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Cuccinelli airs new TV ad on investigations

Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign has launched a new TV ad, “Facts,” that says Cuccinelli “personally launched the investigation into Bob McDonnell.”

The ad says Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general, was cleared of any wrongdoing by “a Democrat commonwealth attorney,” that he launched a probe into McDonnell and called for “immediate reform to strengthen ethics laws.”

A recently concluded investigation by Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael N. Herring found that Cuccinelli solicited and initially neglected to disclose thousands of dollars in gifts from Jonnie Williams Sr. and Star Scientific, but did not violate Virginia’s disclosure laws.

In November 2012, Cuccinelli asked Herring to investigate McDonnell’s statements of economic interest for possible violations of disclosure laws.

McDonnell is now facing state and federal investigations into his acceptance of gifts from Williams, and whether Star received any state benefit in exchange for the gifts that Williams gave the first family. McDonnell has maintained that neither Williams nor Star received any special treatment from his administration.

“As a career influence peddler and political attack dog, Terry McAuliffe is willing to do anything and say anything to get elected,” Dave Rexrode, Cuccinelli’s campaign manager, said in a statement.  “That of course includes the millions in negative television advertisements he has launched, which have been labeled false by multiple fact-check organizations. Today, we’re setting the record straight.”

Josh Schwerin, a spokesman for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe, responded that “For an ad called ‘Facts,’ it omits quite a few about how Ken Cuccinelli accepted and then failed to report thousands of dollars in gifts, trips, and a $1,500 turkey dinner from Star Scientific and its CEO Jonnie Williams while their tax bill sat unpaid.”

“Between his involvement in this major gifts scandal and the inspector general’s investigation of his office for helping out-of-state-energy companies over Virginia landowners, Ken Cuccinelli can’t hide the facts about his record of putting his own interests first.”