuse. Oversight of the Department of Human Services is one of the duties of the lieutenant governor, and it was his responsibility to appoint five members of the State Senate to the “Joint Oversight Committee of the Department of Human Services.”
Tate Reeves owes Mississippi voters an answer as to why he looked the other way while Nancy New, a Reeves campaign donor, funneled money to Reeves’ cronies and allies. He still refuses to return $8,500 from Nancy and Zach New, and his campaign even said they were “proud” to shoot a TV ad at the New school while Nancy New faced investigation for scamming money from a program for disabled children.
“A horse ranch, a volleyball stadium, even a million dollars to his own personal trainer.”
All of the illegal expenditures listed in the ad occurred while Tate Reeves, a self-proclaimed “fiscal watchdog,” had oversight duty and failed. Under Tate Reeves’ watch, taxpayer money meant for working families was spent on a horse ranch, a volleyball stadium, and over a million dollars to his own personal trainer.
“And when the investigator got too close, Tate Reeves fired him.”
Last year, Tate Reeves signed off on firing Brad Pigott, the former U.S. attorney who was hired to recover millions in misspent federal funds from dozens of people in Mississippi’s sprawling welfare scandal.
Pigott was blocked from including the $5 million in welfare funds that went to the USM volleyball stadium, and several USM Athletic Foundation board members are major donors to Tate Reeves. After Pigott was fired, the state indefinitely postponed depositions of key welfare scandal figures like Nancy New, Zach New, Brett Favre, and Paul Lacoste.
At the time, State Auditor Shad White said, “I think that firing him [Brad Pigott] was a mistake.”
“Tate Reeves can’t escape the fact he failed Mississippians while $77 million of their hard-earned taxpayer dollars went to Tate Reeves’ rich friends for pet projects like a horse ranch, a volleyball stadium, and even a million dollars to his own personal trainer,” said Michael Beyer, Communications Director for Brandon Presley.