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Tate Reeves Breaks Promise, Holds Onto Contributions from Donors Convicted in Welfare Scandal

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Tate Reeves Breaks Promise, Holds Onto Contributions from Donors Convicted in Welfare Scandal

Mississippi Today: “There is no indication that the funds have been transferred to a separate bank account based on a review of Reeves’ multiple campaign finance accounts.”

Three years after promising to return or donate campaign contributions from donors who pled guilty in the largest public corruption case in state history, multiple outlets are reporting that Governor Tate Reeves is still sitting on thousands of dollars in tainted campaign cash.

Asked about donations from people involved in the welfare scandal in 2020, Reeves said, “I can tell you right now, anything they gave to the campaign is going to be moved to a separate bank account,” However, more than three years later, reporting from Mississippi Today notes that “There is no indication that the funds have been transferred to a separate bank account based on a review of Reeves’ multiple campaign finance accounts. The Reeves campaign gave no indication that a separate bank account had been established.”

This revelation comes after Reeves has repeatedly used recycled footage for both his launch video and a campaign ad that was shot at a private school owned by one of the central figures in the welfare scandal. Three years ago, Reeves promised to donate money from figures in the welfare scandal to his campaign – and has failed to do so.

Here’s the latest on how Reeves is breaking his promise to the people of Mississippi:

  • Associated Press: No sign of Mississippi governor fulfilling pledge on campaign funds tied to welfare case
    • Financial documents show no sign that Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has fulfilled his pledge to give away campaign donations from people charged with misspending welfare money in the state’s largest public corruption case.
    • “Some of the people we now believe were involved in the former director’s apparent criminal schemes gave money to our campaign,” Reeves said at a news conference the next day. “I can tell you right now — anything they gave to the campaign is going to be moved to a separate, untouched bank account. … Anything they gave the campaign will be there waiting to return to the taxpayers and help the people it was intended for. If that doesn’t happen, that money will go to a deserving charity.”
    • Two of those arrested with Davis were Nancy New, owner and director of the nonprofit Mississippi Community Education Center and New Learning Inc., and her son Zach New, assistant executive director of Mississippi Community Education Center.
    • Campaign finance documents show Reeves received donations totaling $2,500 from Nancy New from 2017 to 2019 and $6,000 from Zach New in 2019.
    • Reeves campaign manager Elliott Husbands did not respond to multiple messages from The Associated Press last week or Tuesday about what Reeves has done with the donations from Nancy New and Zach New.
    • Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, a Democrat running for governor, has said the welfare misspending case shows a need for tighter ethics rules for state officials. Presley campaign communications director Michael Beyer criticized Reeves for holding onto donations from people who have pleaded guilty in the case.
  • Mississippi Today: Reeves campaign says it still plans to give away donations tied to welfare scandal
    • The Tate Reeves campaign says the governor still intends to give away political contributions he has received from those involved in the state’s welfare scandal, though at this point those funds remain in his campaign coffers.
    • In a February 2020 press conference, Reeves acknowledged receiving campaign contributions from people associated with the scandal and ongoing investigation, such as Nancy New and her son Zach, both of whom have pleaded guilty to state and federal charges related to the misspending of funds that were designed to provide assistance to the state’s poorest citizens.
    • There is no indication that the funds have been transferred to a separate bank account based on a review of Reeves’ multiple campaign finance accounts. The Reeves campaign gave no indication that a separate bank account had been established.
    • In addition to other charges and guilty pleas related to the welfare funds, federal prosecutors have alleged that Nancy New used at least $76,889 in public funds that were supposed to go to the New Summit School to purchase a house.
    • The governor also is close to other people who have been caught up in the welfare scandal. Fitness trainer Paul Lacoste, who received $1.3 million in welfare funds that the state is now trying to recoup, cut a campaign commercial on social media endorsing Reeves and touting himself as the governor’s personal coach.
    • And Reeves received campaign contributions from members of Brett Favre’s family, including his wife Deanna.

WHLT: Governor Reeves Questioned About Funding