HINDS COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – Governor Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) pledged again that his campaign would donate contributions from those implicated in the welfare scandal to charity.
The governor doubled down on his promise from 2020. He said on Wednesday that his campaign has every intention in giving away campaign funds from those involved in the welfare scandal.
In February 2020, Reeves publicly admitted that his campaign received funds from those who had been arrested in connection to the scandal, including Nancy and Zach New.
At the time, the governor said the funds would be put in a separate bank account and either be given back to the taxpayers or donated to charity.
“We have every intention of returning those contributions that were made prior to 2020. At the conclusion of the litigation as well as the criminal investigations, both of which are ongoing as we speak. Has it been moved to a separate bank account? It is, it currently continues to be in the same account. We have probably five or six different accounts situated through Friends of Tate Reeves as well as Tate for Governor,” Reeves stated. “And those moneys and $9,000 or somewhere in that range will be refunded at the appropriate time, once more and more decisions are made by the both prosecutors, as well as the civil litigants, that those numbers may be increased. They may be decreased, and we’ll make that contribution to charity once the litigation is finalized.”
Nancy and Zach New donated a total of $8,500 to the Reeves campaign between 2017 and 2019.
These questions reemerged after Reeves recycled 2019 campaign footage of him in the New Summit School, which was once owned and operated by the News.
“Those videos were shot over five years ago and for whatever reason, I guess whomever did the editing, decided it was a good picture. And that’s the reason they put it in the campaign ad. But, you know, I find it interesting that those of you in the press want to talk about campaign shots that were shot over five years ago, yet you will not and you will not ask Brandon Presley what his position is on House Bill 1020. You will not ask Brandon Presley what his position is on our decision to allow girls to only play girls sports, and boys to only play boys sports. You will not ask him questions that are important to the citizens of Mississippi,” Reeves stated. “I would encourage you to ask that. I think you should. I think that would be great. The main focus, considering who is implicated in the ownership and function of that school, do you have a message to voters who may be skeptical of, simply just your proximity to that? It has raised questions for people. There were a lot of kids that went to that school over the years that benefited from having a school such as that in effect. And when we talk about school funding, the billions and billions and billions of dollars that we spend every year on schools across Mississippi, it ought to be about the kids. Are the kids benefiting? And there’s no doubt that in the TANF scandal, there were some really bad things done by individuals. There are those who committed crimes and have now pled guilty to it. And no one is working harder to ensure that that money that was stolen from the taxpayers is returned to the taxpayers. That’s the reason we’re leading the effort.”
Reeves is referring to the ongoing Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) civil litigation to claw back the misspent funds.
The News and former MDHS Executive Director John Davis have pled guilty to federal charges in the welfare case and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.