Texts released between Governor’s brother and State Auditor

Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 8:26 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The layers of the state’s welfare scandal are still being discovered.

New names are being called into question, including the Governor’s brother. But, the Tate Reeves’ campaign says it’s nothing more than an election year twist.

You may not know his name or face Todd Reeves is Governor Tate Reeves’ brother. As the deep dive into the welfare scandal continued, his name popped up.

First, in a public records request by Mississippi Today in December 2022. They were seeking communications between Auditor Shad White and Todd Reeves.

The state tried to block the release of those texts, as recently as Wednesday in Hinds County Chancery Court. But the very next day, the Reeves campaign released texts between the two.

”So, we got word that there were certain people who are looking to try to twist that story,” said senior campaign advisor Parker Briden. “And we said, let’s just put out all the information. But the bottom line is that the Governor’s brother was helping the state recover money. He wanted money to get into the right hands. And so he did what he thought was right.”

In those texts, you see Reeves discussing how Brett Favre can get payments to the Auditor’s office.

At one point, he passes along a message from Favre about what he’d like to be said on how the investigation up to that point had not shown Brett had done anything wrong and the money he was paying was from his own goodwill.

That May 6, 2020 text read:

“I think what Todd realized was that Brett Farve didn’t believe he had done anything wrong,” said Briden. “But Todd wanted to make sure that the money got in the right hands anyway. So when a friend came to him and asked for advice, he decided he would do everything he could to make sure money got back in the right hands. And I think that was all part of that.”

The same day as that request was relayed by Todd Reeves, the auditor’s office put out a statement with similar wording.

The May 6, 2020 release from the State Auditor’s office read:

“Today my office has received $500,000 from Brett Favre in repayment for TANF money he was paid through MCEC and a commitment to repay the remainder in installments over the next few months. The money will be held in our clearing account for a period and then be sent, in full, to the Mississippi Department of Human Services to be used for TANF-appropriate expenditures. I want to applaud Mr. Favre for his good-faith effort to make this right and make the taxpayers and TANF families whole. To date, we have seen no records indicating Mr. Favre knew that TANF was the program that served as the source of the money he was paid.”

Todd Reeves’ name also appeared previously in a text Favre had sent to Phil Bryant during a discussion about funding for the University of Southern Mississippi volleyball court.

That text dated January 26, 2020, reads:

“Brett, you aren’t bothering me at all and please always feel free to reach out to me anytime. I will help any way I can. I will be glad to set something up with Tate. Tell me kind of what the plan in place for funding is/was. Did Gov Bryant mention maybe trying to get it as part of a bond bill for the University? Admittedly, I’m not the expert on some of this stuff but I will certainly do everything I can to get all the right minds together and formulate a plan to sort it out.

“Todd had asked for the proper lane, which is the state paying for it with tax dollars as it normally would, which the governor didn’t end up agreeing to,” noted Briden. “And nobody has said that anything like that is inappropriate.”

The Reeves campaign also released the following statement from Todd Reeves.

“I’ve been friendly with Brett for years, and always heard great things about Shad. I didn’t learn anything about this TANF mess or Brett’s dealings with the state until it was front-page news. When Brett was considering repaying the funds, he asked me if I could help him get in touch with the auditor to coordinate that--so that’s what I did. I helped money get back in the right hands, not the wrong hands, and I think that’s what most people would have done. Brett believed he had done nothing wrong, and I helped convince him to return the money anyway. Those are the texts in question. I know Mississippi Today is willing to lie about us, so I just wanted to get the truth out.”

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